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Boat Hoist Used to Traverse Different Water Elevations
Locks and dams are the typical mode of raising and lowering boat traffic from different water elevations. However, if you are trying to explore the Three Lakes Chain of Lakes, you may come across this boat lift that will move boats the 8 foot water elevation difference between the Eagle River Chain of Lakes and the Three Lakes Chain of Lakes.



The Eagle River-Three Lakes chain — a series of 29 lakes that is the largest freshwater chain in the world. It encompasses 179 miles of shoreline with a combined surface area of 11,600 acrea. To get across the Burnt Rollways Dam, the gantry hoist is available every day during the summer.

The first boat hoist opened in 1911 with a water wheel used to move boats in a cart up an inclined railway. The water wheel was swapped for an electric motor a couple of decades later, but by the late '40s as larger boats moved into the chains of lakes, a new system was needed.

Bob Wylie was hired as a civil engineer for the Wisconsin Valley Improvement Co. in 1947. Locks were considered, but the electric gantry boat hoist was ultimately chosen because it was much cheaper, Wylie said. Inspired by gantry cranes used at shipyards, Wylie devised the current system in 1952 using hoisting mechanisms from winches cannibalized from surplus military 21/2-ton trucks.

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Lake Quitman’s Water Hyacinth Has Returned - Difficult to control due to its high rate of reproduction and the persistence of seed banks in the sediment, water hyacinth reproduces rapidly and can quickly cover large portions of a lake’s surface, blocking access for boaters, reducing dissolved oxygen available for fish and other aquatic organisms and generally impairing water quality.


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