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Contact(s): Kathryn Gehrke, Wisconsin State Parks, 608-264-8994 or Paul Holtan, DNR Office of Communications, 608-267-7517
May 7, 2019

Special event will result in some property and lake closed areas

MADISON - Visitors to Devil's Lake State Park on the weekend of May 18-19 will find Wisconsin's busiest state park is going to be even busier, as the park plays host to the 2019 Big Ten Rowing Championships.

"We are really excited to host this event, but we do need to let park visitors know that this major regatta is going to require some restrictions at the park both on and off the water," said Ben Bergey, Wisconsin State Park System director.

The Big Ten Rowing Championship will be held May 19 at Devil's Lake State Park, resulting in some land and water closures that weekend. - Photo credit: UW-Madison
The Big 10 Rowing Championship will be held May 19 at Devil's Lake State Park, resulting in some land and water closures that weekend.Photo credit: UW-Madison

Eight teams compete in Big Ten rowing with women's programs from Indiana, Iowa, Michigan, Michigan State, Minnesota, Ohio State, Rutgers and Wisconsin fielding teams. Between crew members and their equipment, support and coaching staff along with team families and spectators from many areas, the park will see thousands more visitors than on a typical spring weekend.

On Saturday, areas along the south shore of the park will be restricted so teams can prepare their boats, called shells, and staging areas. On Championship Sunday, the South Shore will continue to have restricted areas, and visitors of the park are encouraged to use the North Shore, Steinke Basin and Roznos Meadow parking areas. On Sunday from 6 a.m. to noon the northwest portion of the north shore will be restricted for the race starting area.

Rowing lanes are established for the races and the lanes will be closed to other watercraft while teams are practicing on the lake on Saturday 8 a.m. to noon and 2 p.m. to 6 p.m. and on Sunday during the races from 6:30 a.m. to 8 a.m. On Sunday, the races begin at 9 a.m. and are scheduled every 20 minutes with the last beginning at 11 a.m.

"We are very proud that one of our premier state parks is able to host such a premier event," Bergey said. "We understand that this may cause some inconvenience for some visitors, but we hope everyone will enjoy seeing these elite athletes competing in a national event."

Devil's Lake State Park is one of Wisconsin's oldest, largest and most visited state park. Its unique bluffs surrounding the lake offer expansive views of the park and surrounding area. For more information about the park, search the Department of Natural Resources website,, for "Devil's Lake."

"The park is fabulous. For rowing it is fabulous," Bebe Bryans, University of Wisconsin-Madison head women's rowing coach noted in a UW news release issued on the event (exit DNR). "It is just long enough and just wide enough to do everything we want. It is surrounded by bluffs, which not only make the water good, but make for incredible viewing. You can see this race course from any part you want to see it from."

The eight-team Big Ten championships will mark the fourth women's rowing event to take place at Devils Lake since 2015. The Badgers' first event took place on May 2, 2015, with Michigan State and Minnesota competing. UW also raced there on Oct. 18, 2015, against Minnesota, and played host to the Big Ten/Big 12 Invite on April 23, 2016, with the Badgers, Minnesota, Oklahoma, Kansas and Iowa taking part. The Wisconsin men's team has also competed there several times since first racing there in 2012.

A daily or annual Wisconsin State Park vehicle admission sticker is required on all motor vehicles entering the park. Visitors planning to attend the event are encouraged to purchase the sticker prior to the event to avoid backups at the entrance station.

Last Revised: Tuesday, May 07, 2019

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