Dane County, with the state capital of Madison at its center, is Wisconsin's fastest growing county. In 2001, 4,887 single family housing units in the county sold at a median price of $163,100. By 2004, the median price had risen to $200,900. Completing the Ice Age Trail, a thousand-mile foot path that Congress has designated one of the eight National Scenic Trails, through the County is becoming increasingly difficult as property values continue to climb. Key natural resources of the county that are under threat of development include significant prairie and oak savanna remnants, outstanding water resources and unique geologic landforms.
The Swamplovers partnership is set up to not only record a permanent conservation easement on the property, but also to properly manage its natural resources, especially its fire-dependent prairie and savanna species, in perpetuity. Beginning in 2006, the public will be able to hike the Ice Age Trail across the property while the landowners retain fee title ownership -- requiring a delicate balancing act of public use, private property and unique resource preservation.