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Published on May 27, 2009
Landscape architect, John Nolen, recommended in 1909 that this site be set aside for a park. Established in 1911, this 9,000+ acre park near Baraboo, WI draws over 1.2 million visitors a year. The 360 acre lake is spring fed giving fishermen, paddlers and swimmers a crystal clear water environment. The lake was formed by glacial activity during the last ice age. What was once the Wisconsin River is now a dramatic gorge cut off at the north and south ends by glacial debris. The quartzite rock formations of the park are over 1.5 billion years old and rise over 500 feet above the lake. This "grand canyon of the midwest" takes its name from a mistranslation of the Ho-Chunk "Ta Wa-cun-chuk-dah, meaning "Sacred Lake", "Holy Lake" or "Spirit Lake". According to Ho-Chunk mythology the lake was the birthplace of the Buffalo Clan and is the site of the legendary battle between the water spirits and the thunderbirds. A number of effigy mounds are located throughout the park. This video includes the Ice Age Campground sites 401-437. Music copyright 2008 by Maury Smith. Slideshow and photographs copyright 2008, Creative Juice LLC.