Monthly Archives: June 2016

Storrs Lake Wildlife Area

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This is technically not a county park but this is one of my favorite places in Rock County. I spend a good deal of time out there and this is my blog ūüôā so this post is going in that category! You will find Storrs Lake just east of Milton, immediately north of the Milton House Museum on¬†Storrs lake Road (This heads out of town toward what is now an industrial area). If you follow that road out you will come to a left turn; Keep going and you’ll find the parking lot and trail head! ¬†Once you get past the new Hwy 26 bridge it’s a pretty little drive into the parking area.

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Storrs Lake has a bit of history to it. During the Blackhawk War/Massacre, Brigadier General Henry Atkinson spent a night by the lake while in pursuit of Blackhawk and the small group of warriors, women and children that he had with him. They needed water and the lake was the only source to be had so unfortunately many of his men became ill from drinking the water. What a shame.

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This lake gets it’s name from one of the first settlers to the area that would later become Milton, Wisconsin. Nathan C. Storrs and his wife came to the area in the mid 1830’s and took out a claim across two sections of the county and Storrs Lake was a part of that claim. When Joseph Goodrich came to the area in 1838, he purchased this claim from him.

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Ice Age Trail map courtesy of Portage County Website.

The Storrs Lake wildlife area is a part of the Ice Age Trail that winds its way through the state. The area covers 753 acres total. Of this, much is wetlands and also includes parts of Bowers Lake and another small body of water called Round Lake. The state DNR is working to manage the area in order to protect the wetland, grassland, and forested areas and preserve the habitats for the wildlife.

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This is not a developed area. There are no amenities available like bathrooms, drinking water, grills¬†or even trash containers. So if you visit take your garbage with you! (I always take a bag with me and pick up trash as I go) ¬†There is, though, a single picnic table ūüôā There is also a small¬†public boat launch down a hill from the parking area with¬†a little dock. Quite a few people fish¬†Storrs Lake. I’m told that there are pan fish, large mouth Bass, and Northern Pike.¬†The parking area has very few¬†spaces¬†available¬†but the limited amount is generally not an issue. The spaces are wider and longer than normal to accommodate boat trailers.

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From the parking area there are two trails that go into the woods. Once in, they split off and you have choices as to where you want to go. One trail starts off paved but after a bit turns to a dirt trail like the rest. If you follow it all the way out you come to the spring, or rather what was the spring. It’s grassland now, but when I was young it was open water and you could watch the water bubble up from underground. If you are not familiar with the trails, it’s a good idea keep how you got to where you are in mind because, to the best of my knowledge, there are no maps of the trails that exist; except in the minds of people that are familiar with the area. That makes it a real adventure for rookies to the area! ūüôā

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It’s not uncommon to see a variety of different wildlife while hiking. I saw the most interesting bird today. It was small and dark with orange strips on the wings and down its body and tail. It was just beautiful.¬†I have also seen yellow, blue and green finches while on adventures at Storrs Lake, they are pretty cool.

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¬†One thing to keep in mind when hiking is that during the game seasons like Deer,¬†Turkey and various waterfowl, there are hunters in the woods. I’ve been out¬†and narrowly missed being hit by a stray shot. It’s always a good idea to know where the hunters are and make sure they know where you are. Better yet, just not be there when the danger of being shot is high.

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This s one of my favorite places. Many of the pictures I use for both my blogs are taken there. It is so peaceful, and the energy is wonderful. If you’ve never been to the Storrs Lake Wildlife Area, I recommend¬†you go. I am sure you’ll love it!

For more information about the area check the DNR website here.

 

 

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Milton’s Story

Joseph Goodrich

Hello everyone, it’s been a while since I’ve posted a chapter from Milton’s Story and I wanted to say I am sorry about that. I discovered that finding information was more difficult than I had anticipated. Getting research help from the Historical Society was disappointing. So much so that I gave up trying. The Janesville Library and the County Historical Society have been helpful. For that I am thankful.

