Frequently Asked Questions

  1. How much does it cost to camp at a Dane County Park?
  2. Does Dane County Parks offer camping discounts to seniors or special groups?
  3. If I want to camp and it’s too late to make a reservation, what should I do?
  4. If I go to the campground, how do I chose and pay for a campsite?
  5. Can I have someone else go to the campground and register for a site for me?
  6. Can I pay at the campground with a credit/debit card?
  7. How do I find the campground host?
  8. Do I need to bring my reservation information with me to the park?
  9. Are the campground gates locked at night?
  10. Do all campsites have a fire pit for campfires?
  11. Do all campsites have a picnic table?
  12. Do I have to move my RV to take on water or dump waste?
  13. Are there any pull-through sites?
  14. Can you accommodate very large RVs?
  15. Can two (2) groups share a campsite?
  16. How late at night can my friends visit me at my campsite?
  17. How do I access wifi at Lake Farm?
  18. How do I buy firewood?
  19. How late in the day can I come in and set up camp?
  20. What if I want to switch campsites once I get to the campground?
  21. When I get to the campground, how do I tell which sites are available?
  22. Can I stay at the campground for the entire summer?
  23. Do I need a permit to bring my dog camping?
  24. Do I need a permit to use the Lake Access sites?
  25. Is there room to park my boat at my campsite along with my vehicle?
  26. Can I pay and set up my tent/camper and not occupy the site that night?
  27. How many vehicles do you allow on a campsite?
  28. Can I change my reservation once it’s been made?
  29. How do I contact park staff?
  30. How can I find out which site is mine if I’ve forgotten the number?
  31. Which campground is closest to the Alliant Energy Center?
  32. Which campground is closest to the UW Campus?
  33. Which campground is closest to the Capitol Square?
  34. Distance from campgrounds to downtown Madison/Alliant Energy Center/UW Madison
  35. Are any campgrounds or campsites right on the water?
  36. Can I launch a boat at Mendota County Park?
  37. Can I leave my boat in the water overnight near the campground?
  38. Is there any shade at the campground?
  39. Are there showers at all the campgrounds?
  40. Are handicapped accessible sites available?
  41. Do any of your campgrounds have wifi?
  42. Where is the Capital Springs Recreation Area campground?
  43. I’m trying to decide which campground is best for me. What are the differences between the 5 campgrounds?
  44. What campgrounds in the Madison area offer long-term camping?
  45. Is there anywhere I can dump my waste when the county campgrounds are closed?
  46. What should I do if I have to cancel my camping reservation?

1. How much does it cost to camp at a Dane County Park?

  • Please visit www.reservedane.com/prices.aspx for a complete listing of prices
  • Brigham Park non-electric sites are $3 less per night than our other campgrounds
  • Brigham Park electric sites are $7 less per night than our other campgrounds due to not having the amenities that are available at our other campgrounds
  • Additional $10 Administrative fee per reservation for all advance reservations
  • Senior discount of $2 per night for campers 65 or older
  • Advance Reservations Only - Extended stay discount - Stay six consecutive nights and receive the last night FREE!
  • Dane County campgrounds are pet friendly.  There is no additional cost to bring your dog with you when camping.  Access to off-leash areas at Token Creek and Lake Farm Park are also included during your camping stay.

2. Does Dane County Parks offer camping discounts to seniors or special groups?

A $2 per night discount is available to campers 65 or older.  There are no discounts for AAA, Good Sam Club, disabled/veterans or other RV/camping groups.  Chaperoned youth groups receive a discounted price for reserved group camps.  Please visit www.reservedane.com\prices.aspx for a complete listing of prices.

3. If I want to camp and it’s too late to make a reservation, what should I do?

In order to make a reservation, we require at least 5 days notice and a 2-night minimum stay.  If you are past the 5 day requirement or only wish to stay 1 night, all unoccupied and unreserved sites are available on a first-come, first-serve basis at the campground.  Babcock, Brigham, Mendota and Token Creek only reserve 80% of their sites and the remaining sites are left for walk-ins.  All sites at Lake Farm Park are reservable.  Any site not occupied or reserved is available for first-come, first serve campers.

