Wazee Lake is a popular location for a day at the beach or scuba diving. The lake was the site of the former Jackson County Iron Mine quarry. The mine was in operation from the early sixties until April of 1983. Approximately 850,00 tons of iron-rich taconite pellets were produced at the mine each year, with the bulk of them used for steel production in mills located in East Chicago, Indiana. A crash of the domestic steel markets in the United States contributed to the decision to close the mine.
While the mine was actively producing ore, several high capacity pumps expelled more than 800 gallons of water per minute from the quarry. Once the pumps were removed, the quarry began filling and formed this unique lake.
Today, Wazee Lake is recognized as the deepest inland lake in the State of Wisconsin with a maximum depth of 355 feet.
Dive fees are $10.00/day for each individual diver using the lake, or $75.00/calendar year for each diver. Dive fees are required all year. Admission fees are also required which are $3.00/vehicle/day or $20.00/vehicle/year. Vehicle admission fees are required between Memorial Day and Labor Day, and dive fees are required all year. Fees can be paid at the contact station between Memorial Day and Labor Day, or divers can self-register at the contact station in the absence of a park attendant.
Use of a dive flag is mandatory and is enforced by local law enforcement. Snorkeling and diving equipment may be rented from Wazee Sports. (715) 284-5181.
Other activities exist on site for additional recreational enjoyment. Many miles of hiking and gravel surfaced bicycle trails wind through a mosaic of prairie and forests. Several scenic overlooks are currently under construction as well as improved picnic and sanitary facilities. Construction of a large beach and boat launch complex was completed in 1996.
Other sunbathing or swimming opportunities are Lake Arbutus in Hatfield and Pettibone Beach in La Crosse.