Dane County Parks: To begin land planning process for Indian Lake County Park and Halfway Prairie Wildlife Preserve

MADISON – May 2, 2022 – Dane County Parks will begin work on a property plan that will propose future management, recreational use and development of park facilities for Indian Lake County Park and the adjacent Halfway Prairie Wildlife Preserve . The park and wildlife area has a long history of Native American and European settlement which will also be documented in the plan. The county currently owns approximately 800 acres within the recreation park boundaries and 150 acres within the wildlife preserve boundaries. Both properties are located in the town of Berry along STH 19 approximately 2 miles west of USH 12.

“Indian Lake County Park is one of the most popular parks in the system, with all this usage we need even more trails to give people a good outdoor experience,” said Dave Ripp, president of the Dane County Park Commission. “The commissioners look forward to hearing what residents have to say about the park and their ideas for future facility development.”

Indian Lake County Park currently offers a wood-frame shelter with restrooms and picnic area, scenic vista, historic chapel, group camp with a heated cabin, approximately six miles of hiking trails, and cross-country skiing, an off-leash dog park and a small lake access facility. The park is widely used in the winter for cross-country skiing, and in the summer and fall for hiking, fishing, and dog walking. The Halfway Prairie Wildlife Preserve offers recreational opportunities for hunting, gathering, hiking and snowshoeing. The park and wildlife area is located in the county’s Drift-Free Non-Glacial Zone and includes a segment of the Ice Age National Scenic Trail that offers spectacular panoramic views of the lake and surrounding hills.

Some of the potential improvements to existing park and wildlife sanctuary facilities that could be considered include upgrading parking areas, rerouting steep cross-country trails, improving the dog park and improving access at group camp. The plan will also explore potential future recreational uses and access to the 290-acre property immediately south of the park which was purchased in 2020.

Two public information meetings will be held to initiate the planning process to gather public input. The first will be Monday, May 16 at 7:00 p.m. at the Lussier Family Heritage Center, 3101 Lake Farm Rd, Madison, WI 53711. A virtual attendance option will be available at this location – pre-registration required. A recording will also be available on the project website.

A second public information meeting will take place in the shelter of the city hall of the city of Berry on Monday, June 6 from 5:30 p.m. City Hall is located at 9046 WI-19, Mazomania, WI 53560. No virtual options will be available for this meeting.

For more information on upcoming meetings and the project, contact Dane County Parks Senior Landscape Architect Chris James at (608) 235-2252 or [email protected].

Louisa R. Loomis