4. If I go to the campground, how do I chose and pay for a campsite?

Walk-in campers need to self-register at the campground kiosk located either at the campground entrance or near the Camp Host Site. Open sites will be unoccupied, have no current registration ticket on the site post, and no reservation card posted. (Please check the dates on the reservation cards as they are posted by each campsite a couple of weeks in advance).  Second, complete a camping self-registration envelope; place the required fee in the envelope, tear off the top carbon copy and place the envelope into the money tube.  Place the carbon copy slip on the site post next to the campsite that you have chosen.  Park staff will retrieve your payment and officially register your name to that site.

5. Can I have someone else go to the campground and register for a site for me?

The person that registers for a campsite must be from the camping party that will be camping on that site. This person then becomes the person responsible for the camping party.  Once you register and pay for a campsite, you must immediately take occupancy of your site by setting up a camping unit.  A camping unit is a tent, trailer, truck topper or RV.  You are required to occupy the site the first night of registration or your belongings could be removed by park staff and the site opened for other park patrons.

6. Can I pay at the campground with a credit/debit card?

We only accept cash or check at the campground (payable to Dane County Parks).  If you wish to use your credit/debit card to pay for camping, this can only be done in advance with a reservation. 

7. How do I find the campground host?

Campground hosts are volunteer residents in the parks.  Most campgrounds have a campground host.  Host sites are located close to the campground kiosks, usually in a clearly marked “Host Site”.  These volunteers are typically the first contact for patrons in the campgrounds.  If there are no park staff available, please contact the host with questions or concerns.  Park Ranger contact information is located at the campground kiosks at each park.  In case of emergencies, dial 911.

8. Do I need to bring my reservation information with me to the park?

This is not necessary, but you may prefer to have that information readily available if there are any questions or concerns.  There is no need to register with park staff or with the campground hosts.  The site that you have reserved will be clearly posted.  A reservation card will be placed on the reserved site with your last name and dates of your stay clearly marked.

9. Are the campground gates locked at night?

Gates are not locked at night, as we frequently have special circumstances where patrons need to enter the parks after closing time at 10pm.  If there is a closed gate, you may still enter, but please leave all gates as you found them.

10. Do all campsites have a fire pit for campfires?

Most campsites have fire pits.  Lake Farm campground has some non-electrical sites with pedestal grills only; these sites do not allow campfires.  Fires are allowed on any site where there is a fire ring provided unless special circumstances are posted at the campground kiosk (burn bans, etc.).

11. Do all campsites have a picnic table?

All sites have a picnic table.  The table can accommodate approximately 6 adults.

12. Do I have to move my RV to take on water or dump waste?

Yes, you will have to move your RV.   We don’t have water or sewer at the sites.   Babcock, Mendota, Lake Farm and Token Creek have a dump station and potable water available at the sanitation station.  Dumping and water is free to registered campers.  Dumping is $10 for non-campers.

(We’re looking at providing a dump station in the near future at Brigham)

13. Are there any pull-through sites?

A few pull-through sites are available at Lake Farm County Park campground.  Other campgrounds offer pull-in/back-in sites.  Please visit www.reservedane.com for a complete listing of sites available and parking pad sizes at each park.

14. Can you accommodate very large RVs?

Every site is a little different, but generally our campgrounds can accommodate any size RV.  Please visit www.reservedane.com for a complete listing of sites available at each park and parking pad sizes.

15. Can two (2) groups share a campsite?

All regular campsites are limited to one camping unit with a 6 people per site maximum.  More than 6 people in a party will require additional sites.  All Vehicles and trailers must park on the gravel pad provided for the site or park staff can provide a parking permit for the general parking areas.  Group camping is available by advance reservation at Lake Farm, Brigham, McCarthy, Token Creek, and Scheidegger Forest.  Supervised youth groups may also group camp at Indian Lake Park.  Visit https://parks-lwrd.countyofdane.com/Information/Fees for group camping fees.

