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 🙂 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.
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.
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.
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.
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 🙂 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.
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! 🙂
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.
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.
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.