Seal of Dane County County of Dane
County Executive's Office

County to Name Sugar River Wildlife Area in Honor of Former Dane County Executive Kathleen Falk, Chief of Staff Topf Wells

March 07, 2014
Casey Slaughter Becker, Office of the County Executive 608.267.8823 or cell 608.843.8858
County Executive

Falk, Wells’ Work to Increase Public Access to Natural Resources Spans Decades


The county is proposing naming hundreds of picturesque acres along the Sugar River recently acquired from the Bruce Company in honor of Former Dane County Executive Kathleen Falk and her then Chief of Staff, Topf Wells, Dane County Executive Parisi and State Representative and County Board Supervisor Dianne Hesselbein announced today.


Pending final approval by the Dane County Board, the area would be known as the Falk Wells Sugar River Wildlife Area. Hesselbein authored and introduced the resolution authorizing the naming at the Thursday, March 6thmeeting of the Dane County Board of Supervisors.


“Kathleen Falk and Topf Wells have a personal and professional dedication to preserving and increasing public access to the county’s natural resources that spans decades,” said Parisi. “I can’t think of a better way to honor the contribution they’ve made to Dane County’s lakes, land, outdoor recreation, and future generations.”


“Kathleen and Topf championed preserving important Dane County natural spaces for public use,” said Hesselbein. “Naming this area in their honor recognizes the value of their efforts to all Dane County citizens, now and in the future.”


Kathleen Falk served as Dane County Executive from 1997 through 2011. Her time in office included a series of initiatives focused on land use and environmental protection. In 1999, she supported an open space referendum that allowed the County to increase protection and preserve public access to properties identified in the Dane County Parks & Open Space Plan.


Topf Wells served as Chief of Staff to Falk from 1998 through 2011.  One of his many responsibilities included oversight of land preservation efforts by the county. He also led the development of a streambank easement program that has resulted in over 18 miles of public access to world-renown trout streams in Dane County.


Outside of their time in county government, both Falk and Wells have made valuable personal and professional contributions that have helped protect Dane County and Wisconsin’s environment, and expanded public outdoor recreational opportunities.


Last year, the county reached an agreement with the Bruce Company to acquire and permanently preserve 466 acres of prime riverfront along the Sugar River in southwestern Dane County.

The nearly 2.5 miles of Sugar River that flows through the property is known for excellent trout fishing – a recent assessment by the DNR noted numerous species of fish in this stretch of river. The Natural Heritage Land Trust assisted the County with the purchase.

In addition to water recreation like canoeing and fishing, the property also offers great promise for hiking, and other outdoor activities for the public to enjoy.


# # #

Back to Press Releases