From sometime in the mid 1960’s to 1983, about 850,000 tons of taconite pellets were taken from the quarry in Brockway, WI, just east of Black River Falls, to supply steel production operations. When the steel market crashed, so did the taconite quarry business, causing the Jackson County Mining Company to cease operations at the quarry. After the heavy equipment was removed, the pumps that relieved the quarry of 800 gallons of water per minute, were turned off and the hole began to fill. The resulting body of water was named Lake Wazee, “wazee” meaning tall pine in Ho-Chunk language.
Today, Lake Wazee is part of the Jackson County park system’s Wazee Recreation Area, a haven for hikers, ATV enthusiasts, as well as fishermen, swimmers and of course scuba divers. Lake Wazee, Wisconsin’s deepest lake, with a maximum depth of 355ft, has developed into a great place to scuba dive, with training platforms, underwater forests, a small wreck and several fish cribs to explore. Native fish species include, brown, brook and rainbow trout, bluegill, suckers, walleye, warmouth and smallmouth bass. The water is exceptionally clear and there are nice shaded set up areas, providing the setting for a great relaxing day of diving.
I am always fantasizing about places I wish could be flooded and used for diving, but I doubt they will ever flood Chicago’s magnificent mile so divers can swim through the stores, so I will be happy with repurposed rock quarries. Team Manta has an outing planned at Lake Wazee the first weekend in August. We will drive up on the 2nd and then dive the 3rd and 4th. I hope you will join us. New divers are welcome!
|Hanging with my Gnome Boyz!|