Site 20 Buffalo Lake History Trail

Site 20 Buffalo Lake History Trail

This Marquette County boat landing has a surprise....a short nature trail that leads to a historical kiosk with information about the First People to live on this land as well as the railroad that once ran between Packwaukee and Montello. The kiosk was put up with volunteer labor and paid for with donations. Muirland Bird Club planted native Snowdrift Crabapple trees and also has installed some birdhouses including a Wood Duck house. It was a community effort to make this little gem on Buffalo Lake.

Below is an activity sheet you can use to learn about the First People of what is now Marquette County. Find the answers on the history panels. (There's a cheat sheet included.)

Then read on the kiosk about the very important railroad that once carried mail, people, granite, and other products from Montello.

Besides steamboats and barges, boats like the one above carried picnickers, families and even workers back and forth on Buffalo Lake.

Buffalo Lake gets its name from Lac du Boeuf, a French phrase meaning Lake of Beef or Buffalo. There is a story that the name was given when the last Buffalo was chased into the lake. No documentation or evidence has been unearthed that supports this as a true story. The animals many call buffalo are actually North American Bison. The explorers called them buffalo because they looked like water buffalo from India and the Middle East. In fact, they are not related to buffalo, but are their own species, the North American Bison. Bison once roamed across Wisconsin but were all gone well before the first settlers came to build homes and plow the prairies. You can still see Bison at Bison Ridge Ranch on County Road D south of Packwaukee when the caretaker moves the big animals that are bred there to roadside pastures.