Fox Wisconsin Heritage Parkway

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

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Heritage Parkway News, Issue 5 – Winter 2009-10

Congressional Delegation Supports Fox-Wisconsin National Heritage Corridor Designation

A series of thirteen canoe and kayak trips over nine weekends designed to help the public rediscover the beauty and heritage of the lower Fox River will launch April 24 in Portage and cover 190 miles on the way to the Green Bay Harbor Aug. 14.

The four weekend and five day trips, collectively called “Fox River Heritage Paddle 2010,” celebrate the effort to gain a National Heritage Area Designation for the Fox and Wisconsin rivers from the National Park Service. Organizers include representatives of Fox-Wisconsin Heritage Parkway, Friends of the Fox, Northeast Wisconsin Paddlers Inc. and Fox of the River Voyageur Canoe LLC. They have been meeting since November.

The paddle trips will cover between five and 15 miles of the Fox per day. Each segment will include information about the history of the areas along the riverbanks. The route passes along pioneering naturalist John Muir’s boyhood home, historic Native American sites, recovering natural areas and the historic hand operated Fox River Locks.

The series will include the ninth annual Park-to-Park Paddle from Shattuck Park in Neenah to Lutz Park in Appleton on July 24, and conclude during the Baylake Bank Tall Ships Festival 2010. The series will not cover the entire lower Fox. Organizers determined that some stretches potentially too difficult or possibly unsafe for novice paddlers will be skipped by the group paddles.

“We’re calling it a ‘journey of rediscovery,’” said Jeff Mazanec, a member of the organizing committee for Fox Heritage Paddle 2010. “Many of us cross over the Fox River on a regular basis but don’t really appreciate its natural beauty and the tremendously rich history associated with the river. There’s no more intimate way to gain that appreciation than one paddle stroke at a time.”

Details of the trip segments are available at

National Park Service Creates New Graphics and Map Symbols for Water Trails; Fox River Water Trail is First to Use Them

Friends of the Fox year asked for design assistance from the Rivers & Trails Program, National Park Service (NPS), Wisconsin Field Office (Milwaukee). As part of the Fox River Water Trail development, the Friends sought a portage sign template for signs to be posted along the Fox River locks indicating canoe launches and portages. The NPS’s Sign Program staff in Harper’s Ferry, Virginia, agreed to collaborate with graphic design interns from the University of Cincinnati to develop two new signs, a canoe launch and a portage trail. The NPS previously had no such signs in its suite of signs and symbols used by the National Parks, and now thanks to the Friends of the Fox’s request, have added these signs to their collection to be used by both the national parks and general public.

National Heritage Area Legislation Update

Legislation designating the FWHP as a National Heritage Area is moving forward. The language for the bill is being finalized with cooperation between Senator Kohl, Senator Feingold, and the National Park Service. When it is agreed upon, it will go to the Energy and Natural Resources Committee in the Senate and the Natural Resources Committee in the House and will most likely be submitted by Fall 2010.

Fox-Wisconsin Heritage Parkway Project Update

Work continues to move forward on Fox-Wisconsin Heritage Parkway! Starting in the fall of 2009, staff hosted eleven visioning sessions throughout the Fox-Wisconsin Heritage Parkway (FWHP). Planner Tom Baron will use comments and discussion from the visioning sessions along with meetings with community officials to formulate goals and recommendations for a Plan Update that is now underway. The plan seeks to update the Fox River Heritage State Parkway Concept Plan that was produced in 1997. This plan differs from the Feasibility Study as it focuses on local communities and how they can utilize the FWHP, where the Feasibility Study demonstrated our national significance to the National Park Service. This planning effort will consist of three phases. Phase I involves working with communities and groups in the FWHP area to update the original plan to include a series of new goals and recommendations on how communities in the project area can utilize the FWHP. Phases II and III are implementation phases and will involve turning the goals and recommendations of the plan into reality.

Spring Will Bring Municipal Workshops

Planning has started on a series of workshops to be held this spring. These workshops will be held in the three future management areas which include the Lower Wisconsin River, The Upper Fox River, and the Lower Fox River. The goal of the workshops is to update local municipal officials of the FWHP and to seek input and support for FWHP activities.

Non-Profit Status Sought for Fox-Wisconsin Heritage Parkway

East Central WI RPC staff along with Friends of the Fox staff has recently submitted an application to seek Non-profit status for the FWHP. The IRS 1023 application was mailed on February 10th, 2010, and we are waiting approval of the application which is expected in the
summer of 2010. This is an important process, as it will be the foundation for the management structure and fundraising components of the FWHP. The management structure will consist of a board of directors that will representative of each of the river segments
including the Lower Wisconsin River, Lower Fox River, and Upper Fox River. If you have an interest in serving on this board, please contact Tom Baron from East Central WI RPC at or by calling 920-751-4770. Additionally, staff has also worked on marketing materials, communication plans, and have created baseline tracking procedures for future grant work.

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