About the Town of Berry
Flip through scenes from Berry in the Photo Gallery!
The Town of Berry, a community of rural character and scenic charm, is located in northwest Dane County, Wisconsin, approximately 15 miles northwest of the state capital of Madison [see map, more Berry maps]. The town is bordered by many other villages and towns—including Cross Plains, Roxbury, Dane, Springfield, Middleton, Cross Plains, Vermont, Black Earth, and Mazomanie - and contains the unincorporated community of Marxville. The town participates in the Middleton-Cross Plains Area School District, the Wisconsin Heights School District, and the Sauk-Prarie School District. The Town of Berry landscape is defined by steep, wooded hillsides and verdant lowlands. In addition to residential and agricultural attractions, the town boasts Dane County's Festge Park and Indian Lake Park, the Town's Kahl Halfway Prairie Park, as well as several parts of the National Ice Age Trail. Nearly 1200 residents currently inhabit the Town of Berry. Although farming is the primary economic land use activity in Berry, roughly 75% of its residents lived in non-farm homes in 2008. Learn more about the Town of Berry's population trends and demographics in the Comprehensive Plan.
Residents enjoy the rural atmosphere of the Town. Active farming provides some of the basis for the rural character, along with plentiful rural open lands. The Town is split into two distinct areas. The eastern portion is glaciated, ground moraine, with a rolling topography. The western portion of the Town is characterized by a more rugged driftless topography. Numerous wooded hills provide ridgetop views and scenic vistas. Water resources—Indian Lake, Upper Black Earth Creek, Halfway Prairie Creek—add to the natural, rural character. Wildlife is abundant, finding shelter in the areas of oak woodland, fields, hillside prairies and wetlands along creeks.
Residents of the Town of Berry treasure the natural beauty of the area; that same beauty is proving attractive to prospective residents. Given the Town’s proximity to the Madison urban area and the recent improvements to U.S. Highway 12, unplanned growth over the next 20 years could gradually erode the Town’s rural character. In this context, planned development in a timely, orderly, and predictable manner is essential to preserving the Town’s farmland, protecting its woodlands and other natural features, avoiding land use conflicts, providing appropriate housing and employment opportunities, and protecting and improving on the Town’s rural heritage. (some text excerpted from Berry Comprehensive Plan)
Learn about the Town of Berry's history including notable historic buildings, connections to past wars, Native American history, and more on the History webpage.
Gorgeous ViewsThe town's location astraddle the edge of the Wisconsin glaciations has left impressive views across its rugged topography that can be caught driving down its winding roads, or seen en masse from atop Indian Lake County Park's hilltop trail. The hillsides are mostly wooded and provide fantastic scenery for a relaxing bike ride or drive, no matter the season. Many historic farm buildings and homes dot the landscape throughout the town. The views provide great painting or photographing opportunities for all artists.
RecreationBecause of its topography, the Town of Berry is popular among bicyclists and motorcyclists who ride through on many of the twisted and hilly highways in the area. Several organized rides, rallies and races pass through the town during the warmer seasons. A handful of parks lie within the Town of Berry that are popular among residents and visitors enjoy a wide variety of activities. At least two seasonal snowmobile trails run through the town. Black Earth Creek is touted as a "world class trout stream".
Festge Park and Salmo Pond [from the website]: Festge Park, located in the driftless (unglaciated) area of Dane County, offers a scenic view 100 feet above the Black Earth Creek Valley in the Town of Berry. Otto and Evelyn Festge generously donated the original acreage for this park. The entrance is located on Scherbel Road, one-and- one-half mile west of the Village of Cross Plains north of US Highway 14. The park contains 126 acres of beautifully wooded parkland with hiking trails winding through a mature stand of hickory and oak. Other features include three shelter facilities, softball field, play equipment, and shaded areas for family picnics. Future plans for Festge Park include development as a trail link into the Ice Age National Scenic Trail system. A natural history marker explains the area's glacial geology. Nearby Salmo Pond is adjacent to Black Earth Creek south of US Highway 14, offers shoreline fishing, an accessible fishing pier, and picnic areas.
Highlights: Wooded parkland, hiking trails, three shelters, softball field, playground equipment, shaded picnic area, historic marker, fishing/picnic sites at nearby Salmo Pond, Ice Age Trail connection
Ice Age Trail: Starting in Northwestern Dane County in the Lodi Marsh area, the Ice Age trail rambles through Dane County and the Town of Berry. Review an interactive map of the trail or visit the Ice Age Trail Dane County Chapter's website for more details on how you can enjoy the trail.
Indian Lake County Park [from the website]: The main entrance to Indian Lake Park is located in the town of Berry on Wisconsin Highway 19 about two miles west of US Highway 12. At 483 acres, Indian Lake is one of Dane County's largest parks. A winding trail leads to a historic chapel built in 1857, located on a hilltop that provides a breath taking view of the lake and surrounding valley. A trail has been developed around the entire lake, and miles of cross-country ski and nature trails in the wooded hills provide many recreational opportunities and access to a log cabin warming house. The park also has a pet exercise area located adjacent to the small boat launch off Wisconsin Highway 19 at the entrance on the west side of the lake. Boats using gas motors are prohibited on Indian Lake (electric motors allowed).
Highlights: Shelter w/ electricity, historic sites, picnic shelter, fishing, boat launch, skiing, hiking and snowmobile trails, dog exercise area, Ice Age Trail connection
Kahl Halfway Prairie Park: Kahl Halfway Prairie Park is a 3.4 acre multi-use park with a conservancy of native plants, a scrape pond for waterfowl, and wetland habitat. Amenities include paths through the park, benches, shelter and a playing field. Owned and managed by the Town of Berry, Kahl Halfway Prairie Park is located adjacent to the Town of Berry Town Hall. The park was developed and is maintained in large part by grants, gifts, and volunteer time of town residents.
Highlights: Reservable shelter, playing field, waterfowl viewing, prairie observing/plant identification, nature trail (see Town Services for reservation details for the field and shelter)
CommunityThe Town has a variety of activities and events that residents can enjoy throughout the year including annual gatherings like the Plant Swap. The Town also has a Backyard Garden Club with monthly outings and events to participate in. Keep an eye on the quarterly newsletter and the Town Calendar to keep abreast of new and upcoming events! Town meetings and hearings are also listed in the newsletter and on the calendar. Check out the Photo Gallery for more scenes from the Town.
CommerceA variety of local business call home to the Town of Berry including those with a focus on construction, maintenance and even local food production and sales. See the Town listing of local businesses for more information about local businesses.
Images of Festge Park provided by Gary Nelson.