Black Earth Creek Valley
Have you ever fished Black Earth Creek? As many local fly fishers know, Black Earth Creek is a high-quality Class I trout stream, and is known nationally for the quality of its fishing. The stream has been rated as one of the 100 best trout streams in the nation by Trout Unlimited and is recognized as one of the most productive wild brown trout streams in Wisconsin. Lands owned by the Department of Natural Resources and some public fishing easements along creeks in the valley provide public fishing access, as well as important wildlife habitat. (Link to map showing these spots.)
As its name suggests, the Black Earth valley farmland is also very rich. This prime farmland with its family farms and wetland areas characterize the valley floor. Steep slopes frame the valley and feature prairie remnants and oak savannas on the southern slopes, with mixed forest on the north slopes.
The valley encompasses a landscape of approximately 20,000 acres and includes the villages of Cross Plains, Black Earth, and Mazomanie. Two main tributaries, Vermont Creek and Garfoot Creek, feed into Black Earth Creek as it makes its way to the Wisconsin River. Since 2001, the Natural Heritage Land Trust has protected more than 1,124 acres of land in the valley through the purchase of land and conservation easements. More land conservation projects are in the works, as the Land Trust continues to collaborate with local landowners and communities to protect the lands and waters of the Black Earth Creek valley.
To visit Black Earth Creek valley: drive or bike west toward Mazomanie on Highway 14. Explore some of the side roads, and visit Festge County Park’s overlook for an inspiring view of the Black Earth Creek valley that the Land Trust is working with landowners to protect.