16. How late at night can my friends visit me at my campsite?

All non-campers are required to leave the park by closing time at 10 pm.

17. How do I access wifi at Lake Farm?

To access wifi services at Lake Farm campground, please enter the security access login and password which is posted at the campground kiosk.  If the signal is weak, moving closer to the Lussier Family Heritage Center may help.  Wifi is a free service that is only offered at Lake Farm.  Please contact park staff or the campground host if you have problems accessing the wifi services.

18. How do I buy firewood?

Firewood is available at all of the campgrounds for a price of $5/bundle. Fire-starters and firewood bundles can be purchased at the campground office from park staff or from the campground host.  Please remember that any firewood originating outside of Dane County is not permitted due to the Emerald Ash Borer and other invasive insect species. 

19. How late in the day can I come in and set up camp?

Self-registration for campsites starts any time after 10 am unless the site is occupied.  You can register for unoccupied sites at any time during the day.  Campers have until 3 pm of the last day of their reservation to vacate their campsite.  You can enter the campground and set up any time before the park closes at 10 pm.  If there is a situation where you need to come into the park later than 10 pm, please contact the Parks Office at 608-224-3730 to notify us of your plans so we may inform the Park Ranger.

20. What if I want to switch campsites once I get to the campground?

Please notify the park staff or the campground host.  Switching campsites is permitted with Park Staff or Campground Host approval if there are other open sites available.

21. When I get to the campground, how do I tell which sites are available?

Open sites are those that are not currently being occupied by other campers, those sites with no camping slip posted on the site post, and those sites without a current reservation card.  Please check the dates on the reservation cards that are posted at each campsite.

22. Can I stay at the campground for the entire summer?

There is a 14-night maximum stay in the Dane County parks system.  After the 14th consecutive night, campers are required to leave the property for at least 48 hours before returning.  Campers can move to a different Dane County campground for this 48 hour period if they wish and then return to the original campground for another 14-night consecutive stay.

23. Do I need a permit to bring my dog camping?

Dogs are welcome at no charge with any registered camper for the length of your stay.  Campers are required to clean up after their pets and to keep them under control and leashed at all times while in any Dane County Park.  Leashes are not to exceed 8’ in length.  Dane County does offer dog off-leash areas throughout the county.  Token Creek County Park and Capital Springs Recreation Area (southwest of Lake Farm County Park) have off-leash areas available within a short distance of the campgrounds.  Campers may also use these off-leash areas during their camping stay. 

24. Do I need a permit to use the Lake Access sites?

A permit is required at improved boat launch sites. Unimproved boat launches do not require a permit.  All Lake Access sites requiring a permit will be clearly marked.  Please read information located at the kiosks carefully for more information. 

Improved lake access sites require a permit year round to access the parking lot to launch your watercraft and/or park in the lot.  Your permit sticker has to be adhered to the lower driver’s side windshield of your vehicle or your daily permit receipt/new annual permit application receipt must be placed on your driver’s side dashboard.  Visit https://parks-lwrd.countyofdane.com/Information/Fees for a list of permit fees.  Permits can be purchased online at www.reservedane.com, by calling the parks main office at 608-224-3730, or via self-registration envelopes at any boat launch kiosk. 

25. Is there room to park my boat at my campsite along with my vehicle?

At most sites, this is allowed.  Keep in mind that there is a limit of 2 vehicles per site and all vehicles and trailers must be parked on the gravel pad that is provided at each site.  Please contact park staff or campground hosts with questions or concerns or visit https://parks-lwrd.countyofdane.com/ParkSystem/List  for a list of parks and their campsite parking pad sizes.

26. Can I pay and set up my tent/camper and not occupy the site that night?

No.  Campers must occupy the site the first night of their stay.  You cannot hold a site without occupying it.  Dane County Parks cannot be responsible for property left unattended in the parks.

