WEAU | Eau Claire, Wisconsin | News, Weather, & Sports

Underwater Attraction

By: Erica Dao
By: Erica Dao

At first sight, it looks like a rescue effort. But look a little deeper and you'll find a new attraction.
"Divers find that things get boring after awhile; seeing underwater forest that we have and fish. So if we can add attractions underwater, that’s going to bring old divers back,” said Keith Cormican, Wazee Sports Center owner.
The DNR was leery about adding the boat to the lake, fearing it would affect its quality. Lake Wazee is one of the clearest lakes in Wisconsin, a ground water fed lake.
After seven years, the DNR determined that the boat wouldn't harm the lake. Permits were processed and action was taken.
"We steam-cleaned it and stripped all the old paint off to make sure the boat wouldn't be affecting the water quality,” said Jon Schweitzer of Jackson County Forestry and Parks.
Keith Cormican, owner of the Wazee Sports Center, says there’s been a significant increase in diving activity in the past 10 years.
"They come from all over. Iowa, Michigan, Minnesota, Illinois. On any given weekend, you can see anywhere between 100 to 200 divers out here,” said Cormican.
Lake Wazee was the former Jackson County iron mine from 1968 to 1983. After the county took it over, they allowed the site to fill with water.
It has become a hot spot for divers. About 2500 divers use the lake annually, and with depths up to 352 feet, a lot of technical training takes place. Recreational diving is also popular. That added with training generates about $35,000 in revenue a year.
"We're hoping over the course of time, if we add any additional amenities here, we can increase our revenue hopefully 15 to 20 percent,” said Schweitzer.
The boat is a pilot project for now and if it proves to be successful, divers may have other things to look for.


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