Devil’s Lake State Park set record attendance totals this year.
Visitation to Wisconsin’s most popular state park has increased by nearly 50 percent since 2010, rising from 1.7 million annual visitors at the time to 2.6 million in 2016, according to estimates from the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources. Park attendance for 2017 was at 2.8 million last month, and park officials expected the ascent would continue.
Parks leaders said the increased attendance at Devil’s Lake has led to several changes. Construction crews have expanded the entryway on the park’s north shore and are finishing up an additional lane on the south shore as well. An automated park pass kiosk also recently was installed on the south shore entrance.
The park has upgraded infrastructure and facilities with help from the Friends of Devil’s Lake group and the Devil’s Lake Concessions Corp. The groups donated $105,000 to Devil’s Lake State Park in September to construct a new boat rental facility on the north shore.
The Concessions Corp. plans to use the building to expand its guided kayak tours and begin offering hiking and boating tours. The group also may explore partnerships with local outfitters to offer other recreational opportunities, like scuba diving and rock climbing.