According to a press release from the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources, they have made a significant expansion at the Princes Point Wildlife Area in Jefferson County. This latest development includes the acquisition of an additional 1,830 acres of land, effectively doubling the size of the existing state property, which is situated just 3 miles northeast of Whitewater.

Credit: Wisconsin DNR
Credit: Wisconsin DNR

The acquired land is currently being utilized as a muck farm (wetland area drained to farm), but the DNR has plans to transform it into a thriving wildlife habitat. To facilitate the transformation, the property will initially be closed to the public, allowing for the various wetland restoration projects. These projects are scheduled to commence in late 2023 and are expected to conclude by 2025. Once completed, the DNR intends to provide safe public access to the expanded wildlife area, offering recreational activities such as waterfowl hunting, paddling, and birdwatching.

The centerpiece of the restoration effort will be the restoration of natural hydrology on the property. Four impoundments will be constructed, allowing habitat managers to control water levels independently in each one. These restoration projects are being carried out in collaboration with Ducks Unlimited (DU), thanks to a contract with the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS). The funding for these initiatives will come from Pittman-Robertson dollars, federal funds generated through taxes on firearm and ammunition sales, which are earmarked exclusively for wildlife management projects.

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Princes Point Wildlife Area's strategic location places it between Madison and Milwaukee, making it easily accessible to around 4 million Wisconsin residents within an hour's drive. This acquisition not only benefits wildlife but also provides additional public land and recreational opportunities for a significant portion of the state's population. The property's natural features, including the Scuppernong River, Spring Creek, and Steel Brook, will offer multiple boat and canoe launches, as well as miles of walkable gravel-topped berms for visitors to explore.

For those interested in staying updated on the progress of the restoration project and the official opening date to the public, the Princes Point Wildlife Area webpage will serve as a valuable resource. Furthermore, Wisconsin residents seeking more hunting and recreational opportunities in their vicinity can refer to the DNR state wildlife areas by county webpage.

This acquisition and restoration project represents a substantial investment in preserving natural habitats and providing recreational opportunities for the residents of Wisconsin. It signifies a commitment to both conservation and public enjoyment of the state's diverse natural landscapes.

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