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In This Issue
Community Input Meetings
Economic Impact Plan
2012 Fox-Wisconsin Heritage Paddle
Locktender History Project
NHA Legislative Update
Adopt-a-River Mile
FWHP Heritage Partner Spotlight
Upcoming Events
February 11-16, 2012

April 28, 2012

May - September 2012
Thank You, Angie!


The FWHP would like to thank Angie Cottrell, FWHP Board Treasurer, for her service. Angie has served as Treasurer since the Board was founded in May 2010. She was instrumental in obtaining FWHP's 501(c)(3) status and establishing our organization's accounting practices. We appreciated having her has part of our organization and wish her the best of luck in her future endeavors!  



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E-newsletter -Winter 2012
You're Invited: Community Input Meetings
February 11-16, 2012, in Prairie du Chien, Arena, Merrimac, Montello, Fond du Lac, Oshkosh & Green Bay

Please join us at one of the following community input meetings to share your thoughts on how your community can play a role in developing cultural and recreational opportunities with the Fox-Wisconsin Heritage Parkway as we seek a National Heritage Area designation with the National Park Service.


Prairie du Chien: Saturday, February 11

Arena: Saturday, February 11

Merrimac: Sunday, February 12

Montello: Monday, February 13

Fond du Lac: Tuesday, February 14

Oshkosh: Wednesday, February 15

Green Bay: Thursday, February 16


Click here for a full meeting schedule, including locations and times. 


Please contact Candice Mortara, FWHP President at (920) 707-2965 or [email protected] with any questions.

Work begins on Economic Impact Plan
FWHP selects Economic Development Partners to develop study
Photo by Steve Wagner
The FWHP hired a firm, Economic Development Partners (EDP) from Verona, Wisconsin, in January to begin work on an Economic Impact Plan for the Parkway region. This plan will evaluate economic development opportunities relating to regional heritage, cultural and recreational assets throughout the Fox-Wisconsin River corridor. 
Completion of the study will take one-year and will determine the specific economic priorities and strategies of the FWHP for the next five years.
The FWHP is seeking significant grassroots participation and input from the forty-five communities located within the Parkway along the Fox and Lower Wisconsin rivers, from Green Bay to Prairie du Chien.
Learn more about this study and how you can participate. Read the rest of this article on our blog... 
2012 Fox-Wisconsin Heritage Paddle
Summer Paddle Dates Announced

In its third year, the 2012 Fox-Wisconsin Heritage Paddle provides an opportunity for paddlers to explore and celebrate the history and landscape of the Fox-Wisconsin Heritage Parkway from the unique vantage point of the rivers themselves.


Paddlers can find a complete list of paddle schedules, maps and event details on the Northeast Wisconsin Paddlers website. Keep checking back. More information will be added soon!

Unlocking the Memories
Preserving the history of Locktending on the Fox River
Since 2010, the FWHP has been researching the history of locktending, specifically the lockmasters who lived in the government-owned lock houses on the Upper and Lower Fox River. During this research we have been fortunate to interview retired lockmasters, their wives and descendants, some tracing their ancestry to those from the 1860s. 


In fall 2011, the FWHP hosted "Unlocking the Memories" at the Paper Discovery Center in Appleton. More than sixty locktenders and their descendants shared stories, photos and even songs from their family's past. As a special tribute, sixteen descendants representing five families who lived at Appleton Lock #1, #3 and #4 paddled canoes and kayaks through the four Appleton locks as part of the Fox-Wisconsin Heritage Paddle event held that morning.
Locktender Jacob Wittmann, Combined Locks, circa 1911. Boy on steps is Jacob's son Harlan who succeeded his father as lockmaster until 1952.


The Wisconsin Humanities Council awarded the FWHP a mini-grant to conduct oral history interviews. In December, two retired lockmasters, two lockmasters' children and a current locktender were interviewed by Mark Livengood, a folklorist from the University of Wisconsin. 


In his final report, Livengood wrote, "While I listened to and annotated the five interviews, it became clear that there was no single experience of the locks along the Upper and Lower Fox River. The people I interviewed described and told stories about different stretches of the Fox River at different times. Considered in relation to each other, the information--some complete narratives, others snippets of memory--represented a range of experiences that, together, can be used to tell a full story of the river's cultural heritage." 
Research and interviews will be the first step in gathering the information needed to educate the public about this unique part of Wisconsin history and support the concept of a travelling museum exhibit to focus on the lives of locktenders on the Fox River. To learn more about this project, visit our website...

by Christine Williams 
National Heritage Area Legislative Update
Ask your Representative to Join the National Heritage Area Congressional Caucus
Program legislation is being proposed to bring the National Heritage Area (NHA) program into the National Park Service (NPS) as a systemized entity. This would mean that each proposed NHA would no longer go through the legislative process of introducing their own bill to seek designation. Instead ,the NPS would take a more active role in granting NHA designation, thereby maintaining efficacy and ensuring quality control for this program.

The Alliance for National Heritage Areas (ANHA) is working with the National Heritage Area Congressional Caucus, chaired by Congressman Charlie Dent (R-PA) and Congressman Paul Tonko (D-NY), to introduce a bill for this legislation. The bill will make all NHAs a