27. How many vehicles do you allow on a campsite?

Two (2) vehicles are permitted per site.  After-hours parking of additional vehicles requires a yellow parking pass and must be parked in a separate parking area.  Please contact park staff or the campground host for a parking pass and directions as to where to park additional vehicles or trailers.  Please visit https://parks-lwrd.countyofdane.com/ParkSystem/List for a list of parks and their campsite parking pad sizes (under Reservations).

28. Can I change my reservation once it’s been made?

Changes to reservations must be done by calling the Parks Main Office at 608-224-3730 or by emailing dane-parks@countyofdane.com.  

29. How do I contact park staff?

Park Staff can be contacted through the main office at 608-224-3730 during regular business hours (M - F, 7:45 am to 4:30 pm) or by emailing dane-parks@countyofdane.com.  If you need to contact park staff outside of regular business hours, please find the Park Ranger information located at the campground kiosks found throughout the parks.  There are campground hosts at most of the campgrounds who can assist you when park staff are unavailable.

30. How can I find out which site is mine if I’ve forgotten the number?

You may contact the main Parks Office at 608-224-3730 or email dane-parks@countyofdane.com to confirm reservations.  If you are unsure of your site number when you arrive at the park, you can look at the reservation cards that are posted on each site posts or check the list posted at the kiosk.  The last name on the reservation will be displayed on these cards, along with the dates of the stay.  Please contact park staff or a campground host if you have any questions or concerns.

31. Which campground is closest to the Alliant Energy Center?

The campground at Lake Farm County Park is the closest campground to the Alliant Energy Center (AEC) at 3 miles.  There is also a State Bike/Pedestrian Trail (permit required) that links Lake Farm to the Alliant Energy Center and to downtown Madison.  Babcock is 6 ½ miles, Mendota is 11 miles, Token Creek is 17 miles and Brigham is 30 miles from the AEC.

32. Which campground is closest to the UW Campus?

The campground at Lake Farm County Park is the closest to the UW Campus at 5-7 miles.  Mendota is 7-9 miles, Babcock 9-11 miles, Token Creek 12-15 miles and Brigham 29-31 miles.

33. Which campground is closest to the Capitol Square?

The campground at Lake Farm County Park is the closest campground at 5 miles.  Babcock Park is 9 miles and Mendota is 8 miles. Token Creek is approximately 10 miles to the Capitol Square.

34. Distance from campgrounds to downtown Madison/Alliant Energy Center/UW Madison

From
Campground

Destination

Approx. Distance
(miles)

Lake Farm

Alliant Energy Center

3

Lake Farm

Capitol Square

5

Lake Farm

Camp Randall

7

Lake Farm

UW Madison Campus Area

5 - 7

Lake Farm

UW Hospital

8

 

 

 

Mendota

Alliant Energy Center

11

Mendota

Capitol Square

8

Mendota

Camp Randall

7

Mendota

UW Madison Campus Area

7 - 9

Mendota

UW Hospital

6

 

 

 

Babcock

Alliant Energy Center

6.5

Babcock

Capitol Square

9

Babcock

Camp Randall

10

Babcock

UW Madison Campus Area

9 - 11

Babcock

UW Hospital

12

 

 

 

Token Creek

Alliant Energy Center

17

Token Creek

Capitol Square

10

Token Creek

Camp Randall

11

Token Creek

UW Madison Campus Area

12-15

Token Creek

UW Hospital

13

 

 

 

Brigham

Alliant Energy Center

30

Brigham

Capitol Square

31

Brigham

Camp Randall

28

Brigham

UW Madison Campus Area

29 - 31

Brigham

UW Hospital

29

 

 

 

Lake Farm

Babcock

6.5

Lake Farm

Mendota

13.5

Lake Farm

Token Creek

16

Lake Farm

Brigham

32

Babcock

Mendota

17

Babcock

Token Creek

15

Babcock

Brigham

34

Mendota

Token Creek

15

Mendota

Brigham

26

Token Creek

Brigham

45

35. Are any campgrounds or campsites right on the water?

Babcock Park is on a lagoon area off the Yahara River and Lake Waubesa, in McFarland, along US Highway 51.  Mendota Park is on the shore of Lake Mendota, in Middleton, along County Hwy M.  Lake Farm Park campground is ¾ of a mile from Lake Waubesa and the Lake Access boat launch on Libby Rd.  There are woods between the campground and the lake so the lake is not visible from the campground.  Token Creek and Brigham campgrounds are not located on a lake.  Token Creek Park is named for the trout stream “Token Creek” flowing through it.  There is an ADA fishing pier located within the park.

