Fox Wisconsin Heritage Parkway

A non-profit organization dedicated to the improvement and preservation of the Fox and Wisconsin Rivers.

Organizational Milestones

  • Interpretive Master Plan completed
  • Economic Impact Plan completed
  • Strategic Operations Plan completed
  • 3rd Annual Fox-Wisconsin Heritage Paddle Series in partnership with NE WI Paddlers held with attendance continuing to rise
  • Officially able to claim the “Largest Recreational Paddle in the state of Wisconsin” — our Park to Park Paddle
  • 12,000 visits to our website, 40,000 page views

In April, the FWHP Board hires a firm to begin developing the Interpretive Master Plan, Interpretive Solutions, Inc. This process, which began this summer will take about 18 months to complete. An Interpretive Master Plan is required by all National Heritage Areas and is an integral part of the planning process.

From June to September, FWHP and the Northeast Wisconsin Paddlers host the second annual Fox-Wisconsin Heritage Paddle. The event supports our effort to create a water trail along the Fox and Wisconsin Rivers. Over 350 people participated in the 2011 paddle, which featured overnight trips on the Wisconsin River, as well as paddles on the the Upper and Lower Fox.

In August, we launched our new website,

In August, Interpretive Solutions make their ‘scoping trip’ of the Parkway, where they spent an entire week working with FWHP staff, visiting our historic sites and meeting with organizations and community members.

In September, FWHP is awarded a $25,000 grant by the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation to hire a firm to begin working on the Economic Impact Plan. FWHP board is in the process of interviewing firms for this plan.

In September, FWHP hosts an event, “Unlocking the Memories,” which brought together more than 60 Fox River locktenders and their families to share their common history. This event was part of an effort, which began in 2010, to tell the untold story of the people who made navigation possible on the Fox River since the 1800s. The locktender history project is funded by a grant by the Wisconsin Humanities Council.

In November, FWHP conducts a series of stakeholder workshops in Appleton, Mazomanie and Berlin to field comments and ideas about the development of the Parkway’s in each of the three river segments from community members. These workshops were attended by over seventy individuals  and fielded several ideas about future planning efforts, community resources and potential partnerships.

In December, FWHP board hires Economic Development Partners to  develop the Economic Impact Plan for the Parkway. This firm will work with the firm hired to develop the Interpretive Master Plan, Interpretive Solutions, to form the foundational planning documents for the Parkway.


From April to September, FWHP and Northeast Wisconsin Paddlers host the first Fox River Heritage Paddle. Over 100 people participated in the paddle, which was over 190 miles in length and took place over 9 weeks. All proceeds were donated to the FWHP for development of a Fox River Water Trail.

In June, National Park Service provides favorable recommendation that the Fox-Wisconsin Heritage Parkway be designated as a National Heritage Area.

In August, Waterwalk, the film recounting a man and his son’s journey retracing Marquette and Joliet’s historic canoe voyage begins production in the Fox River Valley.

In August, Senator Kohl and Representative Kagen co-sponsor legislation in U.S. Congress to establish the Fox-Wisconsin Heritage Parkway as a National Heritage Area.

In October, new members of the FWHP Board meet, which includes individuals from the Wisconsin Historical Society, the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources, Wisconsin Department of Tourism, state and local universities, planning commissions, and chambers of commerce.


In June, Friends of the Fox and ECWRPC submit a Feasibility Study to the National Park Service and Wisconsin State Representatives serving in Congress.


Seven of the historic seventeen Fox River Locks are open for navigation.


Seventeen Fox River locks as well as 350 acres of land and almost 10 miles of water frontage associated with the locks, canals, and dams are formally transferred from the Federal Government to the State of Wisconsin.


Governor Doyle establishes the Fox River System Navigational Authority to manage and restore the Fox River lock system.


East Central Wisconsin Regional Planning Commission (ECWRPC) joins the effort and completes the original concept plan.


Fox-Wisconsin Heritage Parkway plan accepted by the Wisconsin Department of Tourism and the National Trust for Historic Preservation as a heritage tourism pilot project for the purpose of highlighting and enhancing the unique heritage of the state of Wisconsin.


Original Heritage Parkway concept created by a joint effort between local organizations and individuals, including the Fox Cities Convention and Visitors Bureau, Friends of the Fox, Assembly Speaker David Prosser, Bill Kellet, Val Wiley, and John Forster.