‘It’s going to be a gateway facility’: Work begins on new educational center for Devil’s Lake’s North Shore

BARABOO, WIS. – After nearly 40 years of planning, Devil’s Lake could see progress on an educational interpretive center on the park’s north shore.

The Friend’s of Devil’s Lake group says they’re currently working with multiple partners to conduct a feasibility study, which would determine its ability to raise the $15-18 million the project would cost.

“The educational interpretive center was actually in the 1982 master plan,” said Friends of Devil’s Lake President Bernadette Greenwood. “The DNR master plan decades and decades ago. It just never got completed. Obviously, when you’re working with governments, you have to get budgets, you have to get funding. It just started and stopped many times, just never got to this point.”

Preliminary designs for the center have already been drawn up, although a final design has not yet been approved.

“It’s going to be what we call a gateway facility,” Greenwood said. “By that, it’s not a gateway to Devils Lake State Park, but other state parks in Wisconsin.”

The feasibility study could take months to complete.

The parks program is looking forward to continuing to work with the Friends of Devil’s Lake State Park and the Devil’s Lake Concession Corporation on this exciting project,” said DNR Superintendent Jim Carter in a statement. “This future new state-of-the-art facility will advance visitor services and education well into the future.”

Greenwood said the site would feature educational portions that would teach visitors about the park’s history.

“Education is hugely important to me,” she said. “I believe that the more we educate people, the more people would respect. If more people are educated to how special Devils Lake is, not just to go for a hike, maybe they wouldn’t do graffiti. Maybe they’d think about putting garbage, or dumping something on the ground here, and respecting (the park) a little better.”

Greenwood said once the feasibility study is complete, fundraising efforts could begin.