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County Executive's Office

County Executive Parisi, Bruce Company Announce Agreement to Permanently Preserve Hundreds of Acres Along Sugar River

January 14, 2013
Carrie Springer, County Executive’s Office (608) 267-8823, or cell (608) 843-8858
County Executive

Second Largest Acquisition in Dane County History Opens Miles of  Sugar River, and Hundreds of Acres to Public


Dane County has reached an agreement with the Bruce Company to acquire and permanently protect hundreds of acres south of Verona along the Sugar River, County Executive Joe Parisi announced today.


Details of the proposal to purchase and preserve 466 acres and over 2.5 miles of riverfront on the Sugar River were announced at a press conference on the Bruce Company property Monday. 


This purchase is the largest acquisition of river frontage in Dane County’s history and the second biggest in terms of acreage. 


“Whether it’s paddling a canoe to Paoli, camping along the banks of the Sugar River or hiking with the family among tens of thousands of trees, this is truly a once in a generation opportunity to forever protect a true gem,” Parisi said.  “The options for outdoor recreation are endless and thanks to the stewardship of the Bruce Company, this will truly be a destination for families from Dane County and beyond.”


Parisi noted that in addition to water recreation like canoeing and fishing, the property also offers great promise for camping, hiking, and other outdoor activities.  The land part of this purchase and permanent conservation easement stretches from the intersection of Highway 69 and Sunset Lane in the Town of Verona, south to Paoli and east to Range Trail. 


Under the agreement, the county looks to purchase 340 acres.  The additional 126 acres would be placed in a conservation easement to limit future development.  The total purchase price is $3,054,000.


Parisi noted Dane County and the Bruce Company will cooperatively manage transition of the property, including access to remaining nursery stock.  The Bruce Company will continue to use some of the existing nursery stock and this acquisition will not affect the company’s workforce.


The nearly 2.5 miles of Sugar River that flows through this property is known for excellent trout fishing and a recent assessment by the DNR noted numerous species of fish in this stretch of river.  The Sugar River was removed from the National Impaired Waters list in 2004 and this acquisition will help the county’s ongoing work to enhance this watershed and the lands surrounding it.


"The Sugar River is an important natural resource that we are  fortunate to have in our community. I am very excited with this land acquisition that we will be protecting so much of the Sugar River for future generation,” said Dane County Supervisor Erika Hotchkiss.


Parisi noted the property appears to have significant archaeological resources and the county will look to coordinate volunteer efforts in the future to further assess and document the archaeological significance of the land.


The county will work with the Natural Heritage Land Trust and other private partners to secure additional funding for the project. 


Pending review and approval of the County Board of Supervisors in the weeks ahead, Dane County hopes to close on ownership of the property this spring.

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