FARMINGTON, Wis. (AP) — Management of a Wisconsin park listed on the National Register of Historic Places has been returned to the state in hopes of better preserving more than two dozen Native American effigy mounds.
The 22-acre Lizard Mound Park in Washington County was first designated as a state park in 1950. The property and its 28 effigy mounds has been owned and managed by the county since 1980, but now has been transferred back to the state’s care.
Lizard Mound in Farmington has one of the largest and most intact effigy mound groups in the country, Wisconsin Public Radio reported.
Kettle Moraine State Forest-Northern Unit superintendent Samantha Lindquist will oversee Lizard Mound and says it won’t be run like a typical state park.
“It’s not going to be managed as, say, a recreation facility,” she said. “There’s going to be a few picnic tables, but it’s not going to become overly developed. There’s not going to be all these special uses of the site. The site is an ancestral burial ground. It has cultural and historical significance. So it’s going to be preserved in that way.”
As a burial ground, the Lizard Mound area is considered sacred by Native people. The Ho-Chunk are one of several tribal nations working with the Department of Natural Resources on plans to properly manage the park and preserve the mounds.
The Ho-Chunk consider the mound builders to be among their ancestors. While conical and linear mounds can be found throughout the Midwest, effigy mounds are unique to southern Wisconsin — the ancestral homeland of the Ho-Chunk people.