The Fox-Wisconsin Heritage Paddle canoe and kayaking series kicks off June 5 during Portage’s Canal Days festival, and will celebrate the crossing from the Fox River to the Wisconsin River by explorers Jacques Marquette and Louis Joliet in 1673.
The sequel to the successful Fox River Heritage Paddle 2010 will reprise three of last year’s most popular outings and add five trips on the Wisconsin River. Details are available at www.wisconsinpaddlers.org and on the WI Paddle events page.
Like the 2010 version, which drew more than 750 participants for 12 paddles, this year’s canoe and kayak trips are dedicated to helping people appreciate the beauty and recreational value of the rivers. A $10 registration fee and sponsorship opportunities will cover expenses and support efforts to gain U.S. Park Service recognition of the river corridor through 15 Wisconsin counties as a national heritage area. Participating organizations include North East Wisconsin Paddlers, Friends of the Fox, the Fox-Wisconsin Heritage Parkway and Fox of the River Voyageur Canoe LLC.
The Canal Days paddle begins at the historic Fort Winnebago Surgeon’s Quarters on State 33 with registration and vehicle shuttles at 8:30 a.m. and a 10 a.m. launch. Paddlers will travel about a mile on the Fox to the Indian Agency, another historic landmark. Unlike Marquette and Joliet, paddlers will have the option of cutting through Portage via the canal – with several short portages – while learning about efforts to restore it.
Two weekend paddles are planned on the Wisconsin River later in June. Participants may join in for either day or the whole weekend. Those paddles include:
Sauk City to Spring Green, June 11, 19 miles
Spring Green to Muscoda, June 12, 22 miles
Muscoda to Woodman, June 25, 24 miles
Woodman to Wyalusing State Park, June 26, 21 miles
The paddlers will relaunch into the Wisconsin River at Riverside Park. Participants have the option of starting the paddle there. Non-paddlers may walk along the Ice Age Trail from the Agency House to Riverside Park or on the 1.2-mileWauona Trail, thought to have been the route of Marquette and Joliet. All participants will gather at Riverside Park for lunch before paddlers travel six miles down the Wisconsin River to Dekorra Park.
Jeff Mazanec, one of the Fox-Wisconsin Heritage Paddle organizers and a certified kayak instructor, cautioned that the weekend trips on the Wisconsin are not recommended for novice paddlers or boats of less than 13 feet in length because of the trip lengths and the possibility of strong currents and head winds.
The paddling opportunities continue on the Fox River with:
The 10th annual Park-to-Park Paddle, Neenah’s Shattuck Park to Appleton’s Lutz Park, July 23, 8.5 miles.
A Friday evening moonlight paddle from the Bomier Boat Landing in De Pere to the Green Bay Metro Boat Landing, Aug. 12, 7.5 miles.
The Appleton Locks paddle, through the four locks between Lutz Park and Kimberly’s Sunset Point Park, Sept. 24 (Appleton’s Octoberfest), 6.4 miles.
Quick Facts from Fox River Heritage Paddle 2010
In spring and summer 2010, a series of 12 canoe and kayak outings covering most of Wisconsin’s Fox River sought to reacquaint area residents with the natural beauty and rich heritage of the Fox waterway and raise awareness and support for an effort to gain National Heritage Area status from the U.S. Park Service for the Fox River and Lower Wisconsin River corridor. That mission continues with Fox Wisconsin Heritage Paddle 2011, five paddles on the Wisconsin and three on the Fox from June through September.
FOX RIVER HERITAGE PADDLE 2010 FACTS
Length: 120 miles in 12 segments
Participation: More than 750 segment participants, including 424 different people.
Average participation: 63 people per segment
Proceeds donated to Fox Wisconsin Heritage Parkway: $6,000 from registration fees and sponsorships.
FOX WISCONSIN HERITAGE PADDLE 2011 FACTS
Length: 120 miles in eight segments
Participation: Open to the public. Wisconsin River weekend paddles not advised for boats of less than 13 feet.
Proceeds: After expenses, proceeds will support the Fox Wisconsin Heritage Parkway.
North East Wisconsin Paddlers www.wisconsinpaddlers.org
Fox-Wisconsin Heritage Parkway www.eastcentralrpc.org/HeritageParkway/index.html
Friends of the Fox www.friendsofthefox.org
Fox of the River Voyageur Canoe LLC www.foxoftheriver.weebly.com
More photos available on Flickr www.flickr.com/photos/foxriverpaddle
Please join our Fox Wisconsin Heritage Paddling group on WI Paddle.
Author: Dave Horst