May 14, 2018 by


The Lower Wisconsin State Riverway Board and two archeological organizations are cooperating to add a touch of the past to the 2018 Muscoda Morel Mushroom Festival on Saturday, May 19th and Sunday, May 20th. The Three Eagles Foundation will offer guided tours of Frank’s Hill, an effigy mound site near Muscoda, and Cultural Landscape Legacies member Dr. William Gartner will give a lecture on Native American agriculture from 1000 years ago.

Dr. Gartner’s lecture is entitled, “Furrows Beneath the Forest, Ridges Above the Prairie: Wisconsin Indian Agriculture from 800 AD to Present”. Dr. Gartner, a UW-Madison professor, has done extensive research on Native American prehistoric agriculture sites, including a raised garden bed site near Wisconsin Dells. Currently, he is working with the Menomonee Nation on a site in northern Wisconsin. Dr. Gartner is known as one of the foremost geo-archeologist in the region. He also worked for many years with the excavation at the famous Gottschall Rock Shelter between Muscoda and Highland. Dr. Gartner’s lecture will begin at 10:00 a.m. at the Muscoda Public Library.

Guided tours of effigy mounds at Frank’s Hill will be given by Mark Cupp, Riverway Board Executive Director and Vice-President of the Three Eagles Foundation. Cupp worked for many years with former landowner Frank Shadewald on protection of the sacred site in the Town of Eagle, Richland County. The tours will depart from the library at 10:30 a.m. and 1:00 p.m. on Saturday and at 10:30 a.m. on Sunday. A short hike will be required to the top of the hill. Participants will learn about the effigy mound building culture that flourished in the region over 1000 years ago and will receive information about the unique mounds at the site. Frank’s Hill also offers a tremendous panoramic vista of the lower Wisconsin River valley.

Two local naturalists will lead nature hikes along the Wisconsin River and backwaters on Saturday and Sunday at 11:00 a.m. each day. The tours will depart from the Wendell and Vi Smith Shelter by the boat landing at Victora Riverside Park. The guides will be Jane Furchgott on Saturday and David Kopitzke on Sunday. On Saturday, Furchgott will focus on the birds and plants of the river and backwaters. On Sunday, Kopitzke will focus on bottomland forest habitat as well as the other plants and birds along the way. The hikes will last approximately one hour and will be on level ground. Bring a pair of binoculars and camera!!!

Organizations and agencies making these events possible include the Muscoda Festival Committee, Three Eagles Foundation, Cultural Landscape Legacies and Lower Wisconsin State Riverway Board. Persons interested in additional information regarding the Muscoda Morel Mushroom Festival may visit the website at or Facebook page. For information on the effigy mounds tours and lecture, contact the Riverway Board by calling 1-800-221-3792 or (608) 739-3188 or by e-mail at

For further information, contact Mark Cupp at (608) 739-3188.

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