Northern Great Lakes Visitor Center Logo

Northern Great Lakes Visitor Center

Your adventure begins here!

Visit... Learn... Return!

Open 7 Days a Week (except some holidays)
At the top of Wisconsin,
on the shores of Lake Superior
29270 County Highway G
Ashland, WI 54806

Friends of the Center

  • 2017 Friends of the Center Board of Directors

    From Right: John Lindell, Geri Evans, Fred Strand, Terri Beirl, Mary McPhetridge, Mary Motiff, Rose Haveri, Anne Wickman, Steve Hoecker, Craig Haukaas, Donna Kurilla
  • Friends sponsor fundraiser, "Best Pizza on the Bay"

    Friends Fundraiser
  • "Fright Night" Spooktacular held Oct 23, 2015

    A Friends-sponsored popular event!

    Kids love the Fright Night event
  • Friends sponsored the Community of Life Mural

    Artist, Kelly Meredith, at work on her Community of Life Mural

    Kelly Meredith, mural artist at work
  • Snowshoes - made available by Friends group

    Youth and adult snowshoes for use on NGLVC Trails.

    Snowshoes available at the Center, made possible by the Friends group.

The Friends of the Center Alliance, LTD (FOCAL) is a grass roots, volunteer organization formed to support and further the goals of the Northern Great Lakes Visitor Center. This 501(c), non-profit organization is dedicated to advancing the Center's Mission.


The Friends of the Center provide financial and organizational support to the Center and represent the community's perspective and the interests in the Center's management and organization.


The Friends seek to maximize the value of the Center to all visitors and to regional communities by supporting the operation and maintenance of the Center and by advocating the sustainability of the region's natural, cultural, and historic resources.

From its start this local group has joined hands, heads and hearts to establish a living resource advocating the uniqueness and sustaining the heritage of the Northern Great Lakes Region. Over the years the Friends have accomplished many achievements for the Center. Learn how you can help!

Friends Highlights


  • Raised over $30,000 to fund the Community of Life Mural located in the Center
  • Two-time Honor Awards recipient of the USDA Forest Service Eastern Region Honor Awards for excellence in partnerships in 2002 and 2004
  • Launched 8 kayaks for coastal wetlands exploration and "Voyageurs Paddle Chequamegon Bay" living-history programs
  • Donated over a dozen snowshoes (youth & adult) for use by the public at no charge

Ongoing activities:

  • Provide annual busing grants to area schools for students to attend educational programs at the Center
  • Sponsor fundraisers at the Center including "Fright Night" to help provide funding for educational programming at the Center
  • Acts as a fiscal agent for grants that benefit the Center
  • Operate the Spirit of the North Gift Shop with proceeds going towards supporting the Center including:
    1. contribution to 2nd floor exhibits
    2. general operation expenses and marketing ads for Center's programs and facilities
  • Employ full-time maintenance staff for the Center
  • Employ staff members to operate store and assist with visitor services
  • Host Center events, programs, and workshops

Friends of the Center Member Benefits:

  1. Free cup of bird friendly coffee with each visit to the Center
  2. 10% discount in the Spirit of the North Gift Shop at the Northern Great Lakes Visitor Center (plus other special discounts periodically)
  3. Receive email notifications of upcoming events at the Center
  4. Ability to attend Friends of the Center Annual Meeting to review budget, elect officers, etc.
  5. The good feeling of supporting the mission of the Center!

As a 501(c)(3)organization, the Friends of the Center Alliance Limited (FOCAL) is able to accept tax deductible donations. Join now!

In addition to cash donations, tax-deductible donations of items needed by the Northern Great Lakes Visitor Center (NGLVC) are greatly appreciated.
A partial listing of needed items include:

Zero-Radius 48" Garden Mower
Utility 4-Wheeler
Commercial Dish Washer
Energy Efficient Refrigerator

Educational Equipment:
Binoculars (25)
Bird Books (25)
Yard Sticks (12)
Soil Probes (5)
Soil Temperature Probes (5)

You may donate services or capital improvements at the Center, too.
For a list of needed services or proposed projects contact:

Jason L. Maloney, Center Director
[email protected]