Seal of Dane County County of Dane
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Dane County Parks

Park Hours and Rules

Dane County Parks are open from 5:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m. daily, unless otherwise posted, for visitors who aren't camping. The following rules apply to all Dane County Parks, Natural Resource Areas, and Wildlife Areas.
 

 

Noise and Personal Conduct

The use of any sound amplification device, loudspeaker, generator, or other device that produces excessively loud or unusual noise is strictly prohibited, unless a permit has been obtained and it is allowed on a particular property.

  1. No noisy, drunken, or disorderly person shall be permitted to remain on Dane County property.
  2. It's illegal to deface, destroy, or vandalize any county property or natural growth.
  3. All controlled substances and paraphernalia, identified in Chapter 161, WI State Statutes, shall be prohibited from use or possession.

Pets

  1. Visit our Dogs in Parks page to view requirements for dogs in parks.
  2. No pets are allowed in designated beach areas at Goodland, Mendota, and Stewart Lake County Parks.
  3. Horses are allowed on designated horse trails only and must be kept under control.

Vehicles

  1. A permit is required for vehicles parked outside of the campsite area.
  2. Vehicles are restricted to designated roadways, parking areas, and authorized campsites.
  3. Vehicles must abide by state laws and operate at the posted speed limit within the park.

Refuse

  1. No commercial or household waste is allowed.
  2. All litter, debris, and trailer refuse must be removed or placed in areas or containers provided.

Tents & Special Equipment

This also includes chairs, tables, and play equipment.

  1. Installing tents or other structures that are larger than 12' x 12' and require stakes or pins to be driven into the ground more than six inches will result in an additional fee to cover the marking of underground utilities.
  2. A certificate of insurance may be required when bringing additional equipment into a park. 
  3. Please call (608) 224-3730 for more information.

 

Permits

All annual permits are valid from January 1st through December 31st with the exception of Lake Access, which is valid from January 1st through March 31st of the following year. Replacement permits are available at a lower fee for lost annual permits. Lost State Trails permits must be replaced at full price.

Written permits from the Dane County Parks office are required for:

  1. Public meetings, assemblies, tournaments & entertainment
  2. Exclusive use of facilities (shelters)
  3. Selling or offering anything for sale in the park
  4. Landing aircraft or dropping any objects from the air
  5. Mooring a boat for more than two days
  6. Possessing or drinking alcoholic beverages
  7. Camping
  8. Use of designated year round Lake Access sites at selected parks
  9. Passage through Tenney Lock
  10. After-hours use of the parks
  11. Use of the Disc Golf courses
  12. The use of amplification devices
  13. Having a dog in any park
  14. Use of bike, horse, and ski trails in County parks
  15. Any special event

Visit These Pages for More Information

 

Camping Reservations

Camping fees must be paid prior to use of a Park facility. Please visit our fees page for more information.

All campsite reservations must be made at least 5 days in advance. Campsite reservations require a minimum 2-night stay and sites may be occupied up to 14 days. Most campsites at Babcock, Brigham, Mendota, and Token Creek County Parks are reservable. A few campsites are for walk-in registrations. William G. Lunney Lake Farm County Park has the only campground where all sites are reservable. 

Cancellation Policy


General Rules and Regulations

  • Campers must register for or have a reservation for a Campsite prior to setting up camp.
  • Campsites must be registered/reserved by the Camping Party occupying the site.
  • A Camping Unit must occupy the Campsite the first night of registration/reservation.
  • No Campsite may be left unattended for more than 24 hours.
  • One Camping Unit is allowed per Campsite unless additional units are approved by park staff.
  • Camping is only allowed in signed and designated areas.   
  • Only one Camping Party (6 individuals) may occupy a Campsite.
  • A Camping Party or Camping Unit may not move from the assigned Campsite to another Campsite within the park without prior approval by park staff or campground host.
  • Camping is limited to 14 days. The Camping Party and Camping Unit must vacate the Campground for at least 48 consecutive hours before being eligible for an additional 14-day registration at the same Campground.   
  • Park staff may close a Campsite and move a Camping Party at any time to protect the condition of the Campsite and surrounding park land.   
  • If camping more than four days without a reservation, you must self-register for a non-reservable site.  Contact parks staff or campground host for availability of a reservable site if self-registering for five to 14 days.

