Thanks to a partnership of local governments and non-profit groups, a bike trail has recently been completed along a restored section of Black Earth Creek between Mazomanie and the Wisconsin Heights Middle/High School. The trail provides exceptional access to the creek, recreational opportunities, and a safe route to school for local kids. Click here for a map of the trail.
In 2012, Natural Heritage Land Trust, in partnership with Dane County, completed a 45-acre conservation easement on the Wolf family farm. This easement permanently protects the land and created permanent public access for the trail to be constructed from the Village of Mazomanie. Funding came from the Knowles-Nelson Stewardship Program and Natural Heritage Land Trust members.
In 2013, Natural Heritage Land Trust acquired the final piece of land necessary to complete the bike trail. Steve Schmitt, owner of the Shoe Box in Black Earth, generously donated the roughly 1.25-acre parcel, which lies south of the easement completed with Fred Wolf.
The remainder of the trail runs on DNR and Wisconsin Heights School District land. Our friends, Wolf Run Association, a Mazomanie non-profit group, finished construction of the trail in the fall of 2014.
The trail effort also involved restoring the creek, reducing erosion along the stream bank and reconnecting the stream to its floodplain. The transformation of this stretch of Black Earth Creek has been nothing short of amazing. What was once a deep, straight channel behind a dam has been restored into a beautiful meandering stream with a gravelly bottom and gently sloping banks.
A special thank you to all the partners that made this project possible: the Wolf Family, Steve Schmidt, Wolf Run Association, Wisconsin Heights School District, Southern Wisconsin Trout Unlimited, Dane County Parks, Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources, Madison Community Foundation, John and Helen Wick, Town of Mazomanie, and Natural Heritage Land Trust members.
We also wish to thank a number of Natural Heritage Land Trust members and supporters who made special gifts to help us complete this project: Anonymous, Electronic Theatre Controls, Steve Born, Charlie and Barb Saeman, Bob and Christie Selk, and Lee and Jacqui Swanson.