Jacobus Park Nature Trail, Wauwatosa, Wisconsin

By Jim Ciha and Jim Price

A hiking and biking loop trail takes visitors through a woodland island in Metropolitan Milwaukee.

Part of the trail through Jacobus Park; photo by Guy Smith

National Recreation Trail

Designated in 2006

• View more details for this trail
in the NRT Database

• Learn about the NRT Program.

Urban ecology

Jacobus Park, located at 6501 W. Hillside Lane, Wauwatosa, Wisconsin, is an outstanding example of an undisturbed woodland environment remaining in the highly developed urban setting of metropolitan Milwaukee. With more than 160 native species surveyed, among them several state-listed Threatened and Endangered Species, it is a unique natural outdoor classroom for schoolchildren and area citizens.

By 2000, the park's 35-year-old trail system and interpretive signage had reached a state of disrepair. Walkways and wooden signs were crumbling. To raise funds for renovation, the Charles Jacobus Park Neighborhood Association, the City of Wauwatosa, Milwaukee County, and the State of Wisconsin became partners.

Neighborhood volunteers provided $30,000 and nearly $100,000 was raised through matching grants. Walkways, signs, post and railing fencing, stone steps and a wooden bridge were repaired to bring the trails system up to current standards

ODNR Division of Wildlife started talking about the idea of a state water trail program to other state agencies including Watercraft, State Parks, Scenic Rivers Program, and Real Estate and Land Management.

New stainless-steel signs provide a durable, vandal-resistant medium on which the story of the park is told. These acid-etched signs offer text and graphic images of the unique plants and ecosystems in the park. The examples help the reader consider the diversity of the park environment and how they can help protect it.

The renovated Jacobus Park Nature Trail System serves schoolchildren throughout the Milwaukee Area who use it for outdoor education and field trips. The signs are helping teachers and parents lead self-interpretive walks that provide their children valuable lessons in environmental education that cannot be learned in the classroom.

For more information

Milwaukee County Park System 9480 Watertown Plank Road Wauwatosa, WI 53226 (414) 257-4782