FISH CREEK, Wis. (WFRV) — Tuesday morning, Peninsula State Park Superintendent Eric Hyde stood atop the Eagle Observation Tower.
“We’re sitting on a 60-foot tower that’s on a 193-foot cliff, so we’re about 250-feet over Green Bay,” he said.
It’s a view that was first enjoyed in 1932, when the Eagle Tower was originally built.
It hasn’t been seen for more than 5 years.
“It was just reaching the end of its life and no longer safe,” Hyde explained, “so that was closed in 2015 and then dismantled in 2016.”
With the tower coming down, the Friends of Peninsula State Park swooped in.
“The tower is such an icon in Door County,” Chris Holicek, President of the organization told Local 5.
The old tower no longer safe, they set about building a new one.
“It’s been a five-year process,” Holicek said. “Working with the DNR to get to this point. We raised $750,000 as a Friends group, and then the DNR paid for the rest, and also then just designing it.
The tower will be used by many, according to Holicek, more than one million people visit the park every year.
“There are many, many people who come to the park year after year after year,” she said.
When the new tower opens Wednesday at 7 a.m, it will be accessible to more people than ever.
Hyde explained, “The 850-foot ramp, makes this fully accessible, elderly people or anyone with disabilities or injuries, it’s accessible to everybody.”
The ramp will also make it easy for parents pushing strollers to make it to the top of the tower.
Holicek added that there are other benefits to the addition to the structure: “the ramp goes through the trees, so you can stop at a flat level and look out. Once the trees fill in, you’re going to be able to see birds and wildlife, so it’s a whole experience unto itself.”
It’s a whole new experience to ring in a new era at Peninsula State Park.
“It feels great, but it’s on to the next task to improve the park out here,” Hyde said.