Verona Sugar River Valley is a natural resource area encompassing 7644 acres on the western side of the Town of Verona. This includes a segment of the Military Ridge State Trail and is one of the largest continuous wetland complexes along the boundary of the driftless area in western Dane County. A rural, scenic river valley, it includes forests and fertile farm fields. Characteristic landmarks of the area are working farms, a clean river, and a water-based trail for all to enjoy. The WDNR and WDOT are the primary public land owners. The Verona Open Space and Parks Commission has identified this natural area as a priority resource area in its five-year plan and the Town Hall has an informational brochure produced by the OSPC and its partners.
Badger Mill Creek is a 623-acre natural resource area within the Upper Sugar River watershed that flows through the City and Town of Verona on the east side of the township. The area includes wetlands and adjacent upland buffer lands along it?s lower stretch. The Badger Mill Creek is part of the 1998 Upper Sugar River Initiative funded by a U.S. EPA grant to analyze the watershed’s pressing ecological issues. One major concern was the increasing amount of municipal water sent to a treatment plant located in another watershed. As a part of this initiative, Madison Metropolitan Sewer District constructed a return discharge line to preserve base flows in the Badger Mill Creek and Upper Sugar River watershed. The Wisconsin DNR is currently looking at reclassifying Badger Mill Creek as a “cool water fishery,” indicating it does have the potential to sustain some trout populations.
Prairie Moraine County Park can be reached by taking US Highway 18/151 to County Highway PB; the entrance is two miles south on County Highway PB. This area’s geologic history provides many opportunities for educational and recreational activities. The Johnstown Moraine runs through the northern portion of the site and is an important element of the Ice Age National Scenic Trail, which runs along its narrow crest. This 160-acre park is ideal for viewing the moraine and provides an excellent area for interpretation of Wisconsin’s glacial history. A portion of the park is also one of Dane County’s most popular dog exercise areas. The park offers both off-leash and on-leash areas for dogs. Dog owners and other visitors can enjoy the beautiful oak savanna.
- For more information, visit the DaneCounty Parks web page.
Badger Prairie County Park is located just east of the City of Verona at the intersection of County Highway MV (East Verona Avenue) and U.S. Highway 151and serves as the center of the Ice Age Trail Junction Area. The park has a shelter facility, play fields, mountain bike trails, a playground, dog exercise area and a field for flying model airplanes. The park also provides access to Military Ridge State Trail and the Verona segment of the Ice Age National Scenic Trail.
- For more information, visit the DaneCounty Parks web page.
Ice Age National Scenic Trail is one of eight congressional designated National Scenic Trails. The Ice Age Trail will be a thousand-mile walking/hiking trail located in and unique to Wisconsin. About 600 miles of the Trail are now available for use. It has been featured in National Geographic and Backpacker magazines. The Trail loosely follows the extent of the last glaciers that receded from Wisconsin over 10,000 years ago.
The Ice Age Trail in the Town of Verona is still in the process of being built. The current Verona Trail segment transverses an area that is close to or on the glacier’s terminal moraine. This segment extends from McKee Rd. on the north to Prairie Moraine County Park on Cty PB on the south. From the north, this diverse Trail segment meanders through large areas of restored prairie, and includes a short stretch of the Military Ridge Bike Trail before passing through southeast Verona along Badger Mill Creek. The southern section contains farm fields and oak woodlands with kettle ponds. This segment ends at the Johnstown terminal moraine, and includes magnificent views over the driftless area to the south and west.
The Ice Age Trail Junction Area traverses across the eastern and northern portions of the Town of Verona, and creates a link in the 1000-mile long Ice Age National Scenic Trail. This link, along with its connection to the Military Ridge State Trail, will connect the Ice Age Junction Area with statewide recreational trail networks. The area, which is intended to remain a permanent open space, will also function as a trail corridor connecting Badger Prairie County Park to the City of Madison’s Elver Park. The area also includes the Madison Area Youth Soccer Association’s Reddan Park. This project is made possible by partnerships between Dane County, the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources, the National Park Service, the City of Verona, the Town of Verona, and the Ice Age Park and Trail Foundation.
Military Ridge State Trail is a former railway corridor that has been converted into a recreational trail. This year-round 40-mile trail, in Iowa and Dane counties, connects Dodgeville and Madison, Wisconsin, cutting across the Town of Verona and through the City of Verona. A large parking area off Highway PB, just south of Badger Prairie Park, provides a convenient location for users of this popular trail. Public facilities are located in downtown Verona, along with a shelter. Bike permits are required and can be obtained from many area businesses and at kiosks along the route.
- For more information, see
Sugar River Water Trail is an area of the northern section of the Sugar River between Verona and Paoli that is open to water travel by canoe or kayak. This serene stretch of river offers the ability to visit nature without having to travel a long distance. Volunteers are continuing to keep this section of the river open by cutting back or removing fallen trees and other obstacles. One may enter the river where it edges along the Military Ridge State Trail off of Epic Lane (formerly Country View Road), at Valley Road, or at Riverside Road. Abundant wildlife and gently flowing water makes this a great beginners route that also satisfies the experienced paddler.
- For more information, visit
Scheidegger Forest County Park is located on Range Trail south of Verona. This natural area was recently acquired by Dane County Parks from the Dane County Sheriff’s Department with funds donated by the estate of Walter R. Scheidegger. Mr. Scheidegger was born in Riley in 1915 and attended Verona Area High School. He was proud of his Swiss heritage, enjoyed hunting and rides in the country, especially through the Verona area.
Upon passing away in February 2001, Walter donated $534,420 to the Dane County Parks Commission, who established a trust fund in his name. Walter asked that the donation be used for the acquisition and maintenance of park lands in the communities of Riley, Verona and Mt. Vernon, where he was born and raised. He also stated that his preference would be for his gift to be used in the Town of Verona. As such, this large continuous wooded area was acquired in 2002 and named after Mr. Scheidegger.
This former sheriff’s shooting range has been renovated into a public forest as part of the Dane County Parks system. Working with the DNR, a Forest Stewardship Management Plan was developed for improvement thinning.
Barb Walker and Gary Weinert are organizing a “Friends” group of volunteers who will work with the County to maintain the property.
Madison School Forest, also known as the Jackson School Forest after “Bud” Jackson, encompasses 307 acres of hilly terrain in the southwest corner of the Verona township on Fritz Road. Public landowners of the Madison School Forest are the Madison Metropolitan School District, Friends of the Madison School Forest and WDNR. As a special place of natural biological diversity, the Madison School Forest offers a unique site for students to experience and learn environmental education.