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Family donates 114 acres for new county forest near Mazomanie

MAZOMANIE, Wis. - A new county forest will feature 114 acres of land with scenic overlooks, views of Blue Mound, the largest hill in southern Wisconsin and rock outcropping, according to a release.

Dane County Executive Joe Parisi announced Monday that Stephen Morton donated the land in 1999, and it is being turned over to the county this year.

The forest, located at 5169 Reeve Road is about 2.5 miles south of Mazomanie, according to the release.

"Dane County has some of the most beautiful county parks in the nation," Parisi said in the release. "I want to thank Steve Morton for his generous donation that so many in Dane County will now be able to enjoy."

The Morton County Forest is in the Driftless Area, which is noted for its steep topography, according to the release.

"I donated my land to Dane County Parks because I felt, given our expanding population, it was important to protect open space and create quiet places of solitude for people to visit as an escape from their more crowded urban environments," Morton said in the release.

The forest will have trails, scenic overlooks with shelters and seating, a small parking lot, and a nature center, officials said.

There has been a $230,000 permanent Morton Forest Endowment created with the Madison Community Foundation to cover future maintenance and operation costs, which are $10,000 annually, according to the release. Morton also donated $15,000 for two timber-frame shelters for the overlooks.

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