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UW-Madison Police Begin Boat Patrol At Upham Woods Outdoor Learning Center

Department Will Work Together With Juneau County Sheriff

Upham Woods Outdoor Learning Center
Upham Woods Outdoor Learning Center. Photo courtesy of Upham Woods Outdoor Learning Center’s Facebook page

Upham Woods Outdoor Learning Center is an education center for youth and families on the Wisconsin River, located about an hour away from the University of Wisconsin-Madison campus. But now, the waters around the center will be patrolled by officers from the UW-Madison Police Department.

Police department spokesman Marc Lovicott said UWPD has jurisdiction over any UW-Madison property. Upham Woods is property owned by the UW Board of Regents, and as part of the ongoing UW System restructuring, has been placed under the administration of UW-Madison.

“There are many pockets of land across the state that are very far away from campus, actually, that we have jurisdiction over,” Lovicott said.

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In this case, the department plans to work together with the Juneau County Sheriff’s Department, which Lovicott said has primary jurisdiction in the area.

He said the primary concern at Upham Woods comes from unauthorized people trespassing.

“For a long time, random boaters would show up and just launch from that property, which is not allowed,” he said.

Upham Woods frequently operates as a youth camp, he said.

“It’s a learning environment,” he said. “So like any school, they want to be sure they know who is on their property and what they’re doing and that they’re doing the right things,” he said.

Before patrols could begin, UWPD officers had to learn how to operate on the water.

“We’re used to driving squad cars, not boats,” he said. “So we had to undertake quite a bit of training, go through boater safety courses, learn about water rescues, things like that.”

Boat patrols began on Saturday.