Seal of Dane County County of Dane
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Dane County Parks

Black Earth Creek Headwaters Natural Resource Area

The 179-acre Black Earth Creek Headwaters Natural Resource Area is located just west of the City of Middleton along Hwy 14. Natural Resource Areas are lands designated for the protection of a valuable natural environment, wildlife habitat, open space, and/or greenbelt corridor. The property contains a large wetland that serves as the headwaters of Black Earth Creek, one of the most renowned Class I trout streams in Dane County. Since the August 2018 flood, the wetland has grown significantly and returned closer to its original size when it was part of Old Mud Lake. This historic lake was an undivided wetland that spanned around 140 acres before it was ditched and drained in 1918 after the railroad and Highway 14 were constructed. The property preserves this historic wetland and protects important wildlife habitat.

Please note that this property is still in transition. Off-street parking is NOT available at this time. No public entry or parking along the existing driveways is allowed -- they are closed due to acquisition and driveway agreements. Crops are also still being grown on the fields and should not be damaged.

The property is NOT open to public hunting except through the Limited Access Archery Permit Lottery Program. However, waterfowl hunters are able to hunt navigable waters, including the pond on this property, via Wisconsin’s Public Trust doctrine. The public trust only applies to the water, users must be in the water with no right to hunt from the exposed shoreline. Navigable water may be accessed from a public right of way or public property. Dane County Parks does not have a public water access point or public parking lot for this property available at this time, but if hunters are legally parked or receive permission to access this property from an adjacent private landowner, they are not violating any laws. If legal parking is secured, all guns must remain unloaded and cased while being transported over the county land.


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Google Maps are provided for reference. Trails, park boundaries, parking lots and other features on this map may not be up-to-date. Please check the official maps for up-to-date information.

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History