36. Can I launch a boat at Mendota County Park?

The access to Mendota is a shallow unimproved launch site next to the beach area and is only a designated Lake Access Area in the winter months for accessing the lake when frozen.  Most park patrons launch from nearby Middleton’s Lake Street Launch or Marshall Park at 2101 Allen Blvd., Middleton, WI  53562 (Lake Access fee/permit required) or at Governor Nelson State Park, 5140 County Hwy M, Waunakee, WI  53597.  A state park sticker is required to use the boat launch at Governor Nelson.

37. Can I leave my boat in the water overnight near the campground?

Both Babcock and Mendota Parks offer a boat mooring pier for registered campers on a first-come, first served basis.  Mendota Park has several boat camping slips but they are only available if you camp on your boat, not at the campground.  The Mendota sites can be reserved by calling our Parks Office at 608-224-3730. 

38. Is there any shade at the campground?

Babcock, Brigham & Mendota are older campgrounds with larger, established trees.  Lake Farm is a newer campground so there is little to no shade.  Token Creek campground is wooded, with some open sunny areas. 

39. Are there showers at all the campgrounds?

There are showers facilities at Lake Farm, Token Creek, Mendota and Babcock campgrounds.  Showers are included in your camping fees.  Brigham Park campground is a rustic campground with no showers.  Shower facilities are available to State Park Patrons at Blue Mounds State Park, which is close to Brigham. 

40. Are handicapped accessible sites available?

There is 1 handicapped accessible site in each of the Dane County campgrounds, except Lake Farm, which has 2 handicapped accessible sites.  These sites are held for persons with disabilities until the campground is full, at which time they are available to everyone. The sites are normally located close to the restrooms/shower rooms, and have a paved parking surface.  They can be reserved by disabled campers or used on a first-come, first-serve basis.  Visit our handicap accessibility website at https://parks-lwrd.countyofdane.com/CampingShelters/Handicap-Accessibility for more information.

41. Do any of your campgrounds have wifi?

Only Lake Farm County Park has wifi.  To access wifi services at Lake Farm campground, please enter the security access login and password which is posted at the campground kiosk.  

42. Where is the Capital Springs Recreation Area campground?

Lake Farm County Park campground is located within the Capital Springs Recreation Area.  Lake Farm is owned and operated by Dane County and is the only campground within the Capital Springs Recreation Area.  Capital Springs Recreation Area is a joint venture between the State of Wisconsin and Dane County.

43. I’m trying to decide which campground is best for me. What are the differences between the 5 campgrounds?

See the list of County Parks at for more information and pictures: https://parks-lwrd.countyofdane.com/ParkSystem/List. See chart below for a short comparison between campgrounds.

 

 

Lake Farm

Babcock

Mendota

Token Creek

Brigham

Setting

Large prairie setting campground with Disc Golf course, hiking trails, state bike trail, dog exercise area, and boat launch nearby on Lake Waubesa.

Small urban RV campground with boat launch.

Park and campground are located between Hwy 51 and Lake Waubesa in McFarland.

Small urban RV campground.

Park is located on Lake Mendota in a residential & commercial area in Middleton.

Large rural RV and tent campground close to the Interstate with Disc Golf course, equestrian & hiking trails and dog exercise area.

Small rustic

campground in a rural setting near Blue Mounds.

No showers. Electricity available at a few campsites.

Noise level

Slight noise from Hwy 12/18

Traffic noise

From US Hwy 51

Some urban traffic noise

Slight Hwy noise from Interstate

Quiet

# Electrical sites

39 Elec sites

25 Elec sites

30 Elec sites

24 Elec sites

4 Elec sites

Amp Service

50 amp

30 amp

30 amp

30 amp & six 50 amp sites

50 amp

# Non-Elec sites

15 Non-Elec

sites

N/a

N/a

11 Non-Elec sites

21 Rustic sites

Size of Park

328 acres

36 acres

19 acres

427 acres

112 acres

Proximity to water

Campground is set back approximately

1 mile from Lake Waubesa

Park is located

on a lagoon off of the Yahara River & Lake Waubesa

Park is located on Lake Mendota

Token Creek (with ADA fishing pier) is located nearby

None

Sunny/Shady

Little to no shade.

Prairie setting

Mostly Shaded

Mostly Shaded

Mix of Shade/no shade

Mix of Shade/no shade

Bike Trails

Capital City State Trail

None

None

None

Military Ridge State Trail

Off-leash Dog Exercise Area

Short distance to campground

No

No

Yes

No

Assets

Conveniently located to Alliant Energy Center and downtown Madison; easy access to Hwy 12/18; lake access; disc golf course; dog exercise area nearby.

Conveniently located;

Great for fishing and lake access

Conveniently located to downtown Madison &

UW campus; Veterans Hospital &

UW Hospital.

Short distance to boat launch.

Easy access to and from Interstate; disc golf course; equestrian & hiking trails. Dog exercise area located within the park.

 

Quiet, rural setting; close to Blue Mounds State Park; beautiful vistas and hiking trails.

44. What campgrounds in the Madison area offer long-term camping?

The establishments below may be able to accommodate you if you wish to stay in the Madison area for an extended period of time.

1.  Badgerland Campground 
http://badgerlandcampground.com/
2671 Circle Dr.
Stoughton, WI  53589
608-873-5800
Email:  info@badgerlandcompground.com          

-Located near the entrance to Lake Kegonsa State Park
-2 miles off of Hwy 39/90
Open Spring - Fall

2.  Viking Village     http://www.vikingvillagecampground.com/
1648 County Hwy N
Stoughton, WI  53589
(608) 873-6601
Email:  vikingvillage@sbcglobal.net

Open Spring - Fall

3.  Madison KOA
http://koa.com/campgrounds/madison/  
4859 County Road V
DeForest, WI  53532
(800) 562-5784 Reservations
(608) 846-4528 Information

Open April 1 – October 1

4.  Oak Park Terrace
http://oakparkterrace.net/
571 Banding Lane
Madison, WI  53704
(888) 817-5098

**This is a mobile home park in an urban area with seasonal rates for RVs

45. Is there anywhere I can dump my waste when the county campgrounds are closed?

Wisconsin RV World at 5920 Haase Rd in DeForest has a dump station that charges $10.00 for Class A size tanks and $5.00 for Class C size tanks. When they are open for business, customers may come in to use the dump station.  Winter hours are limited.

Wisconsin RV World phone number is 608-244-6228.

46. What should I do if I have to cancel my camping reservation?

You may cancel your camping reservation by contacting either the Park Office at 608-224-3730, by email at dane-parks@countyofdane.com or by sending a letter to Dane County Parks, 5201 Fen Oak Drive, Room 208, Madison, WI  53718.  Please provide your name, address, the dates of your reservation and either the reservation number or the name of the park.  Cancellations must be received at least 24 hours in advance of the camping reservation.  Camping reservations start at 3:00 p.m. Central Standard Time. There is a cancellation fee of $25 and the balance of your reservation fee will be credited back to the debit/credit card that was used to place your reservation. 

1. What are the fees for reserving a shelter?

Shelter fees are dependent on the number of people attending the event and whether it is a Premier or a Standard Shelter.  Premier Shelters also have different rates for weekends (Fridays, Saturdays, Sundays, & Holidays) vs. weekdays. See https://parks-lwrd.countyofdane.com/Information/Fees for prices.  Chaperoned youth groups receive a $30 discount.

 

2. What shelters are considered Premier Shelters?

The shelters at Badger Prairie, Brigham, CamRock, Goodland, Indian Lake, Lake Farm, Mendota, Stewart and Token Creek County Parks are all considered Premier Shelters.

