Thrive! logo


Thrive! Park sign
Why Visit?
Thrive! Park Map(s)
Thrive! Park Trails
Thrive! Park Photos
Thrive! Park Bluff Prairie Restoration

Village of Nelson Website

Thrive! Efforts Adjacent to Thrive! Park
The Thrive! Center
GChris Sculpture Studio/Gallery

Copyright 2018-21

Gary "Chris" Christopherson

  Thrive! Park - Open for Public Hiking/Walking

New Thrive! Park [Nelson, WI]

Leave no trace. Please take out what you bring in.

Opened 2016

Property Donation as Approved by Village of Nelson Board on 3/11/15.

Gary "Chris" Christopherson, Donor.

View from Thrive! Park

Thrive! Park Photos: New Summer Scenic View Photos from Sisters & Lost Brother Bluff Tops
Article on Thrive! Park by Buffalo County News
Article on Thrive! Park by Bank of Alma
USFWS Story on Thrive! Park Prairie Restoration

New Book - Story of Thrive! Center and Thrive! Park

In response to may questions about the Thrive! Center and Thrive! Park, this tells the story of how they came about and what they are. Complete with photos of both Center and Park. Available in paperback and eBook via  or as a free download


Story of Thrive Center and GChris studio and gallery

Future Donation of Thrive! Center for Thrive! Park

Chris still owns the restored historic buildings (house, barn, bee house) and about 3.6 acres of his original property. This is what is known as the Thrive! Center. In 2021, Chris offered to donate the Thrive! Center to the Village of Nelson. The Village agreed to accept the donation. This won’t take full effect until Chris is no longer there.

The Center's use may include touring historic buildings, gallery and working studio for local art and artists, and environmental education place. Given agreement is in place, Chris has already opened up the Thrive! Center more to the public.

Thrive Center

Burning Bush Invasive Plant Spreading Quickly

Burning bush invasive is no longer just a Thrive! Park problem. This cannot be a one person approach (more than 1500 plants cut/treated by Chris in 2021) that will control burning bush in this area.

As shown in the picture below taken 11/9/2021, it is now at edge of prairie restoration area of Thrive! Park that was funded by USFWS, Buffalo County, Nelson and me.

Unless something changes quickly, burning bush will spread rapidly beyond Thrive! Park and infesting land surrounding Thrive! Park. It is already moving outside Park boundaries. It is affecting Village of Nelson reservoir area. This infestation will be up and down Mississippi River bluff sides, well above and below Nelson. This will affect other Buffalo County private land. Affect DNR land. Affect US Fish and Wildlife land.

Maybe if a comprehensive set of actions are taken asap, it might still be contained.


Thrive! Park Information

Thrive! Park, a public park, of the Village of Nelson. The Park is unique in that it consists of over 25 acres of Mississippi River bluff top and bluff side. The primary bluff is the Sisters (northernmost Sister is private land) and Lost Brother. The three southernmost bluff tops (two of the Sisters and Lost Brother) are in the Park and accessible via hiking roads and trails. Photos.

On the bluff tops and bluff sides are “goat prairies” that have recently been cleared as part of a larger prairie restoration effort around Nelson. The prairie restoration removes invasive and non-prairie plants and releases prairie plants to flourish in their native habitat.

Thrive! Park background information:

  • Public, open to all visitors.

  • Bluff tops, sides, prairies. Donor hopes two primary prairies that were restored will be sustained.

  • Includes roads and paths for hiking/walking and prairies for restoration.

  • Hunting and trapping not allowed a) because it is in the Village of Nelson and adjoins private property and b) to not endanger other users, and c) because it is a wildlife safety area.

  • No vehicles (motorized or non-motorized) except for handicapped access and park maintenance.

  • No fires.

  • Out of respect for the Park's neighbors, please do not trespass on their land. Their land is marked Private Land.

  • Leave no trace. Please take out what you bring in.

As shown on map, Thrive! Park consists of hiking roads (dash-dotted lines) going along bluff side and back through valley). Hiking roads are generally about 6+ feet wide and were primarily made from old logging and farm roads. Also, there are several hiking trails (dotted lines) that go to restored bluff and prairie areas and can be accessed off the main hiking roads. Hiking paths are generally about 3 feet wide and were created by Donor using existing deer trails and creating new trails. Eagle Trails, light slope loop trails, were added through efforts of Max Benish and Boy Scout Troop 54 members and supporters.

As requested by visitors, two park benches (In Memorial to Irene Christopherson) have been donated to and installed on tops of 2nd Sister and Lost Brother. An opportunity for hikers to rest with full view of Mississippi River valley.        

    Memorial bench on 2nd Sister  Memorial bench on Lost Brother

Thrive! Park is east of Highway 35 in Nelson (WI). Take Cleveland Street toward bluffs. As you enter woods, turn left on Christopherson Road. Just after turn, there is a parking lot on right to park. Park entrance and road/trail markings are just left of parking lot. There is also parking up the paved road below the Fish Pond.

Free maps are generally available at the Park entrance.

Thrive! Park was donated by Gary “Chris” Christopherson . Donation is over 25 acres of land owned by Donor located at East Cleveland Street, Nelson, WI.

Responding to visitors’ questions, The Thrive! Center (includes GChris Sculpture Studio/Gallery, the Thrive! Endeavor and Healthepeople) is just outside Park’s western edge. To visit, best to contact Chris first at or 301-318-3760. More info at and

Thrive! Park boundaries

View of Thrive! Park from Mississippi River Valley [Park Photos]

Thrive! Park Map
Free maps are generally available at the Park entrance

#Thrive #ThrivingFuture #ThriveEndeavor #AllThriveForever #T! #Thrive!



Hiking sign

Thrive! - All Thrive Forever

Wildlife safety zone