A High Place with a Beautiful View
Blue Mound State Park
Perched atop the highest point in southern Wisconsin, Blue Mound State Park offers spectacular views and unique geological features. From the early days of horse racing at the top of the Mound and the Pleasure Valley Ski Resort, learn about the origin of this special place through the lens of the park’s longtime naturalist, Al Swain. Swain takes the reader on an interpretive guided journey through the tapestry of unique trails that traverse through woods and prairie and comprise an ecosystem that is unmatched in the region. Drawing on his career as a botanist and plant ecologist he took great pride in teaching the flora and fauna to thousands of visitors through weekend programs, interpretive hikes, and Explorer programs for children. One of Swain’s greatest passions was his service and contributions to Blue Mound State Park. He served as volunteer park naturalist for over 13 years, as a summer campground host, and was an active member of The Friends of Blue Mound State Park. In addition, he helped develop and grow an interpretive hiking program as well as conduct research projects pertaining to the history of the Blue Mound area through the writing of this book. In 2013, Swain received the Outstanding Individual Friends Member award from the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources. In 2015, the ‘Swain Prairie’ was established at Blue Mound State Park in recognition of his efforts on this prairie restoration. Whether discovering Blue Mound State Park for the first time or a repeat visitor, readers will uncover the physical and spiritual beauty of this high place with a beautiful view.
40 page softcover
ABOUT THE AUTHOR - Albert M. Swain
Albert M. Swain had a background in plant ecology and paleoecology from the University of Wisconsin-Madison and University of Minnesota-Minneapolis/St. Paul. One of Al’s greatest passions was his service and contributions to Blue Mound State Park. He served as volunteer park naturalist for 13 years starting in 2000, a summer campground host, and was an active member of The Friends of Blue Mound State Park. In addition, he helped develop and grow an interpretive hiking program as well as conducting research projects pertaining to the history of the Blue Mound area, and the authoring of this book. In 2015, the ‘Swain Prairie’ was established at Blue Mound State Park in recognition for his efforts on this prairie restoration. Earlier experience involved research in forest and fire history in the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness in northern Minnesota and the Apostle Islands National Lakeshore in northern Wisconsin. For 13 years he worked at the Center for Climatic Research at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. His studies emphasized reconstructing past environments and climate back in time 1,000 to 16,000 years using pollen and charcoal analysis from cores of mud extracted from lakes in states from Washington to Maine. His teaching experience includes four years of high school biology and one semester of plant taxonomy at the University of Wisconsin-Platteville. The National Park Service honored him with a Special Service award in 1987 in recognition of his research and volunteerism. Until his untimely passing in May 2019, Al and his wife, Astrid, led senior hikes for the Senior Center in Verona, Wisconsin.