3. What shelters are considered Standard Shelters?

The shelters at Donald, Festge, LaFollette, Riley-Deppe, Viking Parks, Scheidgger Forest, and the Jenni & Kyle Preserve are all considered Standard Shelters.

4. How do I make a reservation?

Reservation for shelters can be made online at www.reservedane.com, or by calling the Parks Main Office at 608-224-3730, or in person.  Click on https://parks-lwrd.countyofdane.com/ContactUs/Contact-Us for a map to the Parks Main office.  In order to place a reservation, payment in full is required.  Online and phone orders can be paid with a credit/debit card.  Reservations made in person can be paid with cash, check, or credit/debit card.

5. What is the shelter cancellation policy?

A refund will be given, minus a $25 cancellation fee, when a shelter cancellation is received at least 30 days prior to the reservation.   The refund will be credited to the debit/credit card used to place the reservation.  No refund will be given if the cancellation is within 30 days of the event date.  No refunds will be given due to inclement weather.

6. Do I need to make a reservation to use a shelter at a park?

Reservations are not required, but recommended.  If a park shelter is open (with no reservation card posted on the wall of the building) and no one is currently using the shelter, the shelter is free for anyone to use on a first-come-first-serve basis.  Patrons can check shelter availability online at www.reservedane.com or by calling the main Parks Office at 608-224-3730.

7. How many people can occupy the shelter?

Each shelter has a different capacity.  Please click on https://parks-lwrd.countyofdane.com/ParkSystem/List for a list of parks and their shelters to see the capacity limits and their amenities/restrictions.  Please note that the capacity listed is for the shelter and the grounds surrounding the shelter.  Park Patrons are always encouraged to visit the shelter before placing a reservation to ensure that the shelter meets your needs and expectations.

8. How many tables are found at the shelter?

Each shelter may have a different number of tables that are included in the shelter reservation.  Extra tables are available and can be requested in sets of 6 at a charge of $60 per set.  Request must be made at least 3 days before the event but a week’s notice is preferred.  The tables will be delivered and set up before your shelter reservation starts.  Each table can seat approximately 6 adults.  Please click on https://parks-lwrd.countyofdane.com/ParkSystem/List for a list of parks and their shelters to see the number of tables at each shelter.

9. What size are the picnic tables at the shelter?

What size are the picnic tables at the shelter?

  • All tables are five feet wide by six feet long
  • The seats are nine inches wide by six feet long
  • The table top is 28 inches wide by six feet long.
  • There is no size difference between the aluminum or wood tables.
  • Tables can be all aluminum or all wood and sometimes a mix of both.

10. Is there running water at the shelter?

Each shelter has different amenities.  Please see https://parks-lwrd.countyofdane.com/ParkSystem/List for a list of parks and their shelters to see the amenities at each shelter.

11. How early can I come to the park and set up for my event?

Shelter reservations are from 10 am to 9:30 pm.  We require that the shelter be vacated by 9:30 pm so park staff have time to remove garbage and clean the restrooms for the next day’s patrons.  All Dane County parks close at 10 pm.

If you would like to start setting up your event earlier than 10 am, please contact the Parks Office at 608-224-3730 to make arrangements.

12. Can we have a campfire at the shelter?

Shelters may have a fire ring located near the shelter area, while others may not have these amenities.  Please click on https://parks-lwrd.countyofdane.com/ParkSystem/List for a list of parks and their shelters to see the amenities at each shelter.  Shelters #2 and #5 at Token Creek County Park offer fireplaces in the shelter area.  Please contact the parks main office at 608-224-3730 at least 3 working days in advance of your event to make arrangements for opening up the fireplace.  

13. How late can I stay in the park?

The parks close promptly at 10 pm. It is required that all shelters must be cleaned-up and vacated no later than 9:30 pm.

