Dane County Parks manages 319 acres at the Pheasant Branch Conservancy, which was formerly known as Bellefontaine Conservancy. This site has a diverse topography and provides a panoramic view of the Capitol building, downtown Madison skyline and Lake Mendota. Native Americans chose the high point vistas as a location for burial grounds. Below the hill to the south visitors can find the Pheasant Branch Creek wetlands and several predominant springs which provide fresh water for Lake Mendota. The lands above the hill to the north are being restored to prairie and wetland habitat and will offer additional recreational opportunities. Hiking, bird watching and interpretative signage are enjoyed at the Conservancy.
In 2019, Dane County purchased a 159-acre property (former Acker Farm) as an addition to Pheasant Branch Conservancy. View planning and restoration projects related to this property.
This park is supported in part by the Friends of Pheasant Branch Conservancy.
Information on Dogs at Pheasant Branch:
A community conversation occurred earlier this year regarding the presence of dogs in the portion of Pheasant Branch Conservancy that is owned by Dane County. Dane County manages the northern most 319 acres of the Pheasant Branch Conservancy. The managed lands are a partnership between county-owned lands (259 acres) and the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources-owned lands (60 acres). The City of Middleton owns the southern two-thirds of the conservancy. Some users are concerned that the presence of dogs negatively impacts birds and wildlife using the conservancy. Other users are concerned that limiting dog access will negatively impact their use and enjoyment of the conservancy.
The status of the issue is as follows: