Lake Mendota: Access and Recreational Opportunities in a Wisconsin Urban Lake
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Lake Mendota is a significant natural resource in the Madison area, but access varies relative to location. Viewing lake access as a finite community resource, we attempted to gauge public access and recreation of Lake Mendota and pinpoint what inhibits lake utilization. We produced an online survey that was dispersed to the UW Madison community that attempted to find where and how people interacted with Lake Mendota. We also physically surveyed Lake Mendota and classified segments of the shoreline as public, semi-public, semi-private and private. Survey respondents participated most frequently in low barrier to entry recreation, such as walking or biking along the shore. Survey respondents also cite physical barriers such as distance as main inhibitors to lake usage. Our physical survey revealed that around 42% of the lake perimeter was classified as public land, though this is mainly large stretches and not dispersed evenly. There are significant stretches of public land with very little public access. Our physical survey revealed that there are many small public plots of land that successfully increase access to the surrounding areas. Increasing small public parks along the Lake Mendota perimeter could be a low cost way to decrease physical barriers and increase access for low barrier to entry recreational activities.
Includes Maps, Tables, Photographs, Appendices and Bibliography.