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Pigeon Lake community seeks flooding solutions as water rises

DRUMMOND, WI — The road to Pigeon Lake is back open, but that doesn’t mean the problem is solved.

The Northwest Wisconsin community has been dealing with flooded homes and closed roads for a year, and area businesses say they are losing money because of it.

“We’ve definitely had a good summer, but there’s no doubt that it has had an impact on the business,” Bear Country Owner Craig Manthey said.

Weeks ago, County Highway N was completely underwater. Crews have since raised the road over two feet and opened it back up to traffic.

“More local stuff pretty much had disappeared during that period of time,” Manthey said.

A temporary solution, as officials attempt to map out a more permanent one.

“It takes time, unfortunately, and that’s something we don’t necessarily have,” Pigeon Lake Association Secretary Mary Hayes said.

Hayes says she has been in contact with the U.S. Forest Service, Wisconsin DNR, and Bayfield County officials.

“No help in sight right now,” Hayes said.

The sides have discussed pumping the lake, but before doing so, Hayes says the DNR is requiring an environmental impact analysis.

“Probably in the range of $200,000 to $250,000,” Hayes said. “How do we raise that kind of money?”

An expensive investment.

“It could take us five years to actually do that,” Hayes said.

As time ticks, the lake remains in jeopardy.

“The homes that are lost are lost,” Hayes said. “Whether those are torn down at some point or what, I don’t know, but it will be different. It will be different.”

Gamiel Hall

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