Where Do My Donations Go?

Information about donation opportunities for Dane County Parks.

Dane County Volunteer Program Account

The Dane County Volunteer Program Account supports park volunteers and will be used to benefit and support the VolunteerProgram. Volunteers play an integral role in the management of the county parks system. Donations will help pay for project planning, equipment, and supplies and materials used by the park volunteers. Projects include prairie, wetland and forest restoration, seed collections, invasive species removal and the building and maintaining of park trails and other recreational facilities. Volunteers also conduct historical research, archeological studies, as well as educational and interpretive programs. ACT is managed by Rhea Stangel-Maier, Volunteer Coordinator, and Wayne Pauly, Park Naturalist.

  • The Volunteer Program began in the 1980s, and was formalized in the early 1990s with the establishment of a Volunteer Coordinator and the ATC Program. It has grown to well over 1,400 volunteers working annually throughout the county and is recognized as one of the leading Park Volunteer programs in the nation.
  • Dane County Parks averages approximately 25,000 – 27,000 volunteer hours annually.

Donations will also help cover:

Volunteer Training

  • Chainsaw Operation Certification – Forest Industry Training Council
  • Pesticide Applicators License – UW Extension – WI Dept of Agriculture Trade and Consumer Protection
  • Trail Building Workshops
  • Invasive Species Identification and Best Management Practices
  • Hand and Power Equipment Safety Training – Dane County Risk Management

Tools and Equipment

  • Tool trailers, hand tools, power tools, utility vehicles, tractors, mowers

Supplies and Materials

  • Posts and lumber, gravel, stone, seed, erosion control materials, and paint

Friends of Dane County Parks Endowment Fund

The Friends of Dane County Parks Endowment Fund is a permanent charitable fund that is managed by the Madison Community Foundation (MCF).  MCF will distribute earning from the Endowment to Dane County Parks every year to support education interpretation and volunteer opportunities in the Dane County Park System and ensure that the funds are used properly.


Memorials provide an opportunity to donate to the Parks in remembrance of your loved ones. Donations can be made towards the installation and maintenance of a bench or an informational kiosk. These display a plaque with the name for whom they have been donated. If you wish to make a more anonymous memorial you can purchase a tree or prairie planting. Please contact Dane County Parks at (608) 224-3766 to discuss the option that is right for you.

Donation Webpage

Park Enhancement Fund

The Park Enhancement Fund updates and improves public use areas throughout the County Parks. Donations will be used to supplement maintenance and operation funds to update park facilities with new and improved amenities. Public use areas may include:

  • Trails:
    • Biking/Pedestrian
    • Mt Bike
    • Hiking (including the Ice Age National Scenic Trail)
    • Equestrian (over 20 miles of trails)
    • Snowmobile (the County supports 500 miles of trails)
    • Water (canoe and kayak trails)
  • Dog Exercise Areas
  • Lake Access Sites (boating and fishing facilities)
  • Disc Golf
  • Playgrounds
  • County Wildlife Areas
  • Upland Prairie Oak Savanna and Wetland Restoration