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What actually goes on at Bong Recreation area?

Chances are you've passed it and snickered.

Maybe you took a picture of the iconic brown sign on the way down to Kenosha or Chicago. Or perhaps you've always planned to go check it out, even if only for the novelty factor.

But there's much more to Southeast Wisconsin's "largest managed prairie" than its chuckle-inducing name.

Travel along to the Richard Bong State Recreation Area in our Community Story below.

The Richard Bong State Recreation Area occupies a huge swath of land in the town of Kansasville, WI. It's located about 45 minutes south of Milwaukee, about 10 miles off the freeway.

It's one of the state's largest parks. It boasts miles of hiking trails, approximately 400 camp sites, a nature center and a man-made lake.

Visitors can enjoy canoeing and fishing in the warmer months, plus show shoeing, dirt biking and ATVing. There are ample places to host a picnic, even an amphitheater offering live Shakespeare performances.

When I visited (on a Tuesday, during the day), I encountered only a few other people walking through the park....and a groundhog.

For being so close to two major cities, it surprised me how much it truly felt like a unspoiled, rural oasis.

So, where did it get the name? What was the site originally designed to be? (Hint: it had to do with the Cold War.)

Listen to the story below where Assistant Naturalist Jon Brumm shows us around Bong.

Director of Digital Content | Radio Milwaukee