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Cadiz State Recreation Area has many 'friends'
Times photo: Anthony Wahl Hannah Hull pushes Preston Mazrehah, 6, on the swings as Evan Mazahreh watches while visiting Cadiz Springs State Recreation Area in Browntown.

BROWNTOWN - With its 644 acres and two lakes, the Cadiz Springs State Recreation area is a somewhat hidden gem for many area residents and travelers, who enjoy a bit of nature just outside of town and just off of the highway.

"People come to the park to refresh themselves," said Bryan Buri, president of Friends Of Cadiz Springs State Recreation Area.

But the park is in need of many improvements, and for years the group has been helping to make them happen.

To help continue their work, Friends Of Cadiz Springs State Recreation Area will host a trail run fundraiser Aug. 27. There's a 5K run and a 10K run.

Their goal is to raise more money to help fund projects that draw more visitors and families to the park, said Buri.

"We have taken an active role in caring for the park," he said. "We help keep the park going. We pride ourselves in that."

Members have worked closely with the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources to make improvements to the park over the past five years, and with DNR budget cuts, continuing that work will be a challenge.

Members of the organization built a handicapped pier in 2008. And in 2009, they brought additional sand to the park's beach.

Buri has even donated about eight hours of his time every few weeks to mowing the park.

For about the past year, Friends of Cadiz Springs have focused on a two-phase improvement project. The organization hopes to add new playground equipment and update existing equipment near the beach - improvements that total about $100,000.

"We have a sizable project in front of us," Buri said. "We want something down here for kids to play on."

Financial support to the playground equipment fund thus far has come from many area businesses, including Colony Brands, Inc., Grede Wisconsin Subsidiaries LLC; and Wal-Mart.

Organizers are now hoping to get more individuals to donate and raise park awareness through the run event.

Check in for the trail run is at 8:45 a.m., with the race starting at 10 a.m.

The course will consist mostly of mowed grass trails in the scenic wooded hills and along the lakeshore - with a short stretch of road and some paved parking lot. Prizes will be awarded to the first-, second-, and third-place male and female winners.

For more information, contact Friends of Cadiz Springs Playground Fundraising co-chairs Lucy Roper (608) 439-5982; or Sharon Buri at (608) 966-1515.