09/28/18 Update: DNR boat landing at Lost Land Lake NOW OPEN for public use!

UPDATED SEPTEMBER 28, 2018 — The Wisconsin DNR access facility in Landing Camp Bay of Lost Land Lake has been re-opened for public use. It had been closed since August 6. There is still some seeding and mulching to occur before the silt-retention curtains are removed, but the enlarged parking area is ready for use, as are the wide, long, non-slip concrete boat ramp and disabled-accessible courtesy dock. With many Wisconsin communities in need of such improvements, we are very lucky to have such quality facilities to enable boater access to Lost Land and Teal lakes. These facilities were funded to a significant extent by “Sport Fish Restoration” funds — money allocated to the states by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service based on revenues generated by a nationwide excise tax on marine sporting equipment, fishing tackle, etc.

WDNR’s new concrete boat ramp and disabled-accessible courtesy dock are ready for use now that metal sheet pilings (used in temporary coffer dam) have been transported offsite. Photos by Bryan Neuswanger of Keenai Photography.
The wide dock is accessible to users with reduced mobility. Please read and heed the regulations posted on the new bulletin board.
The non-slip surface on the new concrete boat ramp should facilitate launching/loading.

Status of Temporary Public Boat Landing

At their own expense, Ralph and Helen Hlavin at “The Retreat at Lost Land Lake” hastily upgraded their private boat launching facilities for the general public to use free of charge during the DNR facility renovation period. Their granddaughter, Samantha Smith, coordinated construction while handling day-to-day management of the resort. This private resort facility is still available for general public use, but a nominal fee will be charged to some users in the future, as follows:

$5.00 for residents of Sawyer County
$10.00 for folks who reside outside Sawyer County
NO CHARGE to guests of “The Retreat” AND to MEMBERS of the Quiet Lakes Improvement Association

The QLIA is grateful to Ralph, Helen, and Samantha for providing free public access during the WDNR access renovation period, and for rewarding QLIA members with continued free access for those who find it more convenient than the WDNR facility.

A concrete ramp with non-slip surface and proper slope allowed safe launching of any and all watercraft. A courtesy dock adjoined the ramp for user convenience.

The Retreat’s upgraded boat ramp is bordered by a recently established “rain garden” (on right in photo) set with wetland plants that will enhance riparian beauty and function — capturing any overland flow of water, sediments, and nutrients into the lake. Samantha Smith, who is also a QLIA Water Quality Program volunteer, planned and installed the rain garden with planting help from Bryan Neuswanger.
Boat ramp and courtesy dock at “The Retreat” as viewed from the water.

A single-lane entrance road terminates in a wide gravel pull-up where vehicles with trailers can make a 3-point turn to back their boat trailers down to the ramp. NO PARKING IN THE LAUNCH AREA.

Wide gravel area available for vehicles with trailers to pull up (to right in photo) and then back boat trailers down to the ramp (on left).

Public parking was directed up the hill from the access.

Parking is available a short walk uphill from the ramp. BACK vehicles with trailers onto grass, perpendicular to asphalt drive.

A bulletin board near the water provides boating and fishing regulations and also warnings to check boats and trailers for aquatic invasive species. WE DO NOT WANT TO TRANSPORT HYBRID EURASIAN WATER MILFOIL FROM LOST LAND LAKE TO OTHER AREA WATERS.

Users are encouraged to read boating and fishing regulation signs, and to inspect/remove any aquatic plants from boats and trailers.
QLIA Photographer Bryan Neuswanger’s best friend, Keenai, inspects and approves of the underwater slope of the upgraded boat ramp at The Retreat.


The following photos taken on August 31, 2018 show the coffer dam (metal pilings surrounded by a yellow silt retention curtain) was still in place. The new ramp base had been graded below water line. Concrete had been poured the previous week, but it was removed due to failure to meet WDNR contract specifications. The parking area was full of spoil piles (including recently removed concrete and steel re-rod) and machinery (Caterpillar excavator and large water pump). A new concrete slab was poured on Thursday, September 6.

WDNR Boat Ramp Renovation Site inside metal coffer dam and yellow silt curtain on August 31, 2018.
The boat ramp area was graded below water line inside the coffer dam (August 31, 2018).
The parking lot served as a staging area for machines & materials during construction (August 31, 2018).

Project Justification

A complete renovation of the WDNR facility in Landing Camp Bay is needed after several years of ice damage and power loading rendered the current boat landing difficult if not downright unsafe to use. There is no good time to do this. Construction cannot be done during the “off season” because the project requires open water and temperatures warm enough to pour and cure concrete.

There are no good alternatives for launching boats on public land around Lost Land or Teal lakes. The gravel landing just north of Highway 77 on Larson Road, on the upper end of the Teal River Flowage, is sloped so shallowly that vehicles must back completely into the water to float a boat off a trailer, with some risk of getting stuck in the soft sediments there. This site is useful only for small-craft access (kayaks or canoes). There is no off-road parking at Larson Road either. The only other “boat landing” on public land is on a decent gravel slope just upstream of the rock roller dam on the Teal River Flowage about 1.5 miles south of Highway 77 on U.S. Forest Service land at the end of a short access road off Route S. It’s a long, slow ride up to Teal Lake from there, and there is room for only 2-3 vehicles with trailers to park.

Permit Review and Issuance for Alternate Access

The Hlavins needed permits from both WDNR and the Township of Spider Lake in order to proceed with repairs to their private boat ramp at The Retreat. WDNR approved shortly after learning the intent and scope of the project. The Township of Spider Lake Plan and Review Commission held a public hearing to consider the Hlavins’ Conditional Use Request on Wednesday, April 4, 2018 at 6:00 p.m. at the Spider Lake Town Hall. With approval of the QLIA Executive Committee, I attended the hearing and spoke in support of the project as a benefit to the entire lake community. I expressed appreciation to the Hlavins for their willingness to help all lake users make the best of an inconvenient situation. Members of the public and the Plan and Review Commission asked good questions and offered input that helped the Hlavins to resubmit their permit application with requested details aimed at addressing any lingering concerns. The Plan and Review Commission reconsidered the revised application at their May 2, 2018 meeting. After constructive discussion, they voted unanimously (4-0) to recommend approval to the Township of Spider Lake Board. The TOSL Board met on May 10, 2018. Under Brian Hucker’s leadership, they unanimously approved issuance of the required Conditional Use Permit.

Thanks again to Ralph and Helen Hlavin for spending the time and money needed to maintain public access to our lakes during WDNR’s facility renovation. Boat launching at The Retreat will be free of charge during the WDNR facility renovation period. Afterward, the Hlavins may charge a nominal fee for general public access at The Retreat in order to help defray costs of repairing and maintaining their boat ramp.

Thanks also to our partners at WDNR and the TOSL for engaging in a thorough, conscientious review before approving this project.

Dave Neuswanger
QLIA President