|Address:||7214 Longmeadow Rd.|
|Hours:||4:00am - dusk|
Stricker's Pond on Madison's west side is one of many local landscape features created during the most recent phase of glaciation. Roughly ten thousand years ago, a block of ice was buried in the earth as the glacier receded. When the ice later melted, a "kettle" formed in the void and filled with water, creating a wetland with no natural outlet. Historically, water levels in the pond would vary from year to year, depending on surface runoff, evaporation, and seepage. Emergent aquatic plants would fill the shallows during periods of low water and would be replaced by open water when water levels rose. Old aerial photos show that with low water levels, the pond looked more like a marsh, with only a small amount of open water in the center. This dynamic natural cycle provided food and shelter for diverse invertebrate and wildlife communities.
Park HighlightsOn the bright side, Stricker's Pond still provides a habitat for a variety of birds, turtles, and frogs. Herons and other wading birds stalk the shores and migrating warblers feed in the canopies of mature oaks surrounding the pond. In spring and fall, large numbers of migrating waterfowl visit the pond. Viewing opportunities are excellent due to the extensive trail system along the pond's perimeter. The conservation park features an 0.8-mile gravel trail that begins at a paved bike trail off Longmeadow Road in Madison and continues northward into the adjacent City of Middleton parkland. These trails are all very popular for walking, jogging, and bird watching.
Land ManagementIn 2018, City of Madison Conservation staff began systematically clearing invasive shrubs (honeysuckle, common buckthorn, and European highbush cranberry) in the adjacent uplands in order to begin restoring a diverse assemblage of grasses, sedges, and wildflowers associated with oak woodland. The increased light levels may also allow a new generation of oaks to replace the aging oaks already in the canopy. This effort builds on years of earlier volunteer work aimed at reducing buckthorn seed production and diminishing the presence of other exotic flowers and vines. Future restoration efforts will continue the work of clearing invasive shrubs and establishing healthy understory vegetation. Other recent improvements include resurfacing of the gravel trail and installation of a new footbridge in 2017.
Excess nutrient input, leaf management, road salt application, and the ever-increasing threat posed by intense rain events remain difficult challenges, but both municipalities are working to restore native plant and animal communities in and around the ponds to the extent possible. We may not be able to restore these natural systems to pristine conditions, but through active stewardship, we can improve them to the benefit of both people and wildlife.
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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 is prohibited in all conservation parks.
Bicycles & Motor Vehicles
Bicycles and motor vehicles are restricted to entrance roads and parking lots.
Dogs and horses are not allowed.
Fires and picnics are prohibited.
No firearms or weapons are permitted in the restrooms or shelters. Violators are considered trespassers and subject to forfeiture or arrest.
Glass is not allowed.
Hunting & Trapping
Hunting and trapping are prohibited.
Conservation park hours are 4am until one hour after sunset.
All plants and animals are protected. Disturbance or removal requires written permission.
Stay on and use designated trails only.
Trash & Recycling
Place trash in container provided. Please take recyclable material home for proper disposal.