Walk Lake Shore Preserve

  • July 12, 2017
  • 9:00 AM - 11:30 AM
  • Frautschi Pt. parking lot on Lake Mendota Drive
  • 11


  • This position functions independently for the success and well-being of the walk.
  • Leaders of the group
  • The member may register a guest.
  • Compensation for rainout of the Walk in Donald Park

Meet at the paved main lot on the east end of the lake, off of Sate Highway 19 at 9:30 AM.
Registration is closed

This walk will include a number of trails as we discover Frautschi Point and rediscover Picnic Point.  We will be led by two knowledgeable guides, Patricia Becker (PLATO & Friends Group) and Gisela Kutzbach (Friends Group), who will inform us about the native American and early European use of the land as well as the geology, watershed as we walk along Lake Mendota shoreline and adjoining woodland.

$10 Fee and Honorarium

PLATO charges a $10 fee for each walk.  We normally use a guide who is a member of the associated friends group.  PLATO then will pass this registration fee onto the friends group as a way of saying thanks.

What to Expect on the Walk

Quality of the Path/Walk

Length of Walk

The walk will be about a 3 mile walk.  The walk will take about 2.5 hours.  The length of the walk and the time it takes to complete the walk will depend on the informational stops we make along the way. 

Hill Rating

On a scale of 1 to 5, where 5 is very  steep, the trails are rated 2.5.  

Quality of trail footing

On a scale of 1 to 5 where 5 represents very difficult footing, the trails we will follow are rated a 2.0.

Walk Difficulty

A three mile walk along a several trails along mixed hilly and flat terrain.  There will be opportunities to shorten or lengthen the path, depending on group interests and abilities.

Handicap Accessibility?

The trails are not particularly handicap accessible.  They may be manageable with someone to assist you.  Please call me at 608 257-9164 to further evaluate the trails


Our leader will have a microphone along to assist in delivering her message clearly as possible.

Driving and Parking Information will be emailed the week of the walk.  

We will use the Frautschi Parking lot to start our walk. This will allow us to start at the top of the hill and walk downhill at picnic point.  We will leave a few cars at Picnic Point to return people to their cars.

Highlights of the Walk

Native Americans and the Preserve

For more than 12,000 years, Native peoples have lived on the land that is today the UW-Madison campus. Evidence of this long human occupation is inscribed all across the campus landscape. Earthen burial mounds, including unique effigy forms constructed over 1000 years ago, can be visited in several parts of the Preserve. Learn about the more than 40 archaeological sites across campus.


In the Madison of 50,000 years ago, the Yahara River flowed sweetly at the bottom of a steep river valley perhaps as much as 600 feet deep. Resilient sandstone layers formed extensive ledges and spring fed streams issued from limestone caves to cascade to the river far below. Incredibly, a natural event of unimaginable scale literally wiped this entire ecosystem from the face of the Earth—glaciers.


 geology map of Dane County


Hydrology and hydrologic process within and around the Preserve greatly influence the quality and health of its diverse biotic communities. Additionally, the Willow Creek Watershed—which is much larger than most people realize—has a substantial impact on the quality of water in Willow Creek and University Bay.

 Willow Creek watershed map


Prairies are grasslands dominated by native grasses associated with a diverse assemblage of flowering herbaceous plants known as forbs. UW-Madison's Biocore Program has been carrying out tallgrass prairie restoration in the Preserve in the field between Picnic Point and the Eagle Heights Community Gardens since 1997.

 prescribed fire in Biocore Prairie


Wetlands have water at or just above the surface of the soil for much if not all of the year. Known for a distinctive set of plants, wetlands support a wide variety of animals, and provide essential services such as flood and stormwater abatement and water quality management. The Preserve has two major natural wetlands—Picnic Point Marsh and University Bay Marsh—as well as a wetland restoration, the Class of 1918 Marsh.

 sandhill cranes in Class of 1918 Marsh


The Woods in the Preserve typify the broadleaf forest common to relatively moist, upland sites in southern Wisconsin. You'll find a common set of tree species occupying the overstory throughout the woods, but the relative abundance of each varies with slope and aspect (the direction the slope faces). Common species include Bur oak, White oak, Northern red oak, Shagbark hickory, Slippery elm, Hackberry, White ash, Black cherry and Basswood.


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For more info about PLATO contact:

PLATO Office Operations, ATTN: Edie or Louise
c/o UW-Madison Continuing Studies
21 N. Park St, 7th Floor, Madison, WI 53715

Email: info@platomadison.org
Phone: 608-262-5823
Fax: 608-265-4555

PLATO is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization

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