Seal of Dane County County of Dane
Dane County Land & Water Resources Department

Seasonal Changes and Park Activities

March 03, 2021
Land & Water Resources

Contact: Darren Marsh, Dane County Parks
(608) 224-3766,     


Seasonal Changes and Park Activities

Dane County staff will be closely monitoring park facilities over the next several weeks.  Transitioning from winter to spring can lead to damage within the county parks.  Warming temperatures and rain will soon be drawing the frost out of the ground making roadways, trails, dog parks and grassy areas wet, soft and easily damaged.   

 MADISON, WI – March 3, 2021 - With extended warmer weather predicted, Dane County Parks Director Darren Marsh is advising county park users that some county parks, or portions of county parks, may be temporarily closed during the next several weeks.  The warmer weather will start to bring out ground frost, making park lands and some facilities susceptible to damage.

Over the next several weeks, visitors may find some park gates and facilities closed.  Marsh requests that park users stay on hard-surfaced pathways and roads. “We’re aware the community values outdoor recreational spaces, especially through the pandemic. Visitor use of the county parks, trails and natural resource areas are at an all-time high, but the spring thaw period combined with high use can have long-term impacts, especially on hiking trails." Marsh says, “If we can reduce the damages at this time of year, it reduces our maintenance costs and allows us to provide better services throughout the rest of the year.”  After a few spring rains and drying winds, the ground will firm up and parks will be re-opened.

After a few spring rains and drying winds, the ground will firm up and parks will be reopened. Please contact the County Parks Office (email/phone) if you become aware of park facilities that appear to be stressed or damaged.

In addition, prairie burning season is right around the corner. As the snow disappears, Dane County Parks, along with many other conservation partners, will begin conducting prescribed burns within parks and natural resource areas throughout the county. “Burning is an important management tool for restoring and preserving our grassland and woodland habitat,” says Marsh. Prescribed fires are conducted under a predetermined set of parameters that include temperature, wind speed and direction, relative humidity, among others. Before burning, fire managers ensure the process can be conducted safely.

Some parks, or portions of parks, may be temporarily closed during a prescribed burn.  This may cause an inconvenience for users, especially at sites like Capital Springs Recreation Area, Indian Lake and Prairie Moraine County Parks that have a high number of daily visitors.  Marsh says that the minor inconvenience of conducting burns can have big rewards helping to promote native vegetation and creating more vigor and diversity in habitat.

For more information on Dane County Parks, please visit the parks website or call the Parks Office at (608) 224-3730.


About Dane County Parks

Dane County Parks offers a variety of recreational opportunities for the outdoor enthusiast and natural environments for quiet getaways or special events.  Dane County Parks takes an active role to enhance and preserve the county’s finest natural resources.