Fox Wisconsin Heritage Parkway

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

Planning

Current Project Planning

With broad planning initiatives completed, the Parkway now focuses on planning for and development of specific projects.

Fox-Wisconsin Heritage Water Trail Plan

In 2013, the Fox-Wisconsin Heritage Water Trail received designation as a National Recreation Trail.  The Parkway will develop a Water Trail Plan in 2014 as part of its mission to promote river stewardship and recreation along the Parkway.  The result:  the most accessible water trail in Wisconsin. The plan will  advance river inventory and mapping efforts, improve paddler safety, create a comprehensive water trail marker signage program, develop new interpretive and learning experiences, address aquatic invasive species (AIS) related environmental concerns, promote tourism, and encourage growth of local businesses along the water trail.

Fox River Navigational System Authority Signage Study

The Fox-Wisconsin Heritage Parkway (FWHP) has programmed and designed a signage system for 17 lock sites along the Lower Fox River, including development of prototype signs at De Pere lock. Retained by the Fox River Navigational Authority’s (FRNSA) in December, the FWHP created a comprehensive program of directional and interpretive signage.  Platypus Advertising + Design established graphics standards for the system. The project was completed in April 2014.

Organizational Planning

The Parkway has developed a series of plans that will serve as the foundational documents for the Fox-Wisconsin Heritage Parkway organization. The planning process includes six plans, including the feasibility study, action plan, interpretive master plan, economic management plan, lands management plan and management plan.

These plans will serve to:
  • Build understanding, involvement and consensus among community members, stakeholders, existing and potential public and the general public;
  • Provide a structured forum for stakeholders to jointly determine our purpose, vision, goals and strategies;
  • Identify regional priorities and the development of a regional vision and strategy;
  • Provide a guide for decision making;
  • Build the goals, strategies and priorities of our nonprofit organization for sustainable growth;
  • Document our process.

    Phase I - Feasibility Study

    The Feasibility Study represents Phase I of the current Parkway planning effort. The Feasibility Study presented a description of the Parkway including a detailed inventory of the geographic, cultural, historical, and natural areas that make up the Parkway. To help simplify and manage the large amount of information available about the Parkway, staff believes that this document should be consistently updated and serve as the official background document for the planning effort. With this approach, the Parkway continues to seek review of the document for concurrence from historical, environmental, and cultural groups. As new data is collected and new maps are produced, as in the preparation of the Action Plan, they will be added to this document. This plan was completed in May 2009.  (Due to many considerations, we are no longer seeking National Heritage Area Status).

    Phase II - Action Plan

    The Action Plan utilized the background provided by the Feasibility Study and combined it with public comment to update and establish new goals and objectives for the Parkway effort. Additionally, the Action Plan outlined a strategy to implement these goals and objectives, and monitors the performance of the implementation. The Action Plan will be implemented over a two year period and the performance of it will be monitored by the Parkway Board. The Action Plan also addressed portions of the Management Plan. This plan was completed in August 2011.

    Phase III - Interpretive Master Plan

    The Interpretive Master Plan provides direction for development of interpretive facilities, media, and programs. Additionally, it documents the entire planning process for future stakeholders: visioning, audience, resources, themes/messages, site/facility design, program/media concepts. It also serves as a fundraising tool for potential donors. Each program/media concept is illustrated and supported with rationale. Finally, it serves as an architectural/exhibit guide for the design/fabrication phase. This plan was completed in January 2013 and is now in the early stages of implementation.

    Phase IV - Economic Impact Plan

    The Economic Management Plan serves to evaluate the resources present in the Parkway including the current economic conditions, the existing base of tourism and an evaluation of the current attractions within the area. The plan also formulates the means to utilize tourism and visitor services to enhance economic development. Additionally, the Economic Management Plan will assist in organizing and managing the Fox-Wisconsin Heritage Parkway through developing organizations structures, defining roles and responsibilities, building partnership, formulating business plans and identify sources of funding.

    To complete these goals, the Economic Management Plan compiled lists of needed personnel, fixed and variable operating costs and determined the capacities to which local entities should serve, including coordination, provision of technical assistance, project implementation, or fund disseminator. This plan was completed in January 2013.

    Phase V - Strategic Operations Plan

    The Strategic Operations plan discusses the ability of the Parkway to effectively manage and promote itself. With the recommended new staff and marketing opportunities the Parkway will be able to become a financially sustaining organization. This plan lists the new opportunities and staff that the organization will be working towards. This plan was completed in February 2013.

    Our History of Parkway Planning

    2004-2009

    From the transfer of the lock system to the beginning of the renewed Parkway planning, the focus was on building the state appointed organization – the Fox River Navigational System Authority – to rehabilitate and run the lock system. Fundraising, creating a management plan for the lock properties, and eventual construction took precedence. Once that venture was well under weigh, attention returned to the Parkway concept and bringing it into existence.

     1989-2004

    The history of the Fox-Wisconsin Heritage Parkway project extends back two decades, to 1989, when the initial concept for its creation was first expressed in a report entitled “Lower Fox River/Winnebago Pool Long Range Plan.” The plan called for the renovation of the historic lock system.

    After publishing the report, several organizations and individuals took up the cause, most notably Friends of the Fox, led by John Forster, and State Representative David Prosser. By 1990, the National Trust for Historic Preservation and the Wisconsin Department of Tourism took notice, creating the Fox-Wisconsin Heritage Parkway, a tourism pilot project. Significant public interest and support for the Parkway was gained through these efforts.

    Public input called for the continuation and expansion of this project. In 1992, the East Central Wisconsin Regional Planning Commission (ECWRPC) and the Fox Cities Visitor and Convention Bureau solicited an Economic Development Administration grant to prepare the “Fox River Corridor Feasibility Study.” This study, prepared by LDR International, evaluated tourism and economic impacts of the creation of a National Heritage Area (NHA). The study recommended the NHA to include the Fox and Wisconsin Rivers, an initiative supported by the public.

    In the mid-1990′s, several committees were formed in support of the project. After several months of meetings, a series of reports were produced, reflecting the public input that was generated over the length of the newly envisioned Fox-Wisconsin Heritage Parkway. In 1997, ECWRPC updated and expanded the Parkway plan based on the input from these committees and evolving events. Following significant public involvement on the Parkway concept over several years, serious negotiations with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers ensued. Led by Friends of the Fox and the ECWRPC, and championed by our federal legislatures, the transfer of the Fox Locks System finally took place in 2004.

    Past Planning

    The Parkway has developed a series of plans that serve as the foundational documents for the organization. The planning process includes five plans: the feasibility study, action plan, interpretive master plan, economic management plan, and strategic operations plan.

    These plans will serve to:

    • Build understanding, involvement and consensus among community members, stakeholders, existing and potential public and the general public;
    • Provide a structured forum for stakeholders to jointly determine our purpose, vision, goals and strategies;
    • Identify regional priorities and the development of a regional vision and strategy;
    • Provide a guide for decision making;
    • Build the goals, strategies and priorities of our nonprofit organization for sustainable growth;
    • Document our process.

    Previous Plans