Have Fun, Paddle The Fox and Help The Illinois Water Trail Initiative!

Have Fun, Paddle The Fox and Help The Illinois Water Trail Initiative!

Now that the Illinois Department of Natural Resources has lifted restrictions on recreational boating on the Fox River, a team of natural resources professionals is seeking your help to get out on the river and collect data this summer in support of the Illinois Fox River Water Trail Initiative.

Karen Ann Miller, a representative of the Fox River Ecosystem Partnership and part of the Core Development Team that’s working to make the water trail a reality, said the Water Trail project will enhance recreational opportunities, garner national recognition and be an economic development driver for municipalities and counties along the Fox River.

“We need your help to collect data in Illinois during this paddling season!” Miller said. “In light of the lifting of the IDNR restriction, why not enjoy the beautiful Fox River and its environs by assisting in the collection of existing data regarding canoe/kayak access points, dams and segments as part of the development of the Wisconsin-Illinois Fox River Water Trail?”

The Core Development Team is seeking volunteers to collect data on signage, parking and amenities at the access locations along the Fox. Data collection includes chronicling the journey experience, such as time expected to travel a segment of the river, and the hazards, dams and portages along the way.

The data will be used to develop maps of the Fox River, a public website and plan for suggested future improvements, Miller said.

The current Core Development Team consists of a regional “who’s who” of natural resources and planning experts, including Miller, Angie Tornes of the National Park Service; Greg Farnham of the Rock River Trail Initiative, Brian Daly of CMAP, Tom Slawski of the Southeast Wisconsin Fox River Partnership, Rick Kania of the Southeastern Wisconsin Regional Planning Commission, Jodie Auliff of the Illinois Paddling Council and Barb Messick and Rebecca Ewald of the village of Waterford, WI.

If you are interested in becoming involved in the initiative to develop a water trail for the Fox River, contact Miller at millerkaren@co.kane.il.us for instructions and a list of access points and segments to explore.

“We hope you will join us on this exciting venture!” Miller said.

About the Fox River Water Trail Initiative

The Wisconsin-Illinois Fox River Water Trail Initiative began when individuals attending the Fox River Summit in 2014 learned about the National Park Service Water Trail System.

In the summer of 2015 these individuals met to discuss their interest in working together to develop a water trail for the Fox River that may someday be designated as part of the NPS Water Trail System. The benefits of such a designation include national recognition, a listing on the National Park Service website with interactive maps and other information for paddlers, support for conservation and other efforts to protect the trail.

The group, the Core Development Team, applied for and is receiving technical assistance from the NPS’ Rivers, Trails, and Conservation Assistance Program to develop the Wisconsin-Illinois Fox River Water Trail Initiative.