The Berlin Boat Club is proud to announce the reopening of the Eureka Lock. It has been a long road to reopen the lock to traffic for the first time since 2003 when the DNR cancelled the lease with the BBC to operate the lock after almost 50 years of operation.
In 2010 the Wisconsin DNR entered into a lease agreement with the town of Rushford for the Eureka Lock and property and plans went into high gear to determine work required to make the gates operable again. With help of equipment from Magnum Products of Berlin, Berlin Water & Sewer and the Berlin Fire Department, 700,000 gallons of water was removed to allow inspection of the lock. Fundraising began in earnest when it was determined that about $300,000 would be required to do the job. The Berlin Boat Club would again operate and maintain the lock.
The project was to have started last spring and be done in order to open by July 4, 2011. Unusually high water halted the start of the project until October. At that time, the lock was dewatered by BBC members. Contractor CR Meyer arrived on site November 1st. Work was completed December 23rd and Club members christened the new gates on the lock floor Christmas Eve morning. The pumps were then pulled and the lock chamber allowed to fill. Hard work of Berlin Boat Club members, support of other area boat clubs, Friends of the Fox and other organizations has allowed the project to come to fruition. A donation from an anonymous benefactor, an interest free loan and monetary support from across the boating community has allowed the BBC to have the lock gates completely rebuilt, new concrete work done, the turnstiles refurbished, a new parking area and lighting.
Some of the people responsible for making this happen are:
Dick Schramer,Ed Kirchhoff, Dave Peck, Mike Biking, Mike McMonigal, Greg Bins
and many others who worked diligently to complete this project.
Timeline of the Eureka Lock from 2003 – 2012
2003—DNR does not renew BBC’s lease and Lock is closed.
2004—Area hit with a major flood, sets new 100 year flood limits.
2006—Citizens rally in protest to the DNR’s plans to close the Eureka Lock permanently. Group begins looking into having the lock reopened.
2008—Area hit with another major flood.
2009—DNR orders Lock house at Eureka torn down cites flooding weakened structure and extensive mold in interior. They also fill in the septic and plugged two wells.
2010— Campaign underway to find funds to repair and reopen the Eureka Lock.
2011—Major donor comes forward with an interest free loan along with monetary support from across the boating community allowing for lock gates to be completely rebuilt, new concrete work done, the turnstiles refurbished, a new parking area and lighting.
2011—Project was to be done and open by July 4, however, unusually high water halted the start until October.
2011 – October – Work sessions by boat club members throughout the month of October doing necessary work prior to CRM arrival.
2011—October 31—Ready for work to begin to dewater, then repair, refurbish and build lock gates, mechanisms, etc.
2011—November 1—CRM arrived on the site to begin work.
2011—December 23—CRM completed work by noon. Christmas Eve champagne christening.
2012—May 5 – Water level is 13.34 and projected to crest at 13.5 feet. Landscaping to be completed by week before Memorial Day.
2012 – May 17—Water slowly receding. Opening will be delayed by a week or two.
2012 – May 22—Four motors placed and wired on both sides of gates so that they can be opened electrically.
2012 – May 26 – Water level still at 11.78 feet and should be 11.5. Still anticipating opening Saturday, June 2.
2012—June 1— Eureka Lock is now officially open. Mike Bicking and Jeff Weir lock tenders.
2012—Work done and club plans grand reopening of Eureka Lock. Plans including reinstating historic Corn Roast in August.
To the best of our knowledge, we are the only club in the United States which operates and maintain a lock, known as the Eureka Lock. Our goal is to keep the road to Berlin open by water and to improve navigation on the Upper Fox River. The lock will be open weekends from 9 AM TO 8 pm. Call (920) 361-BOAT for the current status or to get an off hours lockage (24 hour advanced notice required). The Berlin Boat Club operates the Eureka Locks at no charge for the lockage but donations gladly accepted. Visit the Lock reconstruction photo gallery for photos of the project.