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Paradise Valley Wildlife Area

Wetland picture
The Paradise Valley Wildlife Area (WA) is located mostly in western Waukesha County with a small portion of the north unit in Jefferson County. This wildlife area was established in 2012 to provide public hunting opportunities and to provide habitat for game species and wildlife of great conservation need. Paradise Valley is approximately 1800 acres across 4 separate parcels. The majority of the habitat within this property is emergent wetland. These wetlands are surrounded by both high-quality and degraded oak openings and savanna, as well as grasslands and agricultural land that were once prairie. About 1,000 acres of drained muck soils have been restored to wetlands and are maintained in a hemi-marsh condition within the Bark River Unit parcel of the property. This restoration was in partnership with the NRCS Wetland Reserve Program and offers excellent waterfowl hunting opportunities. The 4 parcels that makeup Paradise Valley Wildlife Area support deer, turkey, a variety of other wildlife species, and stock pheasants in the fall. 

Waterbodies on or adjacent to this property include the Bark River, Reagon Lake and Beaver Dam Lake. These water bodies provide habitat for resident and migratory wildlife. The Bark River is considered a Warm Main Stem river and is identified in the Wisconsin Wildlife Action Plan as a Conservation Opportunity Area because of its waters containing significant populations of fish and rare invertebrates such as mussels and dragonflies. The Glacial Drumlin State Trail runs along the north side of the Bark River and offers unique access to this parcel of the wildlife area. 

Management Objectives

Habitat management within Paradise Wildlife Area is focused on expanding and enhancing existing grasslands, oak forests and emergent wetlands. Major management tools include timber harvest, prescribed burning and mowing. Wetland management will be conducted through periodic drawdowns to reinvigorate plant diversity and food sources. Populations of invasive species are controlled or eliminated by cutting, pulling, burning, herbicide treatment and/or biocontrol. The wildlife area is also managed to provide opportunities and increased access for public hunting, fishing, trapping and other outdoor recreation while protecting the qualities of the unique native communities and associated species found within the project Paradise Valley Wildlife Area.

On March 25, 2009, the Wisconsin Natural Resources Board approved the Paradise Valley project. This project was originally conceived as an addition to the Kettle Moraine State Forest, but because of the project's focus on wildlife habitat and department program priorities, Paradise Valley was designated a State Wildlife Area in 2012. A feasibility and environmental assessment for the project provides additional details about the project.


The Paradise Valley Wildlife Area offers many recreational opportunities:

  • Birding
  • Boating (non-motorized)
  • Canoeing
  • Cross-country skiing (no designated trail)
  • Fishing
  • Hiking (no designated trail)
  • Hunting (noted for waterfowl, deer and turkey)
  • Kayaking
  • Snowshoeing (no designated trail)
  • Trapping
  • Wild edibles/gathering
  • Wildlife viewing


  • Bathroom: No
  • Parking Lot: Yes, see maps section
  • Campground: No
  • Trails: No

The Paradise Valley Wildlife Area disability-accessible hunting blind

Disability accessible hunting blind

Hunters with disabilities are now able to use an accessible hunting blind on the Paradise Valley Wildlife Area-Bark River Unit. The Waukesha County Conservation Alliance generously donated the blind, providing a recreational opportunity for hunters with disabilities.

The access to the blind is mowed and graveled so hunters can drive right to the blind and their vehicle can be parked at the fork in the road for an easy turnaround. If disabled hunters are interested in obtaining a permit for vehicle use on the property they can find more information on the Permits for people with disabilities page.

Adopt a Fish or Wildlife Area


This wildlife area has been adopted by Southeast Wisconsin and the Jefferson County chapter of the Wisconsin Waterfowl Association.