The Fox River Water Trail from Lisbon, Wisconsin, to the confluence with the Illinois River in Ottawa, Illinois provides suitable access to the public, to enjoy the quiet and active recreation, scenic beauty, abundant wildlife, and historic and cultural features. Communities along the Fox River embrace stewardship and public engagement to create and maintain a sense of place.
This is the vision of the Wisconsin-Illinois Fox River Water Trail currently being developed by a partnership of the Fox River Ecosystem Partnership, the Southeast Wisconsin Fox River Partnership, the Village of Waterford, Wisconsin, and the Chicago Metropolitan Agency for Planning. The ultimate goal is to pursue designation of the Fox River as a National Water Trail through the National Park Services’ National Water Trail System. Technical assistance from the NPS Rivers, Trails and Conservation Assistance Program, has been awarded and planning is now proceeding.
The National Water Trails System, established by the National Park Service (NPS), is a network of water trails the public can explore and enjoy. The network is overseen by a community of water resource managers who benefit from ongoing information sharing and collaboration. The System serves to bring existing and newly identified water trails together into one cohesive national network to protect, restore, conserve, and increase access to outdoor recreation along – and on – America’s rivers, shorelines, and waterways.
As a result of designation in the National Water Trails System, national water trails may gain:
- positive economic impact from increased tourism
- assistance with stewardship and sustainability projects
- increased protection for outdoor recreation and water resources
- contribution to public health and quality of life from maintaining and restoring watershed resources
- access to networking and training opportunities and
- assistance with recognition and special events highlighting the trail
The partnership developing the Fox River Water Trail is currently finalizing the data to be collected for each access site. We would greatly appreciate volunteers interested in assisting in collection of access site data or other activities contributing to the development of the Water Trail to contact:
Karen Ann Miller, co-chair
Wisconsin-Illinois Fox River Water Trail Initiative