Hours

  • Parks open at 5:00 a.m. and close at 10:00 p.m.
  • Campgrounds are closed to non-campers from 10:00 p.m. to 5:00 a.m.  All visitors must vacate the Campground by 10:00 p.m.  
  • Quiet hours are from 10:00 p.m. to 5:00 a.m.  Please be considerate of your camping neighbors.
  • A Camping Party may not set up or take down a Campsite between 10:00 p.m. to 5:00 a.m. unless approved by a parks employee or law enforcement officer.
  • Camping permits begin at 3:00 p.m. on the first day of permit registration and expire at 3:00 p.m. on the last day of the permit registration.
  • Re-registration for the following night is by 10:00 a.m. on the last day of the camping permit

Campground Conduct

  • No person may engage in any loud, drunken, or disruptive behavior that causes a disturbance.     
  • No person may operate any sound device, loudspeaker, generator, air conditioner or other device that produces excessively loud or unusual noises without approval from park staff.
  • It is illegal to deface, destroy or vandalize any park property or natural growth. 
  • All controlled substances and paraphernalia, identified in Chapter 161, WI State Statutes, shall be prohibited from use or possession.  
  • No personal items or equipment may be left unattended in the restrooms/shower areas.

Vehicles 

  • No more than two (2) motor vehicles or a vehicle and trailer may be parked within the parking area of any Campsite; up to six (6) motorcycles are permitted. At Mendota Park,  only one boat is permitted at boat campsites.   Vehicles are restricted to designated roadways and parking areas.
  • A permit is required for vehicles parked outside of the campsite area.

Campfires

  • Only firewood originating from within Dane County is allowed in the parks. See "Firewood" tab for more information.
  • Fires are permitted in fireplaces, grills, and fire rings only and may not be left unattended.
  • Do not place hot coals on the ground or in trash containers.

Pets

  • Dogs are permitted in the Campground with a registered camper at no additional charge and must be kept on-leash at all times.  
  • Pet waste must be cleaned up and placed in the proper container.
  • Dogs cannot be left unattended.

 

Shelter Reservations

Shelter fees must be paid prior to use of a Park facility. Please visit our fees page for more information.

Shelter reservations must be made at least 2 days in advance. Due to limited parking availability, groups exceeding 100 people at Brigham, Goodland, or Mendota County Parks must reserve both shelters. 

Please Note: To reserve shelters for groups over 150 people, you must contact the Parks office at (608) 224-3730.

A staff cell phone number will be included with the reservation card posted at the shelter. Please feel free to contact staff with questions or problems. 

Cancellation Policy


Rules and Regulations

  • When making a shelter reservation, please have the following information:
  1. Arrival date, park and shelter number
  2. Number of people who will attend
  3. If there will be special needs and accommodations such as a tent or catering, porta-potties, extra trash containers, etc. Some events require a Certificate of Insurance to cover certain activities.
  4. If alcohol will be consumed by and your group contains 25 or more people
  5. If amplified music will be played
  6. Type of event (family reunion, work picnic, wedding reception, etc.)
  • A shelter reservation entitles your group to exclusive use of the designated shelter building and immediate area. The general public may use the restrooms. Other facilities such as ball diamonds, play areas, horseshoe pits, and tennis courts are for use on a first-come first-served basis with a one hour time limit if another group or individual is waiting. Shelters must be vacated by 9:30 p.m.
  • An Alcohol Beverage Permit is required for all gatherings of 25 or more people where alcohol is being consumed and may be obtained from the Parks Office, Park Manager, or Ranger on duty. Permits may only be obtained by persons age 21 or over.
  • Shelter hours are from 10 a.m. until 9:30 p.m. The park closes at 10 p.m. Trash containers will be provided and additional garbage bags or containers are available by contacting the Park Manager. Please put all trash in appropriate containers.
  • Law enforcement problems should be reported to the park staff or to the Dane County Sheriff Dept. Call (608) 255-2345 for non-emergencies and 911 for emergencies.
  • Law enforcement problems should be reported to the park staff or to the Dane County Sheriff Dept. Call (608) 255-2345 for non-emergencies and 911 for emergencies.
  • No commercial or household waste is allowed. All trash must be removed from the park or deposited in appropriate containers.

 

 

Firewood Regulations

Don't move firewood - hitchhiking insects like the Emerald Ash Borer can kill forestsPlease Note:
Due to the confirmed presence of EAB in Dane County and much of the state,  the Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection (WDATCP) has put the State of Wisconsin under quarantine.  Exotic and native forest pests such as Agrilus planipennis (emerald ash borer), Anoplophora glabripennis (Asian longhorned beetle), and others cause serious damage to urban and natural forests in the United States.

These pests and many others disperse various distances through multiple pathways including movement of firewood.  Therefore it is a Dane County policy that residents cannot take firewood from Dane County to non-quarantine counties, and campers in parks within the county cannot carry leftover firewood home with them if they live outside of Dane County.  

As of June 16, 2010 all firewood brought into a Dane County Park must either originate within Dane County, or be purchased by a WDATCP Certified Firewood Dealer.
Certified firewood bundles can be purchased at most Dane County Parks for $5 / bundle.

 

Additional Information