Brief History of Canoeing from The Fox-Wisconsin Heritage Parkway

This information from  The Fox-Wisconsin Heritage Parkway blog

In recent years, paddling has experienced resurgence on the Fox and Wisconsin rivers. From Green Bay to Prairie du Chien, individuals are taking to this silent pursuit in numbers not experienced since the mid-twentieth century. When paddlers ‘put in’ on the Fox and Wisconsin today, they are continuing a tradition dating back thousands of years.

Developed by native peoples, the canoe is one of the oldest forms of watercraft in North America. Early models, believed to be over 8,000 years old, were carved from large tree trunks. In fact, the word ‘canoe’ is thought to have originated from the word ‘kenu,’ meaning dugout.

A more modern design, the birch bark canoe had a tremendous impact on the settling of North America. This design was popular throughout the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries as voyageurs, missionaries, and fur traders explored the interior of North America via its many lakes and rivers.

Known for its large towing capacity and ability to handle a variety of water conditions, it was this type of canoe that Jacques Marquette and Louis Joliet selected for their 1673 journey down the Parkway in their search for the Northwest Passage. In 1847, journalist, George William Featherstonhaugh traveled the Fox River by wooden canoe as documented in his published journals, A Canoe Voyage Up the Minnay Sotor.

Read the full article at the Heritage Parkway blog.

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