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Paradise Valley Wildlife Area

On March 25, 2009, the Wisconsin Natural Resources Board approved the 6,318-acre 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.

The project is located in western Waukesha County, primarily in the Town of Ottawa, with a small portion in northern Town of Eagle.

As a result of the Natural Resources Board action, the department has the authority to purchase land from willing sellers within the project boundary for lake and wetland conservation, wildlife and fish habitat and nature-based public recreation. A feasibility and environmental assessment [PDF] for the project provides additional details about the project.

The department and other partners will try to acquire 4,000 of the 6,318 acres in the project area. Land acquisition will occur over the next 10 to 20 years from willing sellers only, based on appraised fair market value. The department also will help landowners to improve conservation practices on private lands and farmland through federal, state and non-governmental programs. The Paradise Valley project will result in a group of core wetlands and lakes surrounded by upland grassland, southern forest and working farmland.

The department will focus on acquisition efforts on larger parcels that have high potential to meet the project objectives. Funding for land acquisition will primarily come from the state Stewardship Program. The Stewardship Program can also provide matching funds to local governments or conservation groups buying land in the project area. If you are interested in discussing the potential of selling land to the department, please contact the Waukesha County Wildlife Biologist at 608-289-168.


Habitat management within the project is focused on grasslands, oak openings, southern forest and emergent wetlands. The project boundary is located within a globally important Conservation Opportunity Area for bur oak openings as identified in the Wisconsin Wildlife Action Plan. Major management tools include timber harvest, prescribed burning, mowing and water level management where possible. Populations of invasive species are controlled or eliminated by cutting, pulling, burning, herbicide treatment and/or bio-control. The wildlife area is also managed to provide opportunities 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 area. Because there are several non-contiguous parcels in the project area, the public should check property boundaries before setting out.


The Paradise Valley Wildlife Area offers many recreational opportunities:

  • Birding;
  • Canoeing;
  • Cross-country skiing (no designated trail);
  • Fishing;
  • Hiking (no designated trail);
  • Hunting;
  • Snowshoeing (no designated trail);
  • Trapping;
  • Wild edibles/gathering; and
  • Wildlife viewing.

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, their vehicle can be parked at the fork in the road for an easy turn around. The blind is on the edge of fairly deep open water, but decoys are easy to retrieve near shore.

Please direct questions to Nathan Holoubek at 608-289-1689.


Reagons Lake Unit [PDF]
Beaver Dam Lake Unit [PDF]
School Section Lake Unit [PDF]
Bark River Unit [PDF]

If you are interested in exploring this property further, you can access an interactive map.

Useful links
Adopt a Fish or Wildlife Area


This wildlife area has been adopted by Pheasants Forever, Southeast Wisconsin and Jefferson County chapters, and the Wisconsin Waterfowl Association.