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County Executive's Office

Dane County Partners to Protect 154 More Acres along Sugar River, Increase Public Access to One of State's Finest Fisheries

January 13, 2014
Casey Slaughter Becker, Office of the County Executive (608) 267-8823 or cell (608) 843-8858


Conservation Easement Adjacent to County’s Bruce Company Purchase Expands Natural Resource Area in Town of Montrose to More Than 600 Acres


Another valuable stretch of the Sugar River would be open for public fishing, and recreation and access improved to one of the largest natural resources areas in Dane County, under a new partnership between Dane County and the Natural Heritage Land Trust, County Executive Joe Parisi announced today.


The partnership secures a permanent easement of 154 acres – forever protecting a block totaling over 600 acres along the Sugar River south of Verona and near Paoli.  Dane County purchased 450 acres from the Bruce Company last January, securing the largest acquisition of riverfront property in Dane County’s history.  The County’s proposed contribution for this additional protection of public lands would be a $161,206 Conservation Grant.


“Working together with the property owner and the Natural Heritage Land Trust, this easement opens up miles of the Sugar River for canoeing, fishing, and soon hiking,” Parisi said.  He noted his 2014 county budget includes $300,000 for development of a new trail spanning the former Bruce Company property from Paoli north to Sunset Drive in the Town of Verona.  “Whether on foot or in the water, what we are doing today means families will be able to relax and enjoy one of the finest natural resources in the state and region for generations to come.” 

The easement purchase by the Natural Heritage Land Trust and the county’s Sugar River Natural Resource Area would permanently protect public access to over 2.5 miles of the Sugar River.  The river is known for excellent trout fishing and a recent assessment by the DNR noted numerous species of fish in this stretch of river. 


County staff completed installation of a new public parking area on the south end of the Bruce Company property last fall for individuals looking to fish on the Sugar River.  A similar lot and canoe launch will be constructed on the north end of the property this coming spring.


Pending final approval by the Dane County Board, the county grant will cover 52% of the $307,622 needed for The Natural Heritage Land Trust to purchase the land. 

The remainder of the acquisition costs will be covered by matching funds from the 2014 NRCS Farm and Ranch Lands Protection Program and by the Natural Heritage Land Trust.


County funding was made available through the county’s Conservation Fund Grant Program.    The fund provides matching grants for other units of local government or non-profit organizations to help preserve natural, recreational, and cultural resource lands in Dane County.


Information on how to apply for a Dane County Conservation Fund Grant can be viewed at:


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