Kaukauna Interpretative Trail
For the first time in a generation, the five Fox Locks in Kaukauna will be open for navigation in summer of 2021. To mark this event, we are building a recreational trail linking these five historic locks with the City of Kaukauna, the Grignon Mansion, and the trail network throughout the Fox Cities. Thanks to a $300,000 grant from the David L. and Rita E. Nelson Family Fund within the Community Foundation for the Fox Valley Region, the 1.3 mile trail will run adjacent to all five locks and give pedestrians and cyclists a chance to see the locks in action.
This project will provide a living history experience through the locks and open the story of the lock system for many more residents of Wisconsin. This concept will feature these attractions:
- A curated trail with informational way-finding signage communicating the history and cultural development of the lock system in a park-like environment with benches, lights, and up-close access to the locks.
- Fencing will be redesigned to give pedestrians closer access to watch the locks in operation and summer visitors will have the chance to chat with lock tenders about their duties and the history of the locks.
- Trails will pass one of two swing bridges built in 1901 that is still in use by the railroad today.
- Visitors can learn about an environmental research project conducted by the United States Geological Survey at Kaukauna lock 2.
- The trail will provide access to sites that are scheduled for future development: the only lock tender house in Kaukauna which will be restored in the future, and the Kaukauna dry dock area which was used for boat and lock repair that is also slated for future restoration.
Additionally, the trail route will pass in front of the historic Grignon Mansion allowing visitors and school groups the opportunity to learn more about Wisconsin’s first settlers and how the Fox River opened up the state.
The trail will be constructed on land already owned by the Fox River Navigational System Authority and construction and trail improvements are already underway. Watch this page for updates!
For an aerial view of the trail, please watch this short video