November 6, 2012
EAGLE, Wis. -- The public will be able to begin using the entire Mukwonago River Unit of the Kettle Moraine State Forest - the former Rainbow Springs Golf Course property -- when the Department of Natural Resources opens the northern half, or Waukesha County portion, on Saturday, Nov. 10. The south half of the 970-acre parcel located in Walworth Country has been open to the public since the fall of 2008.
Opening the north half provides an additional 550 acres of state land for a range of outdoor recreational activities including hunting, trapping, fishing, hiking, wildlife viewing and cross-country skiing/snowshoeing in close proximity to the large population of southeastern Wisconsin.
"Many people are eager to get on the property to explore and enjoy it," says Paul Sandgren, southern Kettle Moraine State Forest superintendent, who has received a number of questions over the last couple of years about opening the remainder of the parcel.
Access to the parcel will be by pedestrian means only. There are currently parking lots located on Highway E near the Walworth/Waukesha county line and Highway J near Stringers Bridge Road. Visitors will also be allowed to park at the entrance to the former golf course off of Highway LO. The gates at these access points will remain closed and no motor vehicle use will be permitted on the interior of the property.
In addition to the Mukwonago Unit, outdoor enthusiasts have many other opportunities in the vicinity. Just across Highway E to the west is the Lulu Lake State Natural Area, which is more than 800 acres, and the 21,000-acre Kettle Moraine State Forest - Southern Unit, most of which is open to hunting and other outdoor activities, is only a few miles to the west, Sandgren said.
Hunters should be aware of the fact that local town ordinances prohibit the use of rifles larger than .22 caliber in the Waukesha portion of the property. The Walworth County portion does not have a similar ordinance in place.
The Rainbow Spring property was purchased using funds from the state's Knowles-Nelson Stewardship Fund. The northern portion of the property was initially leased to the previous owner for two years and has recently remained closed while a number of buildings that were safety hazards were demolished and other site restoration work was completed.
The entire 970 acres of the Rainbow Springs property will become part of the Mukwonago River Unit of the Kettle Moraine State Forest and the Department of Natural Resources will begin work on developing a master plan for the unit in December 2012. The master plan will determine the eventual uses that will be permitted and what facilities will be developed on the property.
Additional information can be obtained by calling the Kettle Moraine State Forest Headquarters at 262-594-6200.
FOR MORE INFORMATION CONTACT: Paul Sandgren, 262-594-6204