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Friends group proposes new educational, interpretive and outdoor recreation center at Devil's Lake State Park

By Central Office June 5, 2018

Contact(s): Missy Vanlanduyt, Wis. State Parks, 608-266-7617 Steve Schmelzer, Devil's Lake State Park, 608-356-8301, or Paul Holtan, DNR Office of Communications, 608-267-7517

BARABOO, Wis. - The Friends of Devil's Lake State Park in conjunction with the Devil's Lake Concession Board are proposing to develop a new Multi-Use Educational, Interpretive and Outdoor Recreation Center at the park that would to be open year-round and have the capacity to host additional and more diverse programing.

In addition to educational programming, the new facility could house interactive and passive interpretive exhibits, multi-use gathering and classroom space, gift shop/sale area as well as serving as an introduction to all different types of recreation offered on public lands.

Friends of Devil's Lake State Park are currently seeking a firm to develop a schematic design for the new center that will include analysis and recommendations for siting the facility, focused on a few primary locations within the park.

Friends of Devil's Lake State Park have reached out to a number of firms requesting their qualifications and has posted a request for qualifications on their website. Qualifications are due July 9, 2018 and a firm is anticipated to be selected by the end of August.

The selected firm/design team has an anticipated timeline of work from September 2018-May 2019. Once the selected firm is on board, Friends, DNR and various partners and stakeholders will begin brainstorming the detail elements of this exciting new facility. Once a site is selected, the department will work through any master plan updates that are required.

"We are excited to partner with the Friends and other stakeholders to create cutting-edge new facility that brings together education, interpretation and outdoor recreation," Ben Bergey, State Parks director. "This facility will be the gateway to our state parks and recreation lands and enhance our visitors experience year-round."

The Friends of Devil's Lake will fund the entire facility, which will meet all state standards and codes. The donation of the facility would need approval of the state Natural Resources Board. More information can be found on the Friends of Devil's Lake State Park website at: friendsofdevilslake.org/Interpretive-Center-Project (exit DNR).

Devil's Lake State Park in Baraboo, established in 1911, is the largest state park in Wisconsin at 9,217 acres. The park attracts approximately 3 million visitors each year, on par with the top 10 visitation numbers for National Parks such as Grand Teton National Park and Glacier National Park. The park is one of nine units of the Ice Age National Scientific Reserve in Wisconsin and hosts almost 15 miles of the Ice Age National Scenic Trail.

The current Nature Center contains historical photographs, a three-dimensional landform model of the park terrain and hands-on items.

Last Revised: Tuesday, June 05, 2018

Contact information

For more information about news and media, contact:
James Dick
Director of Communications
608-267-2773