Friends of Donald Park


2015 Final Report: Using a gear-driven rotary tiller to recondition rough, eroded trails in Donald County Park

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2013 Final Report: Five Environmentally-Themed Interpretive Panels at Donald County Park

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Maintaining Natural Areas and Trails - 2012

2012 Dane County Environmental Council Capital Equipment Grants:
Final Report, Friends of Donald Park, for $2,000.00 (riding mower purchase) and $584.00 (pole saw purchase)

The Friends of Donald Park is deeply appreciative of the support received from two 2012 Dane County Environmental Council Capital Equipment Program grants. These grants provided funding for the purchase of two key pieces of equipment---a riding mower and a pole saw---that play a critical role in enabling our Natural Areas volunteer group to perform their work safely and efficiently.

In an agreement with Dane County Parks, the Friends Natural Areas volunteers group is responsible for maintaining all hiking trails within Donald Park (now totaling more than 2.5 miles). Thanks to these two grants, we now have a good-quality sit down mower to keep these trails regularly mowed and a pole saw, to remove difficult-to-reach overhead branches as needed. In addition, the mower allows us to keep open the two-acre area around the apple grove at the historic cabin foundation site. This site is the focus of a long-term Friends archaeology project. In the near future, interpretive features will be installed here to enhance public appreciation of the site’s history and uses. The mower is also being used to clear the ground around trail signs and the 26 houses on the bluebird trail.

Cost of the riding mower cost was $2,699, with the grant covering $2,000.00 and the Friends paying the balance of $699. The pole saw cost $584, which was entirely covered through the grant. From May 1 through October 2012, Natural Areas volunteers worked nearly 1,000 hours, with between six and thirteen people attending each weekly Tuesday workday. This number far exceeds the 255 hours listed as match in the riding mower grant proposal, and the 60 hours of match in the pole saw grant proposal. The value of this contributed labor, at the rate of $10.75 per hour, is $10,750.00. The number one focus of the group during this period was always making sure hiking trails were mowed and any obstructions removed. The group spent many hours clearing trees and brush from the apple grove, as well as in a new focus area, for a proposed short trail and look-out site to the west of Sutter Drive. In addition, from May through October, work included removal and spraying of invasive plants in the prairies, moving picnic tables from storage in early May and returning them to storage in late October, planting a new four-acre prairie with Wayne Pauly, helping with archaeological digs at the cabin site and third grader field trips to the park, treating poison ivy along the trails and burning brush piles. The volunteers regularly checked all trails to identify areas where work was needed, and did regular repairs and maintenance on all equipment now owned by the program.

The Natural Areas Volunteers program is an on-going program of the Friends of Donald Park. The mower and pole saw purchased through these grants will continue to be used well beyond the timeframe specified in the grant proposal. We are deeply grateful to the Dane County Environmental Council for their support in ensuring that we can provide excellent, effective equipment to our dedicated volunteers in their extensive and ongoing work at Donald County Park.

Sincerely,

Donna Thomas
Friends of Donald Park Board Member and
Project Contact Person
608-835-8549

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