Seal of Dane County County of Dane
County Executive's Office

Nearly $1.5 Million Lock & Dam Restoration, Increase of Public Fishing Access, in Dane County Parks

March 30, 2012
Casey Slaughter Becker, Office of the County Executive 608.267.8823 or cell, 608.843.8858, Kevin Connors, Land and Water Resource Department, 608.224.3730
County Executive

Babcock and LaFollette Locks and Dams Will be Closed for Extended Time During Much Needed Upgrades


Work has already begun on a nearly $1.5 million project that will restore the county’s Babcock and LaFollette locks and dams, and increase public fishing access in those county parks, Dane County Executive Joe Parisi announced today. 


The facilities, located at Babcock County Park on Lake Waubesa in McFarland and LaFollette County Park on Lake Kegonsa in Stoughton, are popular shoreline fishing sites and used as access up and down the river for canoes and other small watercraft. 


Due to safety concerns these structures are now closed to public access during the construction project.  Watercraft will be required to portage around the dams and fishing opportunities will be limited to the shoreline areas adjacent to the dams. 


“Our Babcock and LaFollette dams are getting some much needed work that will increase boater safety and public fishing access in two popular county parks,” said Parisi.  “The construction may be inconvenient for some, but we’re confident citizens will enjoy the improved water recreation afterwards.”

Phase one of the project will primarily restore the 75-year old concrete, dating back to 1930s when the dams were built.  Much of the work will occur underwater where years of erosion has worn away portions of the concrete walls. 


Funding approval for phase 2 of the project was approved at Thursday’s meeting of the Dane County Board.  It will include updating the dam or spillway gates used for water control, replacing the lock gates and control mechanisms and then installing barrier fencing to bring the facility up to safety code.


Increased fishing opportunities will continue to be a focus for both of these facilities as well.  Phase two will also include fishing decks to fish below the spillways.  Future projects include expanded fishing platforms and parking improvements. 

The project will be funded in part through a $500,000 grant from the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources.