Visitors to the south shore at Devil’s Lake State Park may not immediately notice the new doors and windows on one of the park shelters, but a peek inside the building reveals a completely renovated space, featuring a contemporary cabin style with shiny new surfaces.
The Red Oak Shelter, owned by the state Department of Natural Resources and managed by the Devil’s Lake Concession Corp., received roughly $85,000 in improvements since late fall, said Concession Corp. General Manager Kevin Flock.
“Essentially, there was dry rot and things within the building,” he said. “It was in disrepair.”
Now it has wood-look ceramic floors, a heating and cooling system, a counter and sink for food preparation and windows that seal — a change from the old windows, some of which had up to 1-inch gaps, Flock said. Interior work is already done, allowing the space to be rented, but some exterior work remains, such as painting.
The concession organization paid for the renovations.
At 60-by-35 feet, the building can accommodate up to 100 people, according to the DNR. It connects to the adjacent concession building by an overhanging roof. The shelter can be reserved by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org for a fee that varies based on several factors, Flock said.
The Red Oak is the only enclosed shelter on the south shore, though there is another on the north shore, the Rock Elm, which can be reserved for $80 through the state’s reservation system. Three open-air shelters are available for reservation with fees ranging from $45-55. Reservable shelters come with electricity and tables.
There are three non-reservable open-air shelters on the south shore and two on the north shore, which are free to use.
Lara Flock, Kevin’s wife and reservation manager, said Red Oak has been popular already.
“May has been very busy, October looks very busy,” she said. “People are already interested in next year.”
But she noted there are still openings throughout the summer. The DNR allows shelter rentals from mid-April to Oct. 31.
“We’d still love to have anybody,” Lara Flock said. “(Red Oak is) perfect for family reunions, weddings, business meetings even — a lot of people in May have done that — so the word is getting out.”