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Cherokee Marsh Conservation Park - Mendota

Cherokee Marsh Conservation Park - Mendota
Address: 4338 Beilfuss Drive
Hours: 4:00am - dusk
Park Type: Conservation
Acres: 122.08
Restroom: No
Drinking Water: No
Shoreline On: Lake Mendota

Park Details

barred owl
Barred Owl by Marcus Brown

Cherokee Marsh Conservation Park, Mendota Unit has lowland forest with large-diameter red and white oak, black cherry, red maple, hackberry, and box elder. In spring, the forest floor has expanses of wildflowers including Dutchman's breeches, cut-leaf toothwort, and white trout lily. Also present are areas of shrub-carr, a wetland community of tall shrubs such as red-osier dogwood, aspen, and willow. The marsh-to-woodland boundary contains an alder thicket, a rare vegetation type for Dane County.

Birdlife includes barred owl, tufted titmouse, white-breasted nuthatch, woodpeckers, and wood-warblers in migration. 

The park's wetlands extend to the shoreline of Lake Mendota. Just south of the park is a carry-in canoe/kayak landing at 4106 Veith Ave.

.6 miles of trail in total. A trail at the south end of the park connects to trails in Meadow Ridge Conservation Park

Visit the Friends of Cherokee Marsh, to learn more including events and volunteer projects. 

Park Highlights

park trail in fall
Park trail in fall by Ed Snyder

Land Management

Cherokee Marsh, Dane County's largest wetland, is located at the head of the chain of Yahara lakes. Cherokee Marsh - Mendota Unit is one piece in a complex of protected land that supports wildlife and native plant communities in the marsh and adjacent uplands. 

Duchman's breeches by Jan Axelson

This park is situated on ancestral Ho-Chunk land. Cherokee Marsh's name dates to a 19th-century hunting club in the area.

The park's acreage was assembled from various parcels beginning in the early 1980s to protect high-quality portions of Cherokee Marsh wetlands and to buffer the marsh from stormwater runoff from expected housing development. A trail system was established in 1997 following the removal of a house in the interior of the property. 

Management has included the removal of invasive buckthorn, honeysuckle, garlic mustard, and dame's rocket to open the understory and maintain wildflower populations.
The Friends of Cherokee Marsh sponsor events and volunteer workdays. 

At this Park

About This Park

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Conservation Park Rules

Conservation Parks are uniquely managed to further protect native species and wildlife. The preservation of conservation parks includes some of the following. More information may be found in Madison General Ordinances 8.40.

  • Alcohol

    Alcohol is prohibited in all conservation parks.

  • Bicycles & Motor Vehicles

    Bicycles and motor vehicles are restricted to entrance roads and parking lots.

  • Dogs

    Dogs and horses are not allowed.

  • Fire

    Fires and picnics are prohibited.

  • Firearms

    No firearms or weapons are permitted in the restrooms or shelters. Violators are considered trespassers and subject to forfeiture or arrest.

  • Glass

    Glass is not allowed.

  • Hunting & Trapping

    Hunting and trapping are prohibited.

  • Open Hours

    Conservation park hours are 4am until one hour after sunset.

  • Plants

    All plants and animals are protected. Disturbance or removal requires written permission.

  • Trails

    Stay on and use designated trails only.

  • Trash & Recycling

    Place trash in container provided. Please take recyclable material home for proper disposal.