Dane County Executive Joe Parisi announced a new conservation effort Monday that adds to the land on the Sugar River that is open to the public for fishing and recreation.
Under the partnership between Dane County and the Natural Heritage Land Trust, a permanent easement of 154 acres was secured to protect a block of more than 600 acre of land along the Sugar River south of Verona and near Paoli.
Dane County purchased 450 acres from the Bruce Company last January, securing the largest acquisition of riverfront property in Dane County’s history.
The county’s proposed contribution for the additional protection of public lands is a conservation grant totaling more than $161,000.
“Working together with the property owner and the Natural Heritage Land Trust, this easement opens up miles of the Sugar River for canoeing, fishing and soon, hiking,” Parisi said in a release. “Whether on foot or in the water, what we are doing today means families will be able to relax and enjoy one of the finest natural resources in the state and region for generations to come."
Parisi said his 2014 county budget includes $300,000 for development of a new trail spanning the former Bruce Company property from Paoli north to Sunset drive in the town of Verona.
The county completed installation of a new public parking area on the south end of the Bruce Company property last fall for individuals looking to fish on the Sugar River, according to the release. A similar lot and canoe launch will be constructed on the north end of the property this spring.
If the Dane County Board approves the grant, it will cover 52 percent of the $307,622 needed for the Natural Heritage Land Trust to purchase the land, according to the release. The rest of the costs will be covered by matching funds from a land protection program and the Natural Heritage Land Trust.