Kickapoo Valley Reserve offers great escape

Sometimes I like to get away even when I am away. Such was the case this past Sunday. I was at our cabin, located near Yuba, Wis., and decided to take off for a day. I had spent most of Saturday working (mowing and other chores), and just needed a break.

I have wanted to visit the Kickapoo Valley Reserve for sometime. It’s nearby–only about 30 minutes from the cabin–and has a bit of history behind it. (More on that shortly.) Even better, the Reserve offers thousands of acres of pubic land that one can escape to. So I did.

kickapoo valley reserve, kickapoo valley reserve visitors centerI pulled into the main parking a little before 10:00 a.m. As I approached the visitor’s center, a beautiful building designed by KEE Architecture of Madison, Wis., I was struck by the names inscribed on the outside walls. Each family whose property was taken for the valley project is memorialized there. The sign near the front door says it best (click to enlarge).

History of the Kickapoo Valley Reserve

The Kickapoo Valley Reserve is the result of efforts to deal with severe flooding caused by the Kickapoo River. A flood in 1935 caused extensive damage to buildings and property in La Farge, Wis. Another, in 1951, claimed 10 lives. In 1962, Congress authorized the US Army Corps of Engineers to design a flood control dam at La Farge. It would create a reservoir 400 – 800 acres in size; later plans called for expanding that to a 1,780-acre lake for recreational use and power generation. Over time the government bought out 149 property owners north of La Farge–many of them unwillingly.

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