Once designated to be a jet fighter base, Richard Bong State Recreation Area is named after Major Richard I. Bong, a Poplar, WI native who was America's leading air ace during World War II. The air base was abandoned three days before concrete was to be poured for a 12,500-foot runway. Local citizens had the foresight to protect this open space for future generations.
Richard Bong State Recreation Area is a 4515acre unit of the state park system of the U.S. state of Wisconsin. It is located in the town of Brighton, in Kenosha County. This managed prairie contains 8.3mi of mountain bike trails. Other recreational activities include high power rocketry, swimming, dogsledding, falconry, ATV sports, land sailing, horseback riding, hunting, fishing, camping with amenities, and ultralight aviation. There is a wildlife preserve where great egrets, sandhill cranes, and great blue herons are known to nest.The park is on land once intended for the Richard Bong Air Force Base, whose namesake is World War II veteran aviator Maj. Richard Ira Bong. Part of what was intended to be the 12500ft main airstrip is still visible from aerial photos of the site.