Lakeshore Nature Preserve Master Plan Update

The Draft Final Lakeshore Nature Preserve Master Plan is awaiting final approval.  

View Draft Master Plan

This project will update the 2006 Master Plan for the UW-Madison Lakeshore Nature Preserve.

This 300 acres is situated on Ho-Chunk ancestral lands and stretches along four miles of Lake Mendota shoreline from the Limnology Building to the Village of Shorewood Hills. The Preserve attracts more than eighty research and teaching projects annually and supports the University’s mission of teaching, research and outreach in countless ways and is a respite to many.

This planning process provides the opportunity to review the Preserve’s infrastructure, land use, broad land management strategies, and protection of its distinctive natural, cultural, and educational features. Taking an updated look at the needs and opportunities of the Preserve will lead to prioritized recommendations for the next ten years.

The master planning process steps generally include:

  • Setting planning goals
  • Reiterating the mission, vision, and guiding principles
  • Inventory and analysis of the existing facility conditions of both land and amenities
  • Inventory and analysis of land uses,
  • Identify issues/needs and opportunities,
  • Provide draft plan and final plan documents for public review,
  • Engagement of stakeholders throughout the planning process.

Planning Goals for Master Plan Update:

  • Create clear ecological direction – based on science, traditional knowledge, and adaptive management.
  • Prioritize the many facility and management needs.
  • Demonstrate how the Preserve is integral to the University’s teaching, research, and outreach mission.
  • Enhance the welcoming feeling of the Preserve.
  • Include diverse perspectives in the process.
  • Understand and make recommendations for the Preserve that are relevant to its setting on an urban campus. 

Core Values and Guiding Principles:

Core Values (we believe in…)

Guiding Principles (therefore we will…)

  1. Education and Research
    1. Provide students, volunteers, interns, the university, and larger campus community opportunities for teaching, research, and experiential learning in an outdoor setting.
    2. Share stories of the Preserve lands, it’s natural and cultural histories, and its management and care through multiple world views.
    3. Foster an understanding of the intrinsic value of nature and communicate the ecosystem services provided by healthy functioning landscapes.
  2. Access, Engagement, Collaboration
    1. Engage with UW-Madison students, staff, and faculty to promote use of the Preserve in line with its mission and vision.
    2. Provide a welcoming setting for respite, wellness, and low impact recreation with consideration for safety, ease of navigation, and a quiet/peaceful user experience.
    3. Balance the provision of appropriate facilities for reasonable use and access for all with the cultural, ecological, and aesthetic integrity of the site.
    4. Promote a culture of inclusion.
  3. Ecologically Sound Management
    1. Utilize scientific, indigenous, and local knowledge to guide restoration and management.
    2. Build diverse natural communities and ecological resilience through a diversity of management approaches and be adaptive to what is learned over time as we face a changing climate.
    3. Recognizing the Preserve’s setting in an urban context, deep indigenous history, and wide use for education & research, address the associated challenges and opportunities as a model approach for others to follow.
  4. Respect
    1. Respect this place as ancestral Ho-Chunk land.
    2. Respect the sensitive natural and cultural areas within the Preserve.
    3. Promote an ethic of care and respect for the health of the land and the life which it supports.

Stakeholder/Public Sessions 

To develop a master plan that best serves the University and community, surveys and stakeholder input collected during the Preserve Strategic Plan will be reviewed and coupled with public engagement.

Currently three public sessions are planned to be in a hybrid of in-person/online arrangement and include the opportunity for online remarks.

PUBLIC SESSION #1, November 30, 2021 | 6:00 pm at Memorial Union: present and collect comments on draft goals and guiding principles, existing conditions, issues, needs and opportunities.

Note: The interactive map and the public input survey are no longer available for input. If you have comments to share, please send email to

PUBLIC SESSION #2, April 26, 2022 | 7:00 pm at Memorial Union: present and collect comments on draft recommendations developed in response to public engagement session #1, site analysis, staff and committee input; also collect comments on prioritization criteria.

PUBLIC SESSION #3, November 17, 2022 | 7:00pm at Memorial Union, TITU: present final draft recommendations.


(Comment period closed.)

View Draft Master Plan

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Preserve Mission & Vision


The Lakeshore Nature Preserve shelters natural environments and cultural resources through active learning, research, and outreach in a place of respite and well-being.


To foster biodiversity on campus and cultivate lifelong environmental engagement.


Total Project Costs $105,000
Funding Source:
Gift/Grant $105,000


Background/Context 09/2021
Inventory/Analysis 09-10/2021
Planning Framework 10/2021
Public Session 1 11/2021
Issues/Opportunities 11/2021
Draft Recommendations & Prioritization 02/2022
Public Session 2 04/2022
Draft Master Plan Report 10/2022
Public Session 3 10/2022
Final Report 11/2022

Project Team

Occupants Campus Community
User Reps Gary Brown, Laura Wyatt
UW PM Rhonda James
UW System Maura Donnelly
Engagement A/E Urban Assets


Users of the Preserve:

  • Current & former permit holders
  • Students, Staff, Faculty
  • UW-Madison Alumni
  • Madison & Shorewood Hills community members
  • UW-Madison Eagle Heights & U Houses community members
  • Outdoor UW
  • Eagle Heights & University Houses Community Gardens
  • CALS research plot users
  • F.H. King Students for Sustainable Agriculture
  • Greenhouse Learning Community
  • Aaron Bird Bear, UW-Madison Director Tribal Relations
  • Ho-Chunk Nation – Bill Quackenbush, Tribal Historic Preservation Officer and Nehomah Thundercloud, Executive Director Tribal Education Department, and representative on Native Nations-UW Tribal Advisory
  • UW-Madison Physical Plant – Grounds

Special Interest Groups:

  • Indigenous Place Making task group – Dan Cornelius, Omar Polar, Catherine Reiland
  • Wisconsin Historical Society archaeological staff


  • Friends of the Preserve Board
  • Wisconsin Foundation & Alumni Association
  • Preserve donors
  • Preserve volunteers and volunteer stewards
  • FP&M Physical Plant (Waste & Recycling, Custodial, Grounds)
  • UW-Madison Police Department
  • FP&M Transportation Services
  • UW-Madison Arboretum

UW Groups:

  • Allen Centennial Garden
  • Botany Garden
  • UW School of Veterinary Medicine
  • UW Child Care & Family Resources
  • UW Office of Sustainability-Jake McCulloch
  • UW-Madison Recreation & Wellbeing Leadership
  • UW-Madison Housing leadership
  • Wisconsin Union Leadership
  • UW-Madison Athletics
  • UW-Madison UWell program (UHS/OHR)
  • UW-Madison Hospital Wellness staff
  • FP&M Wellness Committee
  • School of Medicine and Public Health, Nursing, Pharmacy

UW-Madison Student Focused related Groups:

  • Associated Students of Madison (ASM)
  • UW-Madison Multicultural Student Center
  • UW-Madison Ctr for Leadership & Development
  • (including Registered Student Organizations)
  • UW-Madison Div. of Diversity, Equity & Ed Achievement
  • WunkSheek, UW-Madison indigenous students’ group
  • UW-Madison Social Sustainability Coalition

UW-Madison Governance Groups:

  • Faculty Senate/University Committee
  • Academic Staff Assembly
  • University Staff Congress
  • Joint Campus Area Committee
  • Campus Planning Committee


  • Groundswell Wisconsin
  • Clean Lakes Alliance
  • Madison Audubon Society

Have a thought or question about the Lakeshore Nature Preserve for the project team?

Send email to