Jefferson County Parks Initiative

David Heyman -

Brian Wright -



To evaluate the recreational value of potential new park areas on the basis of recreation opportunities, scenic value, integration with existing public areas, accessibility to urban areas, and the preservation of prime agricultural land.


Executive Statement:

The Jefferson County Parks Department and the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources have identified Jefferson County as a critical area to establish more outdoor recreational opportunities. We are proposing to enhance these two visions by selecting the most productive area within the county to establish a new a park area that would be complimentary with the existing park system, preserve natural features, and establish a diverse amount of recreational opportunities for the local and regional needs.






Parks and public lands provide the residents of Wisconsin with a diverse range of outdoor recreation opportunities ranging from bird-watching to deer-hunting; from riding snowmobiles to hiking; from picnicking to waterskiing. The Wisconsinite’s use of their land is as diverse as Wisconsinites themselves. Therefore, whenever there is an opportunity to add any parkland, it is important to make the best use of resources by ensuring that the new park is the most productive in creating the most outdoor recreation opportunities with scenic value as well. The new parkland also must integrate with the existing park structure to maximize the contiguous area of natural land and to avoid creating islands of wildlife habitat. The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources has created the Land Legacy Report identifying potential parklands throughout the state of Wisconsin. GIS can be used to rank potential parklands on the basis of recreation opportunities, scenic value and integration with current parks, with the goal of making a recommendation on which lands should be turned into parks.


Study Area:

Jefferson County is located in south central Wisconsin between Milwaukee and Madison along Interstate 94. The county is also 70 miles northwest of Chicago, Illinois. These large urban areas greatly influence the land use and are a major contributing factor for the need of additional recreational opportunities within Jefferson County.  The county lies within the Southeast Glacial Moraine Plain that contains moraines, drumlins and hills that interspersed with wetlands and river valleys. These geologic features create a gently rolling character with a variety of terrain and land cover types, abundant lakes and streams, and large woodlands that can accommodate a broad range of land and water based recreational activities within a scenic locale for parks and trails.


Proposed Tasks:

Use natural resource data layers to evaluate the existing natural features in order to provide a diverse amount of outdoor recreational opportunities. Determine the value of these areas through buffering and liking to existing public lands to produce a rating factor as to which area would create a considerable amount of recreational opportunities with the least disturbance to natural features.