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About Madison, Wisconsin

For more info about the destination for the 2004 ESPN Great Outdoor Games read the Chamber of Commerce's Madison overview, or go to www.visitmadison.com. For Wisconsin travel information, go to www.travelwisconsin.com.


Book your room now! Click here to make room reservations and to secure a parking pass for Madison.

Maps & directions

The 2004 Great Outdoor Games venue is...

  • 4.5 hours from Minneapolis, 2.5 hours from Chicago, and 1.5 hours from Milwaukee.
  • Five minutes off interstate 90/94 via Hwy 12 & 18
  • Minutes from the State Capitol, State Street & UW-Madison Campus
  • Fifteen minutes from the Dane County Airport

    To get to the venue...
    From the NORTH on I-90/94 — Where 90 and 94 split, stay on I-90 to Chicago and Janesville. After 4 miles, take exit 142A onto Hwy 12/18 (beltline) west to Madison. Take the John Nolen exit. (Exit #263)

    From the SOUTH on I-90 — Exit 142A onto Hwy 12/18, proceed as above.

    From the EAST on I-94 — At Madison, get onto I-90 to Janesville & Chicago, then proceed as above.

    From the WEST — Get onto the beltline, Hwy 12/18 going east; exit at Rimrock Road (Exit #262).

    Driving map  Aerial photo

    About Madison, Wisconsin

    Madison, Wisconsin is a perfect place to host the ESPN Great Outdoor Games July 8 - 11, 2004. Sportsmen and -women from around the country who plan to visit Madison will find that they are in the heart of "outdoor country," with numerous opportunities for hunting and fishing among thousands of avid hunters and anglers.

    Wisconsin sells more nonresident fishing licenses than many other states, offering opportunities from musky and chinook salmon fishing to yellow perch and brook trout. The Department of Natural Resources (DNR) sells more than 600,000 resident deer gun hunting licenses and more than 35,000 nonresident deer gun hunting licenses, and harvests more than 400,000 deer during the fall seasons.

    Wisconsin has long had a proud, leading outdoor ethic and has produced leaders in the conservation movement.

    Well known to most outdoors enthusiasts was the late Aldo Leopold, author of A Sand County Almanac. Leopold led the U.S. Forest Products Laboratory in Madison and went on to become the nation's first professor of game management in the first department of game management established in the country. That department was at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

    It was at Leopold's shack, just north of Madison along the Wisconsin River, that he came to understand many principles of the natural world. The bedraggled old chicken coop came to be the Mecca where conservationists and environmentalists alike return today to walk the same soil that Leopold walked, hear the marshland elegy of sandhill cranes and see the shack where A Sand County Almanac and his text "Game Management" were crafted.

    Wisconsin was "home" to John Muir, Ernie Swift and Sigurd Olson, and where Ding Darling briefly attended college. The Badger State spawned outdoor writers such as Gordon MacQuarry and Mel Ellis, famed wildlife artist Owen Gromme, architect Frank Lloyd Wright, and was governed by Gaylord Nelson, the founder of Earth Day.

    That conservation ethic is as active today as it was years ago. For example, not too long ago the volunteer presidents of three national groups, Ducks Unlimited, Trout Unlimited and Muskies Inc., were all residents of the Madison area. The Wisconsin chapters of Ducks Unlimited and the National Wild Turkey Federation have often led the nation in fund raising and membership.

    Built on an isthmus, Madison is bounded by Lakes Monona and Mendota, which are also connected by the Yahara River to Lakes Waubesa and Kegonsa.

    The State Capitol building anchors the downtown, which one block away is the headquarters for the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources. Just down State Street is the University of Wisconsin-Madison campus with the Wildlife Ecology Department (originally the world's first department of game management).

    On Madison's west side is the UW-Madison Arboretum, where researchers learn about managing and restoring natural ecosystems, and close by is the National Wildlife Health Laboratory which investigates wildlife health problems throughout the country.

    A short drive away is the International Crane Foundation, which helped bring whooping cranes back to Wisconsin; Frank Lloyd Wright's Taliesin; and the UW-Stevens Point with its Conservation Hall of Fame and where the Becoming An Outdoors Woman program was founded and flourishes.

    Other nearby attractions include Horicon National Wildlife Refuge, trout and salmon fishing on Lake Michigan, nationally-respected trout fishing on area spring creeks, and the Ice Age Trail.

    Within a two-hour drive of Madison is Lake Michigan on the state's eastern border, and two hours west is the bluff-lined Mississippi River. Further north is the National and Scenic St. Croix River, on the state's northwestern border and on the north is Lake Superior.

    Northern Wisconsin is heavily forested interspersed with excellent bass, walleye and musky fishing lakes, and the South is gently rolling farmland and woodlots.

    Fishing opportunities vary from the golden perch of Madison's Lake Mendota to the lake sturgeon spearing season on Lake Winnebago. Hunting opportunities are abundant. The 2000 white-tailed deer hunting season (including gun, bow, muzzleloader, and Native American seasons) resulted in a record deer harvest (for any state, any season) of 618,000 deer. The state sold more than 900,000 licenses that year.

    Hunters also pursue ruffed grouse, waterfowl, ring-necked pheasant, bear, wild turkey and other small game species. Wild turkey have been a resounding success, with the reintroduction of 300 wild turkeys (live trapped in Missouri) in the 1970s, leading to today's abundant population and a spring harvest of more than 40,000 birds.

    Turkey hunters have set the standard, with most participating in voluntary turkey hunting clinics and funding special landowner appreciation days.

    Wisconsin's hunters own an array of dogs used to hunt ruffed grouse, pheasants, waterfowl and bears, and they participate in many dog training events throughout the year.

    Just north of Madison is the site each August for the Ducks Unlimited Great Outdoors Festival, last May Pope & Young held its 2003 Biennial convention in Madison, and in 2005 the Outdoor Writers Association of America will hold its annual meeting in Madison.

    Madison, Wisc., has a rich outdoor heritage. It's no surprise ESPN chose this place for the 2004 Great Outdoor Games.