Here’s a nice story of collaboration to make nature more accessible. One year ago Shellie Benish, the Village Administrator/Clerk/Treasurer for the Village of Black Earth, sent me an email. Could Groundswell help the Village acquire one acre of land to provide a new spot for canoeists and kayakers to get in the creek?
The property was owned by David Cooper, a long-time resident. David’s house and garage were heavily damaged in the huge flood of August 2018. David had let Shellie know that he thought his land would make a great park, and Shellie agreed. The property is next to land owned by the DNR as part of the Black Earth Creek Fishery Area. It includes 120 feet of shoreline on the creek.
According to Shellie, “The Village is really excited for this opportunity to partner with Groundswell on this project. We are truly grateful. This project supports the Village goal of expanding outdoor recreation and the preservation of natural spaces.”
David said he is happy to sell the land. “It is good that everyone got along fine to make this happen.”
So, today, with strong financial support from the Dane County Conservation Fund, the Knowles-Nelson Stewardship Program, and Groundswell’s Norm Anderson Conservation Opportunities Fund, we purchased the property. This winter we will donate the land to the Village. The Village will take on the work of removing the buildings and turning the land into a park, complete with creek access.
The Dane County Parks Commission oversees grants from the Dane County Conservation Fund. According to County Supervisor Dave Ripp, Chair of the Parks Commission, “When you think of Dane County Parks, most people think of land. Water trails are an important part of our outdoor recreation too, and this will be a great place to launch your canoe.”