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New boat house eases overcrowding at Devil’s Lake

December 18, 2018

A new boat rental facility at Devil’s Lake State Park helped ease overcrowding at the North Shore Chateau since opening last spring, a park official said.

Park Superintendent Steve Schmelzer said Glenville Timberwrights of Baraboo “did a real nice job” designing the building that now stands to the north of the Chateau. He noted it features similar architecture to the Chateau, such as the same roofline and brown siding. The Glenville Timberwrights also incorporated quartzite stone pillars.

“People really like how it fits in down there with the Chateau” and other historical buildings, Schmelzer said. Some have even asked if it recently was painted — not realizing the whole structure was new — and commented on “how nice it looked,” he said.

Managed by the Devil’s Lake Concessions Corp., boat rentals previously were handled at a makeshift counter at the loading dock on the west side of the North Shore Chateau.

The new structure includes changing rooms on its backside, which Schmelzer said are “extremely popular.” People who want to change into a swimsuit no longer have to wait in line for the chateau bathrooms.

“That made a big difference,” he said.

A $105,000 donation from the Friends of Devil’s Lake State Park and the concessions business financed the new boat facility. Construction started in fall of 2017 and was finished by spring. It opened for the concession season that started in May, according to park assistant superintendent James Carter.

“In general, everything worked out smoothly,” Carter said.

The Visitor Center, built in the late 1980s, was probably the last major structure built on the North Shore, Schmelzer said.

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