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HUDSON, WI — Little Falls Lake at Willow River State Park will be drawn down, which will limit water recreation at the park.
The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources is planning to draw down the lake and inspect the dam on the Willow River. The duration of the drawdown will depend on results of the inspection, according to Aaron Mason, Willow River State Park superintendent.
The nearly 3,000-acre Willow River State Park is located in St. Croix County in northwestern Wisconsin, just northeast of the city of Hudson. The park is known for its panoramic river scenery, including the 100-foot wide and 45 foot high Willow Falls.
The Willow River State Park swimming beach, boat launch, and canoe and kayak rental will be closed for the duration of the project. The picnic area at the dam may also need to be partially closed during the dam inspection. The drawdown will also coincide with a major construction project at the Willow River beach, which will replace the old bath house and restroom building. A new restroom facility and outdoor picnic shelter will be constructed in its place.
“The drawdown should have no effect on the waterfall or the river upstream. Trout fishing should remain good on the upstream portion of the Willow River. Below the dam will also be fishable,” Mason said.
There are more than 15 miles of hiking trails available for visitors to explore the park. The park’s 150 family campsites and four group sites will also be fully functional. Camping reservations can be made by visiting www.WIPARKS.NET or by calling 1-888-WIPARKS (1-888-947-2757).
Along with park employees, DNR dam safety, water management and fisheries staff will be involved in the project throughout its duration. Public informational meetings will be held periodically throughout the process.
People who are interested in receiving updates on the park or this project can subscribe to email updates by searching the Department of Natural Resources website, dnr.wi.gov, for keyword “Willow River.”
For more information on Willow River call the park office at 715-386-5931. For more information about the dam inspection process, contact Craig Thompson, DNR district land representative at 608-785-1277.
“With the cooperation of the community and patrons of the park, Willow River State Park will continue to make life long memories and strengthen one’s connection with nature,” Mason said.