The Park Master Plan Process

The Big Plan

Dane County's park system is guided by the Dane County Parks & Open Space Plan, which is updated every five years.  Most parks follow a master plan, which is created by Parks Division staff, with input from the surrounding communities, and the general public.

The Friends Group Model

Many Dane County parks have a "friends" group ( Friends of Silverwood Park, for example) which serves as a resource for park development and maintenance, and a stakeholder group for the County to consult with about the park's uses and direction.

Silverwood is Unique

The development of Silverwood Park is a unique undertaking for Dane County because the donor of the park land, Irene Silverwood, specified that the park remain a farm and be dedicated to agricultural education.  Education programming and facilities for Silverwood Park require strong community backing and a grand vision with a plan for long-term support.

Laying the Groundwork

The Friends of Silverwood Park's (FOSP) Board members and  other volunteers believe the development of the park must be flexible and visionary enough to allow Silverwood to achieve the potential that so many people comment about when they visit the Silverwood farm.  To that end, FOSP wrote recommendations,  submitted in 2014, which included the list of  principles below:

Guiding Principles

Those recommendations included six points FOSP believes should be observed during the development of Silverwood Park:

  • Education as the Guiding Principle
  • Conservation During Development
  • Sustainability as a Central Component
  • Weaving the Arts, History and Culture into the Park
  • Recreation with an Emphasis on Health
  • Wild Space as Planned Space

Master Plan Process

The Silverwood Park Master Plan was approved by the Dane County Board in September 2016.  The plan is a result of a 2.5 -year process that included public meetings, negotiations and lots of brainstorming.

Implementation of the plan rests with you, the community,  and Friends of Silverwood Park.

NOTE: The illustrations above were provided by Dimension IV Madison Design Group

as a donation to the Friends of Silverwood Park.

An Atmosphere for Learning Well

Silverwood Park can also be an introduction to positive change and a place for germination of new ideas.  To that end, the park may include sleeping cabins or a dormitory for students and teachers who may benefit from overnight visits.

Research for Our Future Needs

Greenhouse facilities and other research components at Silverwood Park  will serve as hands-on teaching tools for visitors and return/long-term students who plan to create sustainable livelihoods in Dane County...and elsewhere.

Agricultural Education in Context

Silverwood Park will someday have an education facility that can be used by beginning farmers, job trainees, school children and the general public.  The park will be an intersection of resources and disciplines for public benefit.

What is FOSP's primary focus for Silverwood Park ?

"Agricultural education is at the heart of what will make this a unique County Park. The FOSP as well as the other participating groups are expected to promote agricultural education and related activities with the cooperation of Dane County Parks.
Potential educational programming
topics may include soil science, etymology, forestry, water quality, ornithology, history, archeology, art, writing, crafts, health and wellness

page 28, "Programming Vision,"

Silverwood Park Master Plan, 2016

Park Planning

Help Us Create Silverwood Park

Silverwood Park

Wisconsin's regenerative Agriculture Classroom

See the Master Plan  (go to Dane County site)