Lake Delton reopens 1 year later

June 10, 2009 4:17:26 AM PDT
The Wisconsin Dells has celebrated the restoration of Lake Delton.One year ago, Lake Delton was drained during heavy flooding along the Wisconsin River.

Now, the lake is full of water and hope once again.

Lake Delton is located north of Madison in the resort area known as the Wisconsin Dells.

The Tommy Bartlett Water Ski Show apparently only made 10 percent of what it usually makes in the summertime last year. They're hoping to do a lot better this year. They did a free show Tuesday night, and the entire community is welcoming the reopening of Lake Delton.

Practice was intense, with only a couple of weeks to learn new routines. But the Tommy Bartlett ski show is back on the water.

"Some people just ran off the dock and jumped off the lake in their clothes. It was like everyone is so happy to see water knit. It was a good time the first time we all saw the water together," said Caleb Turzinski, Tommy Barlett water skier.

The water ski team couldn't perform last season. There was no water.

"When the lake level came up, the underflow, which went underneath the home, super saturated that sugar sand. It became an emulsion and it started falling into the river, and there was no way of stopping it," said Tom Diehl, Tommy Bartlett GM & village trustee.

Torrential rain washed out a berm of Delton Lake in Wisconsin Dells. The breach drained the lake in three hours in the Wisconsin River.

"That's why today is so rewarding. There is no way in the world that any of the businesses that were affected last year could have possibly survived two summers without a lake. So they all would have been out of business, including ourselves," said Diehl.

After a mammoth effort from the village and state, the berm is rebuilt and the dam reinforced. Most importantly, the lake is back with its famous land and water Duck tours.

"It was amazing how it didn't look a whole lot different than it did last year when we were here. Everything looked pretty much like it had last time we were here. They did a really nice job putting everything back together," said Christie Nielsen, Duck tourist.

On Tuesday, the village officially reopened the lake to the amazement of visitors.

"This looks exactly like it was when I was a child, the lake and the woods, the pine trees, everything. It's a beautiful setting," said Wendy Schilling, visitor.

The businesses around the Wisconsin Dells typically do well during a recession. People don't want to go far, so they just take a nearby trip to some of these businesses. They're hoping that now that lake is back the businesses do well and can hopefully make up some of the lost business from last year.


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