Dane County Parks has been extremely busy. Park users have been using the parks and trails at historic levels. We’re doing everything we can to continue to provide good access to all of our facilities. Our parks operations staff has been amazing. They’ve been working diligently to make sure the public can safely and efficiently use park facilities.
Restrooms and campgrounds were opened as a priority with safety precautions in place. Park permit sales and reservations were moved to an all online system. A few credit card kiosks are being added to high use parks as another option for patrons to conveniently secure a permit.
In the midst of this, park planners are working on the Lussier Family Heritage Center and the Lunney Lake Farm Park campground to convert to all solar to cover the electricity use for those areas. In addition, the county will offer car charging stations and a site for electric bikes to recharge batteries. The 40-acre dog park at Anderson Farm County Park in Oregon is underway. The area has already been planted to prairie and turf grass areas, and now staff are adding parking lots, storm water retention with rain gardens, and a trail system. The Division is also continuing the joint effort to provide accessible piers through the park system. Two new lake access piers were added to Babcock County Park this spring, and a fishing pier will open soon at Salmo Pond. Natural Areas staff continue to work on restoring park lands and collecting seeds that will be used to complete next year’s projects. Staff are working closely with Friends groups to assist them on their projects.
Our boat launches, lake access points, trail systems, and dog parks are at record level use, supporting the community’s need for outdoor recreation and open space. As the pandemic hit and parks became an essential resource for the community, there was very heavy trail use. The heavy use came at a time when the frost was leaving the ground, making the trails susceptible to compaction and turf damage. Some trails were covered by water and people had to find new ways to access around these sites. Our goal is to assess the trail system and make sure these facilities continue to offer good future use. We want to make sure we can provide the best park system not only today, but for the future.