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Today, January 30, 2013, in partnership with the Village of Belleville, Groundswell purchased 36 acres of land along the Sugar River. The property, which is in two parcels (click here for map), protects nearly 2,000 feet of river frontage just upstream of the Village’s Lake Belle View park where the Village has completed a very successful restoration of the river from a former mill pond.

Executive Director for Groundswell, Jim Welsh, praises the success of Belleville’s river restoration project and says the additional acreage will expand the positive impact of that effort. “The community’s commitment to transform a local mill pond into a popular conservation area is impressive. We welcomed the chance to work with the Village in protecting more land along the Sugar River.”

The property is mostly forested. Groundswell will donate the property to the Village as an addition to Lake Belle View park within the next few months. The Village plans to create a nature trail on the newly acquired land connecting to the main trail in Lake Belle View Park. Belleville Administrator/Clerk/Treasurer April Little says that “the Village of Belleville truly appreciates the efforts of Groundswell, the DNR, and Dane County in obtaining this very scenic land. Not only will the land extend our lake and river conservation efforts, it will provide more area for Belleville residents and visitors to hike, snowshoe, bird watch and fish. We hope that everyone will enjoy the addition to the Lake Belle View berm trail system, in every season.”

Funding for the acquisition came from the Knowles-Nelson Stewardship Program, Dane County Conservation Fund, and members of Groundswell.

In 2013, Groundswell celebrates 30 years of protecting the places that define our community’s connection to land. With this acquisition, we have permanently protected more than 8,700 acres of land and water in Dane County and the surrounding area.