History of Green Bay's Parks

Baird Creek Parkway

This area for many years was known as "Little Switzerland" because of the good hills for tobogganing. In 1934 the Park Board obtained options to purchase 194 acres, but they were never exercised. Instead, they leased an area from John Massey for a toboggan hill. In 1947, the Park Board petitioned the State Conservation Commission by resolution to purchase land for the State Park in this parkway. A second request was made in 1953, but neither was approved. A ski area was opened to the public in 1953 and operation costs were shared between Brown County, Town of Preble and Green Bay - hence the name - Triangle Sports Area. The land where a ski and toboggan hill was developed was owned by a farmer by the name of Lawrence Daniels, and the first rental agreement paid him $200 for the season.

This rental agreement continued until 1971. The Press Gazette sponsored a ski school between 1966 and 1978. In 1968, the parkway boundaries were defined on the official city map, and discussions began between the City and County for property acquisition. After the County purchased about 165 acres, the City bought an additional 133 acres. In 1972, the County Board adopted a resolution to turn over their acreage to the City of Green Bay for maintenance and development under a lease agreement, which wasn’t drawn up and signed until 1974 with a 50/50 cost sharing arrangement. The City was to pay $1.00 per year for 100 years.

In 1979, the Jaycee organization offered to build a shelter house at the Triangle Sports Area, but this was turned down by the Park Board due to certain requests such as changing the name, providing them a meeting space with storage, and allowing alcoholic beverages. It would have then been too much a private club.

1984 saw an additional 34+ acres donated by the State Highway Department as a remnant of Highway I-43.

The County Park Commission and the City Park Committee agreed to cost share a new building at the Triangle Sports Area, which was built and dedicated in 1983.

1992 - Following an accident at the ski hill, dusk to dawn lights and reflective tape on fences for hills 2 and 3 were added, as well as flexible fencing and padding in the tow mechanism areas.

1992 - The Committee reviewed appraisals and directed staff to continue the acquisition process to purchase 23.5 acres owned by the Leo Tilkens estate and 34.3 acres owned by the Greenleaf Wayside Bank in the Baird Creek Parkway. The Greenleaf property, appraised at $126,900, became a controversial matter over the years after the bank sold it to another group and the City had to seek acquisition from them at a greatly increased price. In 1998, the City acquired the property for one million dollars, which included property exchange, grant funds and private funds in addition to City funds.

About 1995, an agreement was reached to have the County pay the City $18,000 annually to operate the facility, which was the average amount over a period of years, rather than tracking expenses and revenue.

1997 - Final plans were approved for construction of a disc golf course at the Triangle Sports Area with donated funds.

2006 - The Baird Creek Greenway Master Plan was adopted by the Park Committee and Council.

Baird Creek Trail

2001 - The section of the trail located behind the Riverside Ballroom to McAuliffe Park was named George F. Kress Trail as a result of the family’s donation. The section of the trail extending from Baird Street behind East High School through Joannes Park along the East River to Mason Street connected to existing walkways in the park. This section of the trail was named Cora Vanderperren Trail after the donor who provided over $52,000 for its development.

2003 - The Park Committee approved a proposed property transfer along the East River east of Monroe Avenue and abandoning the alley and right of way and working with the Law Department on trades of appropriate property and referring to the Plan Commission for appropriate action (worked with Red Lewis on this property exchange). This would allow development of the waterfront trail from Jackson to Monroe.

2004 - The Park Committee referred a request by the alderman to the Plan Commission to put the south bank of the East River between Main Street and Baird Street on the Official City Map as a parkway for trail purposes.

2004 - The following easements were approved for the Baird Creek Parkway Trail from Main Street to Henry Street (Edmund Gersek, Jr. - Parcel 4 - 21-1979-1 for $32,950; Schreiber Foods, Inc. - Parcel 7 - 21-2010 for $9,700), (Three G&W Investments, Parcels 5 & 6, $6,500)

2005 - The following easements were approved for the Baird Creek Parkway Trail from Main Street to Henry Street (Lok-Safe, Inc. - Parcel 3 for $1,100) (Spire Freezers Limited - Parcel 9 - 21-1203).

2005 - Property was purchased at 1229 St. Clair Street for the East River Trail for $38,600.

2006 - The following easements were approved for the Baird Creek Parkway Trail from Main Street to Henry Street (Wisconsin Central Ltd, Parcel 8 for $1,000) and from Henry Street to Danz Avenue (Wisconsin Central Ltd., Parcel 3 for $350).


  1. Only annotated statements have been verified. Any other historical statements are unverified and based on personal knowledge or informal notes kept by the Green Bay Parks, Recreation & Forestry Department.
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