Dane County Parks was first established in 1936, not long after the National Park Service. There are three historical sites within this park system: Halfway Prairie School (the oldest rural elementary school in Dane County), Lake View Hill Park (a 27-acre wooded conservancy park) and Schumacher Farm (an outdoor museum representing local farming life in the 1920s and 1930s). Each was specifically set aside for the preservation, restoration, or reconstruction of features significant to the history or cultural heritage of our area.
Just one glance at the Madison Parks Facilities guide and you’ll get why we’re known for four seasons of fun! Stay cool this summer at beaches, pools and splash parks. Extend the experience—even in winter—by trying skating, sledding or snowshoeing. You can even bring your pup along to play! Madison was ranked 4th in the nation for number of dog parks per resident and there are eight off-leash city parks for your furry friend to enjoy!
Dane County features 27 parks with land set aside specifically for recreational use. Maximize your opportunities at parks like Capital Springs where you can enjoy activities including camping, hiking, wildlife viewing, cross-country skiing or kayaking. Or, try a park like Salmo Pond which focuses solely on fishing in its three-acre lake and fishing piers.
Both parks systems play a role in conservation and protection of our local parks. But those activities go beyond basic upkeep of parks or wetlands. For example, the Madison Parks Forestry Division is responsible for hundreds of thousands of trees that are located in the City's parks, golf courses and cemetery—as well as the 96,000 trees along Madison's 700 miles of city streets!
Both parks systems offer opportunities for those who use the parks to get involved as volunteers to help extend the lives of our parks. Dane County Parks regularly updates its Volunteer Opportunities and nearly a dozen of its parks have Friends Groups dedicated to preserving those particular parks. And Madison Parks engages volunteers in activities ranging from its annual Earth Day Challenge to the chance to Adopt-A-Park!