Dane County Executive Parisi Announces Improvements to Morton County Forest

March 01, 2018
Stephanie Miller: 608-267-8823
County Executive

Dane County Executive Joe Parisi announced today the popular Morton County Forest in the Town of Black Earth will see improvements this year. Improvements will include parking lot paving and striping, a new handicap accessible vault toilet, replacement of a metal roof on a garage and expansion of the scenic overlooks. Mr. Morton donated an additional  $48,000 for improvements to Morton Forest in 2018. 


“Dane County has some of the most beautiful county parks in the nation,” said Dane County Executive Joe Parisi. “I want to thank Steve Morton for his generosity that will allow our residents to enjoy this outstanding resource for generations to come.  I have visited the forest a number of times over the last year and have come to cherish the views and the tranquility of site.”  


The forest is named after Stephen Morton who donated the 114 acre property to Dane County Parks in 1999 with a life estate. The forest was opened to the public in the fall of 2016. Morton Forest is located at 5169 Reeve Road, 2.5 miles south of Mazomaine. The forest has hilly terrain with scenic rock outcroppings; classic characteristics of the Driftless Area. From one of the overlooks, you can see all the way to Blue Mound, the highest point in southern Wisconsin.


Steve Morton has created a $280,000 permanent endowment for Morton Forest through the Madison Community Foundation. The fund will help cover the annual operations cost for the Forest approximately $10,000 annually. In addition Stephen Morton created a Capital Pass Through Account at the Madison Community Foundation that has helped Dane County improve the   access, trail system and scenic overlooks at the Forest.  He also donated $15,000 for two timber frame shelters for the overlooks.


The Morton County Forest features: trails, scenic overlooks include timber frame shelters with seating, a small parking lot, a nature center for outdoor education or special events.  It’s a great destination for hiking, snowshoeing, cross country skiing, wildlife observation and foraging.


A resolution formalizing this donation to the county will be accepted at the County Board tonight and improvements should be complete this summer.