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May 26, 2018

9/12/2017 7:28:00 AM
Burning brighter: Torch Lake campground to receive more upgrades

Evan J. Pretzer
Lakeland Times reporter

In a meeting of the Vilas County Forestry Committee last Wednesday, county parks and recreation administrator Dale Mayo revealed more updates are coming to the Torch Lake Campground & RV Park.

The planned additions include a new shower and toilet facility, paving the road to the main entrance and construction of a wash station for all-terrain vehicles.

For Mayo, even though the park only opened in August and people seem to enjoy it, there's always more work to be done.

"We've only been open for a few weeks and I've received a lot of positive feedback, but the Torch Lake park needs a rehab badly," he said. "We need to expand the parking. We've got an ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act) path on the road but when you get into the park itself it's not ADA accessible."

Under Title III of the ADA, public accommodations like campgrounds, restaurants and hotels must make reasonable accommodations for those with disabilities or risk legal action from the Department of Justice.

At urging from committee chairman Steve Doyen to adress this, Mayo conceded upgrading the park in order to be properly ADA compliant would require more grant money from outside parties.

For current renovations - which cost more than $300,000 - $200,000 of the funds are provided by the Wisconsin ATV Association with the remaining $100,000 provided by the county.

The ATV Association is a state fund which uses registration fees from ATVs in order to aid in funding of new wilderness trails and support facilities in rural recreation areas.

As Mayo's report drew to a close, Doyen also called for more children's recreational items to be installed in the park.

"All we have for kids is swings? We don't gotta be extravagant, but if we can make this better we should put a few playthings in that park," Doyen said.

Phase two of construction is planned to be completed by Memorial Day 2018. After this, Mayo intends to play any further work by ear.

"After phase two we'll kind of assess it as it goes. If the campground is as successful as we anticipate it being, we could be looking at building more units, which would be a phase 3. But we'll wait and see how the vacancies are out there," Mayo said.

Evan J. Pretzer may be reached via email at evan@lakelandtimes.com.

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