Master plans for county parks are completed to guide development of the park facilities and to provide a vision for future expansion. Master plans are not detailed construction documents so additional plans and specifications must be created prior to implementing the master plan recommendations. All plans follow an intensive consensus building public participation process prior to being finalized. The Donald Park plan is in the draft phase. View the complete report or the text only version.
At least since the time of its 1970 Parks and Open Space Plan, Dane County Parks has recognized a need for a park in the southwest area of the county. The 1996-2000 Parks and Open Space Plan continued to call for a regional park of 400-600 acres in southwestern Dane County.
In 1966, after a drive around Dane County, Delma Donald Woodburn noticed a county park in western Dane County. She mentioned it to her son Bob, and commented that the area near their farms also needed a county park. In 1993, the Woodburn family donated 105 acres of land to the county. The development of the park gained momentum in 1996, with the county’s acquisition of the Hitchcock property, along with additional land and easements from the Donald family.
Planning for the park began with Jason Wilkes’ 1996 University of Wisconsincapstone senior project, which provided an inventory and analysis of the site.In 1997, the Woodburn family made a substantial donation to the County to allow the planning process to continue. A private consulting firm, Landscape Architects, Inc., developed a master plan for the park, which was adopted by the County Board in 1999 and updated in 2005.
Since the Woodburn family’s original donation in 1993, the county has been able to increase the size and solidify the configuration of the park. As of 2010, Donald Park has expanded to 624 acres, with an additional 263 acres in lands preserved through conservation easements. The park now includes land on both sides of Sutter Drive south of Highway 92, as well as land north of Highway 92 surrounding Donald Rock (also known as the Preacher’s Cap).
The county’s acquisition priorities include: 1) purchasing the 3-acre site of Donald Rock from the Department of Transportation; and 2) purchasing lands south of Highway 92, currently owned by the Woodburn family but preserved through conservation easements.