14. Are there electrical outlets at the shelter?

All reservable shelters have electricity except Donald Park, Riley-Deppe Park, Scheidegger Forest and shelter #3 at Festge Park.  Each shelter may have a different number of electrical outlets.  Please click on https://parks-lwrd.countyofdane.com/ParkSystem/List for a list of parks and their shelters to see the amenities at each shelter.

15. What should I do if we trip a breaker?

Please contact park staff or the park ranger.  Contact information should be provided on the reservation name card that is posted on the wall of the shelter when it is reserved for your event.  Ranger and park staff contact information should also be available at most information kiosks in the parks.

16. Are the bathrooms unlocked for my event?

Bathrooms remain open until 9:30 pm during the regular season and are available for use by all park patrons.  Depending on the park, these dates may differ.  Please check the parks website https://parks-lwrd.countyofdane.com/Information/Parks-Opening-Closing-Schedule for current information on when each park is open/closed for the season.  Bathrooms may be locked during the regular season if there are utility issues, but this should be clearly marked on the outside of the building.

17. Can I decorate the shelter for my event?

Yes.  We ask that you do not use any nails, screws, or other more permanent fixtures.  Anything that is put up should be taken down by 9:30 pm.

18. Do I need a Special Event Permit for my event?

Special Event Permits may be required for larger events such as weddings, races, fund-raisers, or other events requiring special accommodations and/or requests.  Please contact the main office at 608-224-3730 if you feel your event qualifies for a Special Event Permit.  Information is collected to prepare park staff and assist you when hosting larger events.

19. Do I need an Alcohol Permit?

Any group over 25 people, where alcohol is being consumed requires an alcohol permit, whether you provide the alcohol or if someone attending your event brings their own.  The fee is based on the number of people attending the event. See https://parks-lwrd.countyofdane.com/Information/Fees for a list of Alcohol Permit fees.

20. How do I contact the park?

You may contact the Parks Office at 608-224-3730 Monday - Friday, 7:45 am – 4:30 pm for all parks questions, comments, and concerns.  If you need to reach park staff after these hours, please contact the Ranger in the area by calling the phone number listed at the information kiosk in the campgrounds or at most kiosks located within the park.  In case of an emergency, dial 911.

21. Can my group camp at the shelter?

Camping is not allowed at the shelter areas.  Camping may be available at the park where the shelter is located but is not included in your shelter reservation.  Camping reservations, if available, can be added to your order at the time of making a shelter reservation or up to 5 days prior to your event.  We do offer Group Camping at Lake Farm, Token Creek, Brigham, McCarthy Park and Scheidegger Forest.  Supervised Youth Groups may also group camp at Indian Lake Park.

22. Can we have a bouncy house at the shelter?

Yes. There is a “large structure” fee (larger than 12’ x 12’ or anything with stakes that would enter more than 6” into the ground) of $30 that would be added to your shelter reservation fee.  Park staff will mark all electric lines near the shelter when placing large structures on the property.  It is also required to show proof of liability insurance as Dane County Parks cannot be liable for injuries, etc. that may occur.  Certificates of Insurance can be provided from the rental company.  Dane County Parks must be listed as the additional insurance holder and Insurance must be covered up to $1,000,000.  Please contact the Parks Office at 608-224-3730 for more information.

23. Can we set up tents?

Yes.  A ‘Large Structure’ fee is required ($30) for any structures that are larger than 12’ x 12’ and/or that have stakes that will enter the ground more than 6”.   This should be added to your initial shelter reservation but can also be added up to a week before your event.  Park staff will mark all electric lines near the shelter.  Please alert the Parks Main Office at 608-224-3730 if you need the Park Ranger to contact you concerning placement of your tent.

24. What do we do with our ashes from our grill after our event?

Please leave the ashes in the pedestal grills, fire rings, or fireplaces, making sure that they are extinguished before leaving the area.  Park staff will remove the ashes when they check the shelter after your reservation.

25. Our event will draw a large amount of vehicles. Where do they park?

Please contact the Parks Office at 608-224-3730 with your parking concerns.  We will have the Park Ranger contact you to make arrangements for additional parking if necessary.