Northeastern Wisconsin Utility Warns People To Stay Off Ice Near Hydroelectric Dams

Ice Near Dams Is Often Dangerously Thin


Wisconsin Public Service Corp., a utility in the northeastern part of the state, is warning people to stay away from ice around its hydroelectric dams.

WPS operates 15 dams both in Wisconsin and in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula. Todd Steffen, a spokesman for WPS, said the company warns fishermen and snowmobilers every year to keep away from the dams — both above and below. The utility says the ice may look safe but it’s most likely dangerously thin.

“We try our best to put up warning signs put barriers around (the dams),” said Steffen. “Even with that we sometimes see people that don’t pay attention to that.”

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Steffen said the warnings stay in effect all winter, even when nearby ice is thick. Nevertheless, workers often see footprints and fishing holes that indicate people have been on the ice.

Steffen noted that the warning doesn’t just apply to WPS dams — ice is unsafe near any hydroelectric dam, regardless of the utility that operates it.