Fabulous Fox! Water Trail designated as National Water Trail
The Fabulous Fox! Water Trail joins a distinctive network of recreational water trails throughout the U.S. with a national designation. The designation was established through the National Trails System Act of 1968 to make it federal policy to recognize and promote and increase access to outdoor recreation.
The Fabulous Fox! Water Trail is an existing trail that runs from the headwaters in Waukesha County, Wisconsin to the southern border of Kendall County, Illinois.
At 158 miles and with over 70 access points, the water trail offers paddlers the opportunity to enjoy, as well as explore vibrant Midwest communities and varying landscapes along the Fox River.
The team of stakeholders from both states that helped develop the Fabulous Fox! Water Trail applied for designation through the National Park Service in November of 2022.
On June 3, 2023, the U.S. Secretary of Interior announced the Fabulous Fox! Water Trail was one of only nine trails, across the U.S., selected as a National Recreation Trail in 2023.
"The Fabulous Fox! Water Trail provides a unique way to expand environmental tourism in Kane County while elevating the promotion, awareness and protection of the Fox River," said Kane County Board Chair Corinne Pierog.
"We are proud to have earned this national designation and the tremendous opportunity to make the beautiful waters of the Fox River more accessible to visitors of all backgrounds and abilities who want to get outdoors for recreation, education and adventure," Pierog said.
"Our team is thrilled to become part of the National Park Service," said Karen Ann Miller, Illinois co-chair of the team developing the Fabulous Fox! Water Trail and executive planner with the Kane County Development Department. "This effort could not have been achieved without all of the partners along the Fox River, who for decades have developed and maintained public access and stewarded the river."
The trail includes signage and, in the future, will include, strategic infrastructure improvements to enhance water trail access, so visitors can enjoy a variety of activities including paddling, fishing, touring historic/cultural sites, dining at local restaurants and shopping.
Maps, itineraries and information on access can be found at fabulousfoxwatertrail.org.
In addition, downloadable maps are available for 14 segments along the Fox River, which include many paddling itineraries. Visit fabulousfoxwatertrail.org/itineraries/ to see detailed information including number of miles, difficulty, approximate time to finish and interesting features along the route.
According to their website, the National Water Trails are a sub-set of the National Recreation Trails Program and have been established to protect and restore America's rivers, shorelines, and waterways; conserve natural areas along waterways; and increase access to outdoor recreation on shorelines and waterways.
The National Water Trails System strengthens the conservation and restoration of the waterways through the mutual support and cooperation of federal, state, local, and nonprofit entities.