The favorite saying from the Historical society was “Have you checked the Bicentennial book?” Well yes, but I am a professional and I don’t want to regurgitate already known information nor do I want to put myself into a situation where I can be accused of plagiarism. This has been a fun and interesting project for me. I hope it has also been for those that have been reading Milton’s Story. I don’t want to give up on it yet so be patient as I figure out how I am going to proceed. One option is to skip over Milton and begin another community entirely. I haven’t yet decided whether that is an option I will take.

I will continue working to keep the County Park posts and other things of interest coming for you as I figure this setback out.

Sharon

Our County Parks

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Magnolia Bluff

Of all the County Parks I have been to so far Magnolia Bluff is my favorite. This 120 acre park is in the western part of the county south of Evansville, ¬Ĺ mile south of HWY 59. Turn onto Croak road and the entrance to the park is on your left a short way down the road.

The park has three parking areas, a large lot at the foot of the bluff and tow smaller lots at the top. One for people bringing horse trailers and another for people going out to the park area. There are restrooms, picnic tables, grills and water provided at both the upper and lower bluff areas as well as dumpsters for your trash. Like all the County Parks this one is open from dawn to dusk. Because of the steep areas and rock outcroppings it is important to use extreme caution near the bluff edges and to not wander off the trails.

Portions of this park are designated State natural Area. The bluff is sandstone over dolomite and has a variety of Oak and Hickory trees as well as some Birch and Elm. There are several area where work has been done to restore and protect the plant species natural to this area. These areas are signed and it is requested that park visitors not walk in or through these areas.

Magnolia Bluff is the second highest point in Rock County. From it’s western end you get a gorgeous view of rolling hills and fields well into Green County. This is certainly a great spot for sunset pictures! I’ve never been to the Eastern overlook but the view must be equally beautiful.

There are two types of trails around and across the Bluff. One is for hiking and cross country skiing only and another for hiking and horseback riding. They are quite extensive and are a lovely, peaceful experience.

Our County Parks

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Carver – Roehl

This park is 53 acres of amazing beauty. You can find it at 4907 So. Carvers Rock Rd. It’s east of Janesville about 14 miles. Turn right onto So. Carvers Rock Road and keep going, you’ll get there and it’s well worth it. Like all county parks Carver ‚Äď Roehl is open from dawn to dusk and is available to rent for large parties. The park provides picnic tables under a¬†pavilion, trash bins, bathrooms, a hand pump for water and there is also a playground area for children¬†The parking might be tricky if it is a busy day. Parking is available around the picnic area loop. Be sure to leave room for you and others to safely get in and out of the park. During the winter parking is allowed only on the road leading into the park.

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This photo is courtesy of the Carver – Roehl website

This is one of the oldest parks in the county and arguably one of the prettiest. The land was given by the Roehl family for a park in 1950. The area¬†was formed by the last glacial period and is known as a dry-mesic forest. Because of this a large section of the park¬†has been¬†designated a¬†State Natural Area. This organization is a cooperative effort between the DNR and the states counties to protect examples of¬†Wisconsin’s¬†outstanding natural areas. To date there are about 600 sites totaling 330,00 acres under protection.

Spring Brook Creek runs the length of the park and formed the beautiful sandstone cliffs you can see walking the creekside trails. There are several trails in the park open for hiking and snowshoeing. Most that I have hiked are fairly easy for most people. The only problem I had while hiking the trails is that there isn’t a place to sit unless you want to sit on the ground. For me, that is not an easy thing to do, but I was able to make it back to the picnic area without help. You do want to remember to take mosquito and tick protection, the area is quite wooded so this is something to keep in mind.

When we go to a parks we usually take bags so we can pick up and trash we find on the trails. On this trip we found very little trash, but we found some nice berries that my sister enjoyed.

If you drive past the entrance to the park about a mile or so you come to a lovely little area of the park to sit and listen to the water. If you go a little further down the road and turn left you come to the back side of the park where there is a burial site for two people who came to the county very early in its history.

I hope you have the opportunity to visit this beautiful park sometime summer. If you’ve never been here I am quite sure you will enjoy it.