Seal of Dane County County of Dane
Translate
Dane County Parks

Foraging

Child picking applesForaging for edible fruits, nuts, and mushrooms is allowed in the Dane County Park System as long as it's for personal use and not for resale. Dane County does not apply pesticides to fruit trees or bushes, so foraging can be a safe and fun way to connect to the outdoors. Foraging is not allowed on planted vegetable garden plots within parks. Park users are allowed to leave the trails to forage but should follow the guidelines below to ensure they do their best to minimize damage. 

Guidelines

  1. Know what you're picking. Make sure you’re 100% confident you know what you’re about to collect and consume. Some berries, plants, and especially mushrooms can be hard to distinguish and potentially poisonous.
  2. Don't cut or harm the plant. Park users are allowed to pick the fruits, nuts, and berries but must leave the plant intact.
  3. Don't collect from small populations. Only pick foods that are in abundance. If you take from small patches it may be detrimental to wildlife who survive on that food source. If you take too many, you could be preventing more plants from growing.
  4. Don't forage along roads. You could be putting yourself in danger by harvesting along busy roads.

Please note that these rules apply only within the Dane County Park System. State parks (Wisconsin DNR) and other local entities may have their own rules about foraging.

What Can You Forage?

Harvest Time is September to October

  • Badger Prairie County Park: Near the woods by the park shelter.
  • CamRock County Park: Trees are scattered along the multi-use trail next to Koshkonong Creek.
  • Donald County Park: An abandoned orchard is near the Foye Cabin site in the center of the park on the south side of the creek. Some pear trees are present as well.
  • Indian Lake County Park: Trees are scattered throughout the park, south of the main parking lot.
  • Prairie Moraine Dog Park: Trees are scattered throughout the dog park.
  • Sugar River Wildlife Area (Basco Unit): An orchard remnant is near parking lot on STH 69.
  • Token Creek County Park: Near Shelter #3 and disc golf course.

Harvest Time is August

  • Donald County Park: They're scattered throughout wooded areas. Check the wooded/field transition areas.
  • Scheidegger Forest: Check the woodland transition areas north of the parking lot.

Harvest Time is Late June to Early July

  • All Parks: Excellent picking at most of the major parks, especially at CamRock, Schumacher, Donald, Badger Prairie, and Indian Lake. Look for berries in slightly shaded areas at woodland/field transitions.

Harvest Time is September to October

  • All Parks: Hickory nuts can be found at most county park lands that have forest areas.
  • Festge County Park: Easy access to many trees off the main parking area.

Harvest Time is April to May

  • All Parks: Check around dead elm and apple trees after periods of warm rain and temperatures in the 70s. The best opportunities are in the western half of the county early in the morning.

Harvest Time is July

  • Anderson Farm County Park: Check mown grass trails that border agricultural fields. Public access in agricultural fields is not allowed until crops have been harvested.
  • CamRock County Park: Check open areas adjacent to the creek and drainage ways.

Harvest Time is August to September

  • Babcock County Park: Check the area around the playground near the campground.
  • CamRock County Park: Trees are in the arboretum at shelter 2.
  • Capital Springs Dog Park: Between the dog park and disc golf course.
  • Mendota County Park: Look along West Point Road.
  • Riley-Deppe County Park: Trees are next to the lake, 300 feet north of the parking lot.
  • Schumacher Farm County Park: Trees are behind the barn.
  • Token Creek County Park: Look near shelter #3 and the disc golf course.

Harvest Time is September to November

  • Babcock County Park: Look near the playground by the campground.
  • Capital Spring Dog Park: Look between the dog park and disc golf course.
  • Mendota County Park: Check along West Point Road.
  • Riley-Deppe County Park: Trees are next to the lake, 300 feet north of the parking lot.
  • Schumacher Farm County Park: Trees are behind the barn.

You can also check the Falling Fruit interactive map which shows the locations of food that can be foraged all over the world. If you find products in our park system that aren't on the map, please add them. If you find items in the Dane County Park system that aren't in our list above, please email us so we can add them.