(8/15/12) Jackson County Forestry and Parks Officials state that Lake Wazee Beach remains open.
Christine Hovell, Jackson County Health Officer, states that testing completed by USDA officials identified that the water is safe for swimming and continued testing has not shown any issues of bacteria in the water. Routine testing of Lake Wazee Beach throughout the summer every year has shown that illness causing contaminants in the water have been practically non-existent. The beach closure appears to be an isolated event and Lake Wazee remains a prime destination for families and outdoor enthusiasts of all ages, due to its beauty, pristine water and opportunities for swimming, diving, camping and recreational opportunities.
Norovirus was identified as the cause for persons who became ill during the July 4th weekend. Norovirus is a common virus that can occur in any environment where persons are in close contact with one another and has occurred in large numbers in summer camps, nursing homes, schools, daycares etc. This virus causes stomach illness such as vomiting and diarrhea and can cause fever, headache and chills. Persons usually recover from the virus in a couple of days as long as they remain hydrated.
Lake Wazee Beach area includes nearly 3 acres of white sand, a sand volleyball court, shelter for family or special events and picnic areas at a variety of areas around the beach. Wazee Lake is a 146-acre lake east of Black River Falls, Jackson County, in the Mississippi-Chippewa Rivers Region of Wisconsin. The lake is the deepest lake in the state, with a maximum depth of approximately 350 feet. The lake was originally used as a quarry for taconite (low-grade iron ore) mining and was the site of the former Jackson County Iron Mine quarry. The mine was in operation from the early sixties until April of 1983. Wazee Lake has become the most popular scuba diving site in the Midwest, attracting more than 1000 divers annually. The lake is non-motorized to ensure protection of the pristine water quality, and to promote a "quiet" recreational experience.
The area offers 12 rustic campsites with pit toilets and water, 9 miles of hiking trail, 3 miles of surfaced bicycle trail, a large beach, picnic areas, handicap fishing pier, boat launch and several scenic vistas of the surrounding forest land.
Naturalists and wildlife enthusiasts visiting Wazee Lake will enjoy the beautiful surrounding woodlands, grasslands and water ways that provide habitat for whitetail deer, muskrats, beavers, mink, otters, and an occasional timber wolf. Also in abundance are dozens of songbirds and raptors including owls, hawks, and eagles, and thousands of migrating waterfowl in the spring and fall.
Lake Wazee Beach and Recreation area is open from 6 a.m. until 11:00 p.m. from May through November.
For more information about Lake Wazee please visit www.co.jackson.wi.us.