What the heck’s a “flowage,” and why is it called that??

Minong Flowage

All over northern Wisconsin, the term flowage has worked its way into dozens of lake names. Here in northwestern Wisconsin, we have the Minong Flowage, Gordon Flowage, Chippewa Flowage, and Tigercat Flowage—and that’s just for starters. And despite the number of flowages in northern Wisconsin, people who live on any one of them can often be heard calling their home lake simply “The Flowage.”

So what exactly is a flowage, and how did they come to be called that?

A flowage is simply a lake that’s formed upstream of a dam; it’s a regionalism that’s rarely heard outside of Wisconsin. In other parts of the country, especially in the South and the West, a flowage might be called a reservoir. A flowage, like a reservoir, can be any shape and size. Some, like the Minong Flowage and Gordon Flowage, were formed when dams flooded large, sprawling areas. Others, like the Colton Flowage in Washburn County, are smaller and have a simpler shoreline that resulted from the flooding of a long, narrow valley.

Nor is the term’s use universal; even around here, plenty of lakes upstream of dams are simply called “lakes.” Examples include Trego Lake, Hayward Lake, Nelson Lake, Moose Lake, and Lake Namekagon. And then there’s the Eau Claire Chain of Lakes that includes Lower Eau Claire Lake, Middle Eau Claire Lake, and Upper Eau Claire Lake. Each lies above a small dam. Although smaller lakes might have been there from the beginning, it’s the dams that give these lakes their present size and shape.

But why “flowage,” especially when it describes the one part of a river that’s no longer flowing? Webster’s defines flowage as a) an overflowing onto adjacent land, b) a body of water formed by overflowing or damming, c) floodwater especially of a stream. That first definition is key; it’s related to a whole body of real estate law surrounding the concept of “flowage easements,” which grant someone the right to flood land.

Flowage easements are most often granted to the state and federal government, but in the past they were often granted to utilities that built dams for generating electricity. Here in northern Wisconsin, flowage easements were also granted to logging companies so they could build dams for regulating water flow during the spring logging drives. They built dams, the water upstream of the dams rose, and then the water flowed onto the adjacent land. And that’s how we got the term “flowage.”

To learn more about any of the lakes and flowages mentioned in this post, go to the menu above and click on NW WI Lakes & Rivers. And for all your northwest Wisconsin real estate needs, whether you’re buying or selling, call Jean Hedren at (218) 590-6634. www.JeanHedren.com

Gordon Dam
Gordon Dam

Restaurant/Tavern Investment Opportunity. Lookout Tavern, Gordon, WI

Click on link or photo to launch page.

https://spark.adobe.com/page-embed.jsRestaurant/Tavern Investment Opportunity

Awesome autumn in Gordon WI

Here are some scenes from around Gordon, WI,  St Croix Flowage, St Croix River. I’m lucky to live in this beautiful part of NW Wisconsin.

Beautiful fall day in the Gordon WI neighborhood

I’m lucky to live in this beautiful Gordon Wisconsin. Here are a few scenes from my neighborhood.

Sold in 4 days St Croix River fishing and wildlife recreation headquarters. Gordon, WI

This home on the St Croix River, with boating access to the St Croix Flowage, sold in 4 days. Meticulously maintained 2 bedroom 2 bath home features many new updates: flooring, T&G pine paneling, bathroom fixtures, kitchen counters, sink, appliances, living room window, front and back porches, metal roof, dock.

Boat from the dock to main 1913-acre St Croix Flowage, a popular year round fishing destination lake for northern, bluegill, bass, panfish.

Curious about properties available on the St Croix River or St Croix Flowage? Call Jean Hedren, Edina Realty NW Wisconsin. 218-590-6634. Or, email jeanhedren@edinarealty.com.

Featured videos of beautiful Gordon/Wascott WI lakes area

Sit back and enjoy the scenery in this Gordon/Wascott WI lakes video playlist.

Search Gordon/Wascott WI real estate.

Scenes from the Best Dam Park in Gordon, Wisconsin

Here are a few scenes from the Douglas County Park in Gordon, Wisconsin. It’s about five miles west of Gordon, right at the Gordon Dam. Upstream of the dam, you’ll find the 1900-acre Gordon Flowage, also known as the Saint Croix Flowage. (Not to be confused with Upper Saint Croix Lake, which is upstream at Solon Springs.) The Gordon Flowage has a roughly 29-mile shoreline, and is the largest body of water in Douglas County.

Downstream lies the Saint Croix wild and scenic river way, which begins officially right here at the dam. Unofficially, the Gordon Flowage and most of the river upstream between here and Solon Springs are also quite wild and scenic. The park itself has a boat launch, campground, playground, and picnic areas. All in all, it’s just about the best dam park in Gordon.

Please enjoy your visit. And if you decide to stay here in northwest Wisconsin a little longer, I’d be glad to help you find the lake home or cabin of your dreams.
www.JeanHedren.com