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Jefferson County Parks Initiative David Heyman and Brian Wright
Capstone Statement The Jefferson County Parks Department and the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources have identified Jefferson County as a critical area to establish more outdoor recreational opportunities. We are proposing to enhance these two visions by selecting the most productive area within the county to establish a new a park area that would be complimentary with the existing park system, preserve natural features, and establish a diverse amount of recreational opportunities for the local and regional needs.
Factors:County is in the fastest growing area of the stateLand value directly affects the acquisition of new public landContains some the world’s beast examples of glacial drumlin areasContains some of the best agricultural soils in the stateThe county needs to act now to acquire park and open space for recreation and preservation of natural resources. Jefferson County Parks Initiative Goal: Select the most ideal location that could provide an array of recreational opportunities, preserve unique physical attributes of the Wisconsin landscape, and expand existing park system within a contiguous area. Problem:To identify which park areas has diverse physical attributes and recreational opportunities that preserve to benefit to the public and the potential to expand into a an area 100 acres or greater in size.
The Importance of Recreation Background: Opportunities to expand recreational facilities in this landscape are diminishing as residential development continues to expand into the rural countryside. Our study focused on areas that could be restored to provide a wide range of activities in order to meet the future needs. Study Area: Jefferson County is located in south central Wisconsin between Milwaukee and Madison metropolitan areas. The county is also 70 miles northwest of Chicago, Illinois. These large urban areas greatly influence the population land use and recreational opportunities in Jefferson County.
County Statistics Is .44% Recreation Land Enough? County has 16 Townships 4 Villages 6 Cities Total county land area (acres): 371,930 Surface Waters 16,832 4.5% Woodlands 24,009 6.5% Existing Recreational Uses 1671 .44% The most populous counties and urban areas surround Jefferson County. Wisconsin Department of Administration 2003.
Wisconsin Land Legacy Report • Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources, Land Legacy Initiative Report- Draft 2003 • 228 areas were identified within 16 Ecological Landscapes. • Jefferson County lies within the Southeast Glacial Plain and had five areas identified
Jefferson County Land Legacy Areas Waterloo Drumlins Upper Rock River Jefferson Marsh Lake Koshkonong A variety of terrain and land cover types, abundant lakes and streams can accommodate a broad range of water based recreation activities. To determine the value of these areas, buffering and linking to existing public lands was a determining factor that would create considerable amount of recreational opportunities with the least disturbance to natural areas
County Park Site Feasibility Study These areas were selected by Jefferson County as potential park acquisition because they contained important natural features and were large areas of 40 acres in size. These areas all contained water and forested land that has the potential to offer a variety of recreational opportunities.
Relative Scoring of Areas Recreational Opportunities: 1. A variety of activities that could accommodate the recreational needs of the public 2. Water features suitable for fishing, swimming, paddling and boating 3. Forested areas to provide hiking, bicycling and camping Accessibility to Residents: 1. Area’s proximity to urban areas 2. Area's accessibility to roads 3. Area’s ability to connect to existing public areas Scenic Value: 1. Maximize the visible and desirable landscape within the park area
Road Accessibility Over half of the state’s population lives within 50 miles of the areas bounded by Milwaukee, Madison, Found du Lac and Janesville. Two of the four strongest growth areas in Wisconsin are adjacent to Jefferson County, Dane County to the immediate west and Waukesha County to the immediate east (Wisconsin Department of Administration Population trends in Wisconsin: 2000-2003)
Conceptualization • Where are the most productive areas in Jefferson County for creating parkland? • Areas with high recreation potential • Areas with high connectivity potential • Areas with high landscape potential
Site Selection • 12 sites selected throughout Jefferson County • 4 sites included in Wisconsin DNR’s Land Legacy Initiative Report • 8 sites selected by Jefferson County Park Site Feasibility Study • 1000 acre buffer used to sample region
Recreation Potential • Water Recreation • Area of open water and length of shoreline • Forest Recreation • Area of forests greater than 10 contiguous acres
Connectivity Potential • Areas that fit into existing park structure • Higher score given from 0-3 miles from an existing state or county parkland • Areas that are accessible to populous • Higher score given from 0-3 miles from city or village • Higher score given based on road hierarchy • Interstate –> U.S. Highway –> State Road
Landscape Potential • Area of desirable landscape (forest / water) • 9 evenly viewpoints evenly spaced around site to determine visible area • Non-desirable landscape eliminated from total visible area
Selected Sites • Oakland Highlands - A large wooded area on the moraine with spectacular views, oak hickory woods, remnant prairie, and a blue heron rookery • Lake Koshkonong – The largest lake in Jefferson Co. Many Native American sites and mounds are found surrounding the lake as well as extensive wetlands • Red Cedar Lake – One of the most pristine lakes in SE Wisconsin with several rare plant communities • Cushman Pond – Drumlins meet a millpond on the Bark River. This site has spectacular views, several pioneer sites and conoeing
Prime Agricultural Land Waterloo Drumlin Potential Site Only .2 acres of Prime agricultural farmland would be removed from production 1 2 4 3
Improvements Use defined park boundaries instead of arbitrary buffer areas Take into account conservation value of parklands Wildlife habitat protection Groundwater recharge Preserve unique biomes Use land value to propose an acquisition schedule Geological features