Seal of Dane County County of Dane
County Executive's Office

County Secures Frontage along the Sugar River for Public Fishing, Water Recreation Access

January 21, 2020
Ariana Vruwink, 608-267-8823
County Executive

Approximately 1,450 feet of undeveloped streambank along the Sugar River will soon be available for public fishing access, Dane County Executive Joe Parisi announced today. Under a resolution being considered by the County Board of Supervisors on January 23, the County would acquire a permanent easement along a section of the Sugar River in the Town of Montrose.

“By purchasing this easement along the Sugar River, more Dane County residents and visitors will have access to our natural spaces and be able to take part in recreational activities,” said Dane County Executive Joe Parisi. “These types of easements also protect our outdoor spaces so they can be enjoyed by future generations.”

The Sugar River is a cold-water trout stream identified as a Tier I Stream Project in the 2018-2023 Dane County Parks & Open Space Plan. The purpose of the easement is to provide permanent public fishing access, protect water quality, and preserve fish and wildlife habitat.

This project is the latest in Dane County’s popular streambank easement program, which to date has permanently protected over 24 miles of streams countywide. The program began in 2007 and keeps the land in private ownership, while opening public access to some of the County’s finest trout fisheries.

“The Southern Wisconsin Chapter of Trout Unlimited (SWTU) thanks the Sarbacker family, County Executive Joe Parisi, and the excellent staff of the County's Land and Water Resources Department for the proposed purchase of this easement,” said SWTU President Amy Klusmeier. “This part of the Sugar River is close to long stretches of the river that the County has restored and opened for public fishing. The Sarbackers have taken wonderful care of the river and it will offer wonderful fishing on a lovely piece of water. In a broader context, this easement caps a year of fabulous conservation achievements on the part of Dane County. The County Board has offered strong support of the County's conservation work—we look forward to and will be grateful for their support of this easement.”

Dane County and its partners have been working to increase access to the Sugar River and surrounding lands, and several key purchases have been made in recent years—including over 400 acres on what is known as the Falk/Wells Wildlife Area near Paoli, an additional 101 acres at the former Neperud property near Basco, and 61 acres at the former Ziegler property. Two sections of the Sugar River were also restored by Dane County, the DNR, and Trout Unlimited in the summers of 2017 and 2019.

Pending final approval by the County Board, the purchase price of the proposed streambank easement along the Sugar River will be $23,540.