Contact(s): Mary Rose Teves, DNR community financial assistance bureau director, 608-267-7683, firstname.lastname@example.org; Jennifer Sereno, DNR communications, 608-770-8084, Jennifer.Sereno@wisconsin.gov
FLORENCE, Wis. - Construction of a new Florence County boat launch represents one of the many ways the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources works with partners to improve access to great fishing and other outdoor recreation opportunities.
The launch, which involved a $157,331 grant from the state, was matched with funds from the federal Sport Fish Restoration program as well as support from Florence County to provide road access and funds for ongoing maintenance. While the Kingsford Flowage project was awarded during the 2015 grant cycle, in 2016, DNR provided funding for 38 projects to expand recreational boating access, provide for clean vessels or extend sportfishing opportunities. The deadline for the next funding cycle of recreational boating facilities grants is June 1, 2017.
"The new Florence County boat launch reflects years of dedicated effort by DNR, the county and outdoor enthusiasts who committed their time and talent to make the project a reality," said Mary Rose Teves, director of the DNR Bureau of Community Financial Assistance. "Access to the Kingsford Flowage, part of the Menominee River running between Wisconsin and Michigan's Upper Peninsula, opens up nearly 500 acres on the Kingsford Flowage to anglers and other visitors who will bring tourism dollars to the area. The new landing also will help DNR staff better monitor fish populations and the lake's ecology."
Patrick Smith, Florence County forestry and parks administrator, said he anticipates many more visitors to the area as a result of the new boat launch. The 6.5 -mile stretch of river did not previously offer direct access from the Wisconsin side.
"We're pleased to see this project completed as it provides for motorized, non-motorized and handicap access to the flowage," Smith said. "Previously, the only access to the flowage on the Wisconsin side involved driving down a one-lane dirt road to an unimproved landing on the Pine River, which was still one mile upstream from the flowage. Given the great northern pike fishery, solid bass populations and developing musky fishery, we know this launch will be welcomed by anglers."
Teves said the Kingsford Flowage project included construction of a new access road, boat launch and parking lot as well as handicap accessible parking, restroom and boarding dock. The project, within the boundary of the Spread Eagle Barrens State Natural Area, also should enhance public enjoyment of the area's unique open grasslands and pine barrens. The access site incorporates environmentally protective design features such as stormwater collection, infiltration and vegetative buffer best management practices.
State recreational boating facilities grants may be applied for by counties, towns, cities, villages, tribes, sanitary districts, public inland lake districts and qualified lake associations for a variety of projects. Examples include ramps and service docks to gain access to the water, feasibility studies, purchase of aquatic weed harvesting equipment, navigation aids and dredging waterway channels.