Goodspeed Family Pier

Goodspeed Pier Hours

The pier is open from late May to mid-October from 6–12 a.m.

(Docking fees may apply.)

Arriving at Alumni Park from Lake Mendota?

Brought to the Lake Mendota shore by the Wisconsin Alumni Association, the Goodspeed Family Pier opened in 2013 to enable boat-access and welcome the community to the UW-Madison campus. Named in honor of Mary Sue Goodspeed Shannon ’81 and her family. the pier features:

  • Dock space for up to 17 watercraft
  • More than 330 linear feet of boardwalk
  • Environmentally sustainable construction
  • Improved water flow for the UW lakeshore

Docking Rates

When meters are present, docking rates are $3 per hour for boat parking, and $1.50 per hour for canoe and kayak parking. Two-hour limit. All proceeds from docking support the Wisconsin Alumni Association and pier operations. Thank you for your support! Watercraft that are not properly attended may be subject to fine or tow.

Safety First

WAA is grateful for all that the UW does to look out for swimmers’ safety. But the Goodspeed Family Pier is designed for motor- and sailboat and paddlecraft access and docking. For the safety of all, no swimming is permitted near the pier.

By The Numbers

2,011 Linear feet of stone salvaged from the previous shoreline for reuse. (Some 461 tons of stone were too damaged.)

787 Linear feet of shoreline that were restored during this project

Facts about the Goodspeed Family Pier

The pier is made of massaranduba wood.

And the accent is on the u: mass-uh-ran-DOO-buh. Known taxonomically as Manilkara bidentata, the massaranduba is a tree native to Central and South America. Its sap is used to make high-quality golf balls, which is neither here nor there, but its reddish wood is extremely hard and dense. (It’s also sometimes called bulletwood.) That means it should hold up for a long time.

Each piling is capped with a cone to deflect ice.

When the lake freezes (as it does every winter), the cones change the direction of the force of the ice to make certain that it doesn’t crush the pilings. That would be bad, as it would make the permanent pier considerably less permanent.