GHA Paddle Volunteer Corps

The Friends of GHA and Jefferson County Parks Department have organized a new volunteer group called the GHA Paddle Volunteer Corps with the central duty of assisting County Parks staff with watertrail maintenance. The Corps' will remove obstructing debris and litter. "Our goal is to remove only those logs and branches that inhibit paddle craft from getting through an area. We aim to remove debris gently, surgically, so to speak, so as to be as light on the land as possible," said Mr. Wiesmann, Parks Operations Supervisor, at the latest Corps leaders meeting.

Volunteers with chainsaws will cut fallen logs while others will pull branches and logs to shore. All private homeowners along a waterway will be contacted prior to each work day for permission to use shorelines. Most hand tools will be provided, but volunteers will be asked to bring their own waders as well as sign waivers prior to launch. A full list of supply needs will be sent out to the Corps mailing list.

In order to accommodate a variety of schedules, work days will be organized for both weekday and weekends. Please visit our website, Facebook page (Glacial Heritage Area) or join the mailing list (contact Clare) for more information and to participate.

Rock River Scenic Trail

The Rock River Trail group has completed a detailed map of the Rock River Trail Scenic and Historic Route, a 320-mile auto route along the Rock River Valley. The route winds through the natural beauty and historical sites of 11 counties in Wisconsin and Illinois. With full autumn color on the way, what a great time to try a portion of this route!

GHA Accomplishment Highlights (2009 - 2013)

The following lists some highlights of GHA accomplishments since 2009 compiled by former DNR Project Manager Greg Matthews.


  • Watertown to Oconomowoc - feasibility study complete, Stewardship requirement waived clearing way for 15-year lease agreement with WE Energies
  • Watertown to Waterloo - concept plan complete
  • Glacial River Trail - developed from Watertown to Rock County Line; roof replaced on the covered bridge and donated statue erected on the trail in Fort Atkinson; poster designed and printed by a volunteer for raising funds to plant trees along the trail; maintenance contract signed by the Jefferson and Fort Atkinson Rotary Clubs to upkeep the trail between Fort Atkinson and Jefferson.
  • Cambridge Multi-Use Trail - village has received a $73,015 grant from Dane County for trail construction up to STH 134; part of greater vision to connect the village and adjacent CamRock Park to the Glacial Drumlin Trail
Waterloo Regional Trailhead Facility ribbon-cutting

Waterloo Regional Trailhead Facility ribbon-cutting event in December 2013. Photo courtesy of The Courier.
Left to right are: Laura Cotting, Waterloo Alderwoman; Dick Jones, Jefferson County Board Representative; John Molinaro, Jefferson County Board Representative; Joe Nehmer, Jefferson County Parks Director; Greg Matthews, [former] Glacial Heritage Area Project Manager; Clare Carlson, Friends of the GHA Board Representative; David Musolf, Resident Manager of Madison Audubon's Faville Grove Sanctuary; and Elyse Eastman, Naturalist Intern at the Waterloo Regional Trailhead.

Regional Conservation Parks

  • Holzueter Conservation Park - DNR, Jefferson County and partners are finalizing the property's implementation plan; adjacent land purchase being prepared for a parking lot.
  • Garman Nature Preserve - completed the restoration of 22 conical Indian mounds; constructed a new restroom, shelter, parking lot, and kiosk; paved a new entrance road; maintained 1.25 miles of hiking and cross-country ski trails; Waterloo Trailhead facility completed, intern hired.
  • Dorothy Carnes County Park - constructed new six car parking lot along Hoard Road; maintained 8.25 miles of hiking trails; installed two walk-in campsites with a restroom and water pump, new swing set, new roof on the barn; chip-sealed the western road entrance and parking lot and short interpretive trail with signage; continued operating 40 plot community gardens; raised over $50,000 for restoring an 1850 log home originally located on the park location; added youth mentor deer hunt for the nine-day gun season.
  • Korth County Park - added 30 paved parking stalls along the entrance road, along with two new entrance signs with landscaping; maintained 3.25 miles of hiking and cross country ski trails, including a connector to the Glacial Drumlin Trail; raised $25,000 for a new handicap accessible playground set next to the shelter; paved a portion of the connector trail from Korth Pavilion to Cedar Lane; continued operating 12 community gardens.

