The heart in the park

Erich Vanblargan


Stevens Point is a quaint town with a large population and small space. The beauty of Stevens Point is the waterways that weave through the entire province.

No matter where you go in Stevens Point there is always a river, stream or brook at least one mile away. Recreation IN the city has appropriately adapted to extend to these waterways and no location has been better adapted than Bukolt Park.

Bukolt was originally known as Waterworks Park. In 1925 the park board was urged to improve and beautify the park to be more accessibility for tourist campers. Later three residents on Sixth Avenue donated land to provide a better roadway to the park.

According to the history of our parks “In 1931 the city granted flowage rights to the Consolidated Water, Power and Paper Company specifying that a lagoon and island be formed in the park. Then on May 5, 1936 the park was renamed Bukolt Park in honor of John J. Bukolt, the founder of the Automatic Cradle Manufacturing Company.”

Since its founding Bukolt has been a gathering place for many in Stevens Point. Since many can remember the park has been a gathering place for the high school and college students. Although some of the activities that they partake in are questionable there is no denying that Bukolt is rather popular.

There are few days where one may visit Bukolt Park and not see at least one fisherman fishing in the lagoon or in the surrounding waters. Bukolt is a popular site for anglers as smallmouth bass spawn in the lagoon during the fall, walleye can be caught offshore during the winter thaw, and there are even muskellunge that can be caught during the summer months.

On warm or sunny days, the water is occupied by kayaks, boats, Sea-Doos, or swimmers. The park is visited daily by families on trips or picnics, couples on dates or folks just out for a walk.

There are also some events that can only be seen in Bukolt at certain times and some that are even traditions. If one went to the park during the hours just before dawn around dusk there may just be a common carp jumping out of the water after the mosquitos that gather near the water’s surface.

If one goes to the park Between 11:26 and 1:03 there is a chance that you may happen upon a redneck boxing match. This is a tradition set during the early 2000’s where rednecks get in their trucks and head to Bukolt en mass to spar with one another using two pairs of boxing gloves provided by one of the group.

Although it sounds brutish and immature there are rules set up by the group, one being nothing below the belt and two the matches are organized to take place on a certain day. During the start of the school year there is also the chance of witnessing the Bukolt Baptism where the sophomores are tossed into the water and earn the recognition of a redneck. These traditions help solidify their friendship and bond between one another and their almost jury-rigged family.