Seal of Dane County County of Dane
Dane County Land & Water Resources Department

Dane County Executive Parisi Cuts Ribbon at 140-Acre Joyce M. Baer & George J. Socha Nature Conservancy

May 14, 2021
Ariana Vruwink
County Executive, Land & Water Resources, Land & Water Resources

Land Generously Donated by Joyce M. Baer & George J. Socha Now Includes Parking Lot & Hiking Trail


Today, Dane County Executive Joe Parisi joined Dane County Parks staff and community members to cut the ribbon on the Joyce M. Baer & George J. Socha Nature Conservancy. The land was donated to the county in 2007 with a life estate and was turned over to Dane County in 2019. With a small parking area and hiking trail recently developed, visitors can now experience the conservancy’s solitude and beautiful setting along the Maunesha River.


“This is a great addition to our Dane County Park System. I want to thank George Socha and his late partner Joyce Baer for their incredibly generous donation of land,” said Dane County Executive Joe Parisi. “Containing over a mile of the Maunesha River and several drumlins dotting its landscape, this conservancy will offer residents ample opportunities to enjoy Dane County’s natural resources for many years.”


The 140-acre conservancy offers quiet, nature-based outdoor activities such as hiking, canoeing, bird watching and foraging for nuts, berries and mushrooms. Future enhancements will include a canoe landing, additional hiking trails, pedestrian bridges, a second parking lot and prairie and woodland restorations. 


“We understood that land is a limited resource and wanted to give everyone the opportunity to experience our land. We want it to be here forever for people to visit, appreciate nature, wander in the woods and marshlands and see all the wildlife here,” said George Socha.


The conservancy is located at 5784 Cherry Ln., about 2 miles east of the Village of Marshall and 3 miles west of Waterloo, within Dane County’s Maunesha River Natural Resource Area. To learn more, visit the property webpage at