A 244-acre parcel south of McFarland would become the gateway to the Door Creek Wetlands Natural Resource Area while improving waterfowl and fish habitat and public access under a purchase plan announced today by Dane County Executive Kathleen Falk.
“Dane County residents have urged me to ‘think big’ when it comes to preserving large tracts of land with great environmental features. That was the consistent theme sounded during the public listening sessions for the update to the Parks and Open Space plan,” Falk said during a news conference at the county’s Fish Camp Park on Lake Kegonsa. “And the pending purchase of this parcel fits that request.”
Under Falk’s plan, the Anderson family will sell the parcel to the county for an appraised value of about $1.6 million. The county will use dollars from the Conservation Fund for the purchase, and then apply for funding from the state’s Department of Natural Resources Knowles-Nelson Stewardship Program.
The Anderson property acquisition brings to approximately 600 acres purchased in the Door Creek Wetlands area by Dane County and the Department of Natural Resources since 2000.
Protection of the Door Creek Wetlands will mean improved breeding habitats and vegetation for fish and waterfowl, better buffering and storm water runoff storage to prevent non-point pollution, and enhanced recreational opportunities.
“This land forms the northern apex of a triangle of valuable recreational and wildlife lands, with Fish Camp County Park and Lake Kegonsa State Park forming the southern two points,” Falk said. “Future plans for the area include a proposed bicycle/pedestrian trail that would connect the city of Stoughton through McFarland to the Capital City Trail.”
Falk said the landowner will continue to farm some of the property for several years as part of the purchase agreement. This also means the public will not have easy, immediate access to the wetlands.
“However, the lease arrangement does mean the land remains undeveloped,” Falk said. “Keeping the land in agriculture is a good interim use of the property and is part of our management system.”
The Dane County Board of Supervisors will consider a resolution for the purchase at its July 20 meeting. The resolution must be approved by the County Board and signed by Falk to take effect.
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