River Corridor

  • All Put In and Take Out signs (71) installed.
  • Jefferson County is examining river based campground locations
  • GHA Water Trail Maps - 19,000 distributed with a revised 20,000 scheduled for February 2014 printing.
  • Hosted a booth for the fourth consecutive year at Canoecopia.
  • Worked with volunteers to improve paddling access, trash collection along the Rock River; removed waterway blockages along the Rock, Bark and Maunesha River and Koshkonong Creek.
  • Organized paddling outings with the Friends of GHA and local paddling group.
  • Completed Rock River Trail Inventory, Analysis and Plan which helped lead to the designation of the Rock River as a National Watertrail by the National Park Service.
  • Completed signage along the Rock River for the Rock River National Water Trail.

Education, Outreach, and Communications

  • GHA web site being revised to create a stronger "sense of place" and GHA's visibility increased on the state Department of Tourism web site.
  • GHA on Facebook
  • Friends of GHA established; promoting GHA by providing activities and events, producing activity guides, contributing to web site
  • 20,000 GHA Recreational Asset Maps distributed regionally at 58 locations in nine communities, along with misc. venues, including Madison Canoecopia, County Fairs, and Milwaukee Sport Show etc.
  • Second annual "Hike and Bike with the Artists" held
  • Staffed a GHA booth at the Milwaukee Sports Show, Jefferson County and Dane County Fairs.

Wildlife Areas

Besides habitat management work on almost 30,000 acres of DNR wildlife management lands in the GHA, other projects, by wildlife area, include:

  • Jefferson Marsh - maintained six parking lots (all newly resurfaced) and service roads and dike tops for foot access
  • Koshkonong - maintained three parking lots (all newly resurfaced) and service roads and dike tops for foot access
  • Lake Mills - maintained trail from Bean Lake Rd. to Bean Lake State Natural Area, bike trail from Sandhill Campground to Mud Lake Rd., and eight parking lots; graveled and graded five miles of dike tops; maintained dog training grounds
  • Princes Point - maintained five parking lots (all news resurfaced) and service roads and dike tops for foot access
  • Rome Pond - maintained five parking lots (all newly resurfaced) and service roads and fire breaks for foot access
  • Waterloo-Mud Lake - maintained 30 parking lots (mostly resurfaced) and service roads and firebreaks for foot access, and boat ramps
  • Deansville - maintained four parking lots, and service roads and firebreaks for foot access
  • Goose Lake - maintained eight parking lots, and service roads and firebreaks for foot access
  • Storrs Lake - Lima Marsh - maintained 10 parking lots, a carry-in canoe access to Bowers Lake, boat ramp at Storrs Lake, dog training ground and a section of the National Scenic Ice Age Trail


GHA land acquisition since Oct. 2009 totals almost 520 acres at a cost of $1.82 million, mostly Stewardship money. Land acquisitions in Jefferson County include:

  • 6.1 acres costing $174,000 with a ($25,000 donation from the Quirk Foundation) for access to the Rock River in the Town of Watertown.
  • 17 acres costing $24,100 for Allen Creek Wetlands in the Town of Cold Spring.
  • 16.5 acres, a donation from the Natural Heritage Land Trust, for Allen Creek Wetlands in the Town of Koshkonong.
  • 7 acres costing $23,000 for the Glacial Drumlin Trail in the Towns of Aztalan/Farmington.
  • 167.2 acres costing $500,000 for the Glacial Drumlin Trail in the Towns of Aztalan/Farmington.
  • 2.95 acres costing $89,900 for Holzhueter Conservation Park in the Town of Waterloo.
  • 104.45 acres costing $391,424 for Holzhueter Conservation Park in the Town of Waterloo.
  • 69 acres costing $258,575 for Waterloo Wildlife Area in the Town of Waterloo.
  • 120 acres by Jefferson County for Dorothy Carnes Conservation Park (Rose Lake) in the Town of Jefferson.
  • Also, 129.65 acres costing $360,557 for Lima Marsh-Storrs Lake Wildlife Area in the Town of Avon, Rock County.

Memorandum of Understanding

An MOU was signed this year by Jefferson County and DNR describing acquisition, development and operation responsibilities in the GHA.

Stewardship Grants

  • Past Grants in the GHA include $126,100 to the Village of Palmyra (park acquisition) and $272,000 to Jefferson County (Carnes Conservation park/Rose Lake State Natural Area acquisition).
  • Active grants include $223,500 for the Village of Palmyra (park acquisition), and $402,638 and $13,500 to the City of Waterloo (trailhead facility). Grant Requests received by the May 1, 2013 deadline include $278,350 by the City of Lake Mills (Rock Creek restoration); $97,000 by the City of Waterloo (trailhead facility); and $31,000 by Dodge County (Wild Goose State Trail).

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