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

Streambank Easements

Since 2007, funds have been available in the Dane County budget to purchase streambank easements along Tier I streams -- see definition in Dane County Parks & Open Space Plan. Streambank easements typically extend 33 feet from the streambank and are open to public fishing, hiking, and wildlife observation.

Priority has been given to streams that have been restored or enhanced through an existing conservation program and to those that offer the highest fishing potential and would benefit from increased permanent public access. The majority of these streams are located within the unglaciated Driftless Area of Dane County which is known for its excellent trout fishing opportunities and beautiful scenery. View the Maps and Public Access Rights & Restrictions sections below to learn more.

Trout Unlimited, Badger Fly Fishers, Dane County Conservation League, Groundswell, and the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources have contributed greatly to the program’s success and ability to leverage County dollars. Dane County is working with these organizations to provide native trees for planting along these streams where stream restoration activities have taken place. Visit the following webpages to learn more about:


Click on the interactive online map linked below to view the streambank easements with public access in Dane County.

In addition, maps are also available for the following streambank easements:

Public Access Rights & Restrictions

Streambank easements allow for public access to fish, hike, cross-country ski, snowshoe, observe wildlife, and enjoy scenic beauty. This access is subject to the following restrictions:

  • Limited to persons traveling on foot, skis, or snowshoes.                       
  • Limited to the period beginning one hour before sunrise and ending one hour after sunset.
  • No personal property may be placed, stored, or maintained by the public on any portion of the easement.
  • No public hunting or trapping is allowed, except with permission from the landowner.
  • No camping or campfires are permitted by the public.
  • Additional restrictions on the time or manner of public use may apply.