For centuries, the tip of Picnic Point has served as a significant gathering place for native inhabitants, the university community and the larger City population. Because it was so well loved and often-visited and at the same time somewhat neglected from a management standpoint, it fell prone to environmental degradation from excessive foot traffic, natural shoreline erosion and invasive species. With funding from the Ebling Charitable Trust, the improvements that this project implemented will continue to support sustainable use of this special space by future generations.
A natural stone council ring serves as the central gathering space; a place for storytelling and campfires and continuing conversations influenced by the University’s environmental ethic. Smaller landings are provided at intermediate points along the limestone steps which cascade down to the water’s edge. Vegetation restoration, including removal of an invasive understory and replanting of native herbaceous perennials and shrub species, has once again opened up the spectacular views across Lake Mendota to the campus and downtown Madison.
The project was praised in the local media and received an Honor Award, the highest award level conveyed, from the Wisconsin Chapter of the American Society of Landscape Architects.