Fox River Ecosystem Partnership to Pursue National Water Trail Designation for Fox River

Fox River Ecosystem Partnership to Pursue National Water Trail Designation for Fox River

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Kane County is joining area conservationists and stakeholders in an effort to gain National Park Service designation for one or more areas of the Fox River.

According to an article in the Fox River Ecosystem Partnership newsletter, the Kane County Development and Community Services Department is joining with Fox River Ecosystem Partnership — a diverse group, made up of landowners, businesses, non-profit organizations, agencies and governments within the Fox River Watershed region — in pursuing the prestigious and valuable National Water Trail designation.

The county is seeking your help, as well.

If you are interested in joining a committee to pursue National Park Service designation, please contact Karen Ann Miller, AICP, Executive Planner, Kane County Development and Community Services Department and Government Relations Advisor, FREP at or (630) 232-3418.

The National Water Trail System, established by the National Park Service, is a network of water trails the public can explore and enjoy, as well as a community of water resource managers that can benefit from information sharing and collaboration. The system serves to bring existing and newly identified water trails together into one cohesive national network of exemplary water trails.

The NPS Rivers, Trails and Conservation Assistance Program offers technical assistance in water trail development and can culminate in designation as part of the National Water Trail System.

The NPS National Water Trail System was established to:

  • Protect and restore America’s rivers, shorelines and waterways; and conserve natural areas along waterways;
  • Increase access to outdoor recreation on shorelines and waterways; and
  • Create mutual support and cooperation of federal, state, local and non-profit entities

Benefits of the NPS National Water Trail designation include:

  • Designation by the Secretary of the Interior;
  • National promotion and visibility including use of the NPS logo and page on the NPS website;
  • Positive economic impact from increased tourism;
  • Contribution to public health and quality of life from maintaining and restoring watershed resources;
  • Opportunities for funding and technical assistance;
  • Assistance with stewardship and sustainability projects;
  • Access to networking and training; and
  • Assistance with recognition and special events highlighting the trail

An agency interested in becoming involved with the National Water Trail System in Kane County is the Fox River Ecosystem Partnership. Members learned about the National Water Trail System and technical assistance at the 2nd Annual Fox River Summit the organization co-hosted with the Southeast Fox River Partnership in Wisconsin last March and at a FREP meeting where Angie Tornes from the NPS was invited to provide more details.  Last week the FREP Executive Committee voted to form a committee to pursue technical assistance toward eventual application for designation as part of the National Water Trail System from the NPS on one or more areas of the Fox River.

The Kane County 2040 Green Infrastructure Plan, adopted by the Kane County Board in 2013, includes a goal for Kane County to be a leader and role model in the area of green infrastructure within the county and throughout the region with an underlying objective to foster public awareness, education, and support of environmental and open space management with an action to coordinate with the Forest Preserve District, county departments, other local and regional governments and organizations to provide public access, education and volunteer opportunities.

Kane County has been a partner and active member of FREP since the organization’s inception in 1996 and will continue that tradition by partnering with FREP to pursue National Park Service designation of one or more areas of the Fox River and the benefits that designation brings.

SOURCE: Fox River Ecosystem Partnership newsletter