Ten Views of Lake Wingra

The Madison area is known for its four lakes. But there’s a fifth, and its history, ecology and beauty are well worth a tour

(page 7 of 10)

kite view of lake wingra

7. SAVING THE SHORELINE

In the early 1900s the Madison Park and Pleasure Drive Association claimed members from one in ten Madison households; it was so successful that Madison neglected to form a parks department until 1931. Big and small donors funded parks and sightseeing drives around the city, including Vilas Park and Edgewood Pleasure Drive. In the 1920s and ’30s, a new generation of visionaries in the Madison Parks Foundation rallied donors and citizens to buy farmland on Wingra’s south shore for a nature preserve. Those purchases were the beginning of the university’s Arboretum. Thanks to this forward thinking, almost all of Lake Wingra’s 3.7-mile perimeter is public land. This circle of green is triply important: for beauty, an environmental buffer and public access.

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