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River of Dreams
The trip along the length of this great two-river system has been the focus of many stories, oral and written, from the native people following their trail marker trees, to early fur traders, to the captains navigating the locks and sandbars, to the mailman walking the hundreds of miles between military forts … all the way to paddlers recreating the Marquette and Joliet journey.
Whether traveling for a short day trip or planning a weeklong vacation, the Parkway offers endless possibilities to help you create your own river story.
Individual land trails run along the river and are listed by following the link above. We partner with many organizations and work to bring you a wide variety of walking and biking trails to experience.
The water trail is a continuous canoe, kayak, and paddle trail. We are currently in the development stages and are making progress every year. Find details below and our maps at the link above.
Fox-Wisconsin Heritage Water Trail
In May of 2013, we were designated as a National Recreation Trail!
Accessibility In Focus
Children and adults with disabilities oftentimes struggle to explore and enjoy the natural resources of the state due to barriers, unless opportunities are provided. Adaptive water sports are evolving to become a means by which individuals with disabilities improve their health and quality of life through physical activity. A National Recreation Trail, named the Fox-Wisconsin Heritage Water Trail, stretching from Green Bay, crossing Portage, to the Prairie du Chien area is in development and must accommodate this population, not as a secondary thought but as a primary focus.
As part of developing this water trail, the Parkway is partnering with communities to provide numerous access points at strategic locations along the water trail that encourage those with disabilities to venture out paddling. Couple this with services that support this population to enhance their experience as they paddle.
We are excited about the positive impact this project will have for the individuals in the communities around the rivers. Whether used for rehabilitation purposes for those with short-term disabilities due to injury, long-term access for the permanently disabled, or simply a stable platform for those who need a little extra help in launching their kayak, these landings add greatly to the number of people who have the ability to paddle these historic waters.
“I used the boat launch at Shattuck Park on Saturday during the Park to Park Paddle. Not only was it fun sliding into the water, but for someone like me, who has a little bit of a mobility issue, it sure made it a lot easier to get into the water than trying to balance and maneuver into my boat from the pier. Thank you for putting it at the park for this event!”
“I have one friend who has a hip issue, and has fallen in a couple of times when trying to get in a kayak. Another has a balance issue, and was concerned. The Shattuck Park launch provided complete stability and both were surprised and are now looking to purchase kayaks. It opened up the river for us.”
“I would recommend that the idea of a river park be promoted extensively. And that with the interest in seasonal boating and recreational use you get as many people and as much active use on the water as possible. There ought to be more pull outs. It’s used publically now to a greater extent than it was on the river south of DePere in ’62 when I watched the last coal boat go down, and saw the green coats of stuff floating in the river – there was no recreational use. There is some now. There ought to be a lot more.”
With these landings, users place their canoe or kayak on a series of rollers in the center of the dock where it remains stable until the user is ready to launch. The launch has a wheelchair transfer station that assists paddlers in positioning themselves in their kayak. Paddlers push off from the launch with the aid of two parallel handrails. When returning, paddlers reverse the process and pull themselves up to the dock’s level center. The launch also eliminates the need to step in the water which is advantageous when paddling during cool weather, and so extends the season for all.
We have worked for the last year with municipalities along the system to choose the first 21 accessible landing sites, along with 30 traditional sites. These, in combination, will make up the backbone of the Fox-Wisconsin Heritage Water Trail.