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Olin Park
Address:
1156 Olin-Turville Court

Hours: 4:00am - 10:00pm
Park Type: Community
Acres: 47.12
Restroom: Yes
Drinking Water: Yes
Shoreline On: Lake Monona & Wingra Creek

Delivering an illuminating view of the heart of Madison, located right on the edge of Lake Monona, there is no wondering why Olin Park is such a popular place!  Not only is it a home for a number of large community events, but the newly restored historic pavilion provides a memorable place to celebrate your own events such as weddings, family reunions, or company picnics.  There are an abundance of recreational outlets for the entire family such as a soccer field, baseball diamond, walking paths, and playground equipment.  Swim or soak up some sun on the welcoming beach, take an enjoyable jog on the trail, or go biking through the park and up and around the Capitol.  Adjacent to Olin Park is an expansive Turville Point Park, the conservatory park, where you can relish in a majestic nature walk, go cross-country skiing, or hiking.  It is easy to retreat to Olin Park with its central location and convenience to the Beltline, Capital City and Wingra bike trails, bus routes, and a boat launch.  Olin Park reflects the true beauty of downtown Madison day or night, all seasons of the year, and with any mode of transportation.

Intensive management of the turf under oaks creates some challenges for the trees' continued survival.  Shallow-rooted turf grass competes with oaks for the water and nutrients necessary for healthy growth.  Over time, organic matter in the soil declines and soil compaction increases.  This reduces the amount of oxygen, needed by the tree roots, in the soil.  Soil compaction also leads to more water running off the land instead of being soaked up by the soil.  Lastly, the frequent mowing precludes any natural regeneration from the existing oaks.

It was because of these concerns that we developed a "managed meadow" on a portion of Olin Park several years ago.  The area has been mowed once annually in the fall under this oak grove.  Within a year, new oak seedlings appeared in this area through natural reseeding from the "mother" trees.  We selected and marked some of these oak seedlings and protected them from mowing to allow them to become the next generation of oaks.

In the spring of 2003, more "managed meadow" areas were created in Olin Park.  The Parks Staff goal is to enhance growing conditions for the remaining oaks. 

Parks staff has overseeded into the existing turf grass a mix of 25 native forbs and 13 grasses/sedges.  These deep-rooted native species will loosen the soil over time and allow better rainfall infiltration.  They will also help increase organic matter content in the soil. 

These areas are mowed annually in late July or early August.  Mow height will be 4 to 6 inches.  Native species that bloom in spring or fall were chosen so that they could survive under this type of mowing regime.  This gives the plants enough time to successfully set seed to perpetuate and spread throughout the site. 

Parks staff hopes that in time these "managed meadows" will resemble the park environment that the public once enjoyed when the park was first established.