Planning & Development

On this page you'll find information about a number of park plans, reports and projects. If you have any questions or comments, we encourage you to contact the Dane County Park Planner, Chris James at 608-224-3763 or by email at

2018-2023 Dane County Parks & Open Space Plan

The Dane County Parks and Open Space Plan is a countywide comprehensive outdoor recreation and natural resource plan that is updated every 5 years to maintain eligibility for State Stewardship grant funds.  Updates to the plan include identifying recreational needs and significant natural, cultural, and historical resources in the county to be considered for protection.  The planning process includes input from Dane County residents to help guide future park and trail development projects over the next 5 years.  

The 2018-23 Dane County Parks and Open Space Plan was adopted by the Dane County Board on April 12, 2018.
To view the adopted master plan please visit the 
2018-2023 Dane County Parks and Open Space Plan webpage.


Project Plans (Final & Draft)

Project plans may be prepared for Natural Resource Site study areas identified in the Dane County Parks and Open Space Plan to help identify significant cultural, natural, and historic resources. All plans follow an intensive consensus building public participation process before being finalized.

Please see page 26 of the 2012-2017 Dane County Parks and Open Space Plan for a more detailed description of the Natural Resource Sites.

Master Plans

Master plans for parks are completed to guide the development of park facilities and to provide the vision for any future expansion. Master Plans are not detailed construction documents, so additional plans and specifications must be created prior to implementing the Master Plan recommendations. All plans follow an intensive consensus building public participation process before being finalized.

Draft Master Plans

Mendota County Park

Dane County Parks planning staff have begun working on a master plan that will propose future management, recreation use and park facility development for Mendota County Park. The County currently owns approximately 19 acres within the recreation park boundary that is located in the Town of Westport at 5133 County Highway M along the north shore of Lake Mendota. To view documents and materials related to the master plan please visit the Mendota County Park Master Plan webpage.
For questions on development of the master plan, please contact Chris James, Senior Landscape Architect, at 608-224-3763 or

Adopted Master Plans

Anderson Farm County Park

Badger Prairie County Park Master Plan

Black Earth Creek Wildlife Area - Sunnyside Unit Master Plan

CamRock Park Master Plan

Capital Springs State Recreation Area Master Plan

Donald Park Master Plan

Lussier County Park and Fish Lake Natural Resource Area

Lake View Hill Park Master Plan and Related Plans

McCarthy Youth and Conservation County Park

Token Creek County Park and Natural Resource Area Master Plan

Scheidegger County Forest Master Plan

Silverwood County Park

Trail Plans (Final & Draft)

Dane County Parks partners with the State Department of Natural Resources and local units of government to plan and construct many miles of trails within the County.

Phase One Lower Yahara River Trail Planning

Dane County Parks will begin construction of the at grade segment of trail within Lake Farm County Park during the fall of 2015. The WisDOT is anticipated to begin construction on the remaining bridges and boardwalk necessary to get to McDaniel Park in the Village of McFarland during the spring of 2016. 

Cherokee Marsh Natural Resource Area Hiking Trail System

Dane County Park held a public information meeting on Wednesday, July 20th regarding the establishment of designated hiking trails and trailheads for the Cherokee Marsh Natural Resource Area.  The trail system is located just south of River Road in the Town of Westport on the north shore of Cherokee Marsh.

Park Development Projects

Dane County Parks staff work on a variety of park development projects throughout the season. Projects include picnic shelters, bicycle trails, boat ramps, fishing piers, playgrounds, shoreline stabilization, and kiosks to name a few. Pictured to the right is the construction of one of Dane County's shelters.

Capital City Trail Pavement Restoration
Dane County Parks is undertaking the first major upgrade to the Capital City Trail since its completion in 2000 by repaving 9.5 miles of trail from Nob Hill Road to Verona Road to improve both ride and safety. The project is anticipated to be completed in three phases in three years, 2018-2020. Phase one is scheduled to commence in the summer of 2018 and phases two and three are anticipated to follow in consecutive years. New updates will include the installation of ADA compliant detectable warning panels at road and railroad crossings as well as the implementation of the Capital City Trail Wayfinding Plan on all phases. To view documents and materials related to this project please visit the Capital City Trail Pavement Restoration webpage.

Libby Road Storage Building
Construction is underway on a new storage facility building located on the south side of Libby Road within the Capital Springs Recreation Area. The building will be approximately 200’ long by 60’ wide and will house a variety of operation and maintenance equipment needed throughout the recreation area. Construction began in August and is anticipated to be completed by December of 2015. Contact Chris James, Dane County Parks for questions or additional information at 608-224-3763, or

Prairie Moraine Dog Park Parking Lot Relocation
Dane County is constructing a new 74 vehicle parking lot at the Prairie Moraine Dog Exercise Area. The new parking lot will provide greater separation from CTH PB, and allow users to more easily access the entire off leash area. Facilities will include two double gated entrances and an informational kiosk. The new entrance into the off leash area will require some clearing of invasive understory vegetation and some minor trail adjustments. See attached map for the proposed parking lot layout.

The existing Prairie Moraine dog exercise area parking lot will be reduced to 10 stalls and become park maintenance and hiking access only for the Ice Age Trail once the new lot is opened. No public access to the dog exercise area will remain once the new entrance is complete. For further information about the parking lot and entrance, please contact Chris James, Dane County Parks Division at 608-224-3763 or by email at