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

County Looks to Rename Nine Springs E-Way in Honor of Conservation Pioneers Libby and Phil Lewis

April 19, 2012
Casey Slaughter Becker, Office of the County Executive 608.267.8823 or cell, 608.843.8858
County Executive


The Nine Springs E-Way, a groundbreaking project linking conservation and community development, could soon become the Lewis Nine Springs E-Way in honor of environmental pioneers Libby and Professor Phil Lewis, Dane County Executive Joe Parisi announced today.


“Dane County owes Libby and Phil Lewis a great debt for their dedication and passion for preserving the county’s natural spaces for the public to enjoy,” said Parisi.  “Rededicating the groundbreaking environmental corridor they pioneered together is a fitting tribute we hope will inspire generations of conservationists.”


Through the teachings and advocacy of both Phil Lewis and his wife, Elizabeth “Libby” Lewis, Dane County adopted the world’s first ‘E-Way’ project area.  The corridor (extending from Dunn’s Marsh at Seminole Highway east to Lake Waubesa)  includes more than 1,300 county-owned acres combining educational, environmental, esthetic, ecological, and exercise resources for visitors and residents.  Professor Lewis was a pioneer of this E-Way concept – now a major decision making tool used in land use decisions throughout the world.  


Libby  Lewis passed away on February 1, 2012.  She served with great distinction on the Dane County Park Commission for 26 years, from 1981 to 2007. During that time she pursued sound land use and environmental planning for all projects and was a tireless advocate for the acquisition of land for the public to enjoy. 


Libby and Phil Lewis brought many other gifts to Dane County, particularly in the county parks system.  Together, they founded the Friends of Dane County Parks Foundation, which has provided significant private financial resources parks system.  They were also tireless supporters of the Lussier Family Heritage Center, which is located in the heart of the Nine Springs E-Way. 


“It was Phil Lewis’ vision that created the concept of the E-way and it was Libby’s abilities that helped to bring the E-way to fruition. Together they were a team for over fifty years, sharing in building a better place here in Dane County for us all,” said Dane County Parks Commission Chair Bill Lunney. “Their values of conservation are a template for us to go forward into the 21st Century to sustain the wonderful natural resources we have in our County.”


A resolution to authorize the naming of the Lewis Nine Springs E-Way will be introduced at tonight’s meeting of the Dane County Board by Supervisor and Parks Commission member Kyle Richmond.  Pending final board approval, the dedication could occur in late summer of this year.


"Many people who drive Madison's south beltline highway see the result of Phil and Libby Lewis' advocacy for land preservation every single day," said Richmond. "I hope the renaming of the E-Way will serve to educate newcomers and future generations about what caring, determined people can do to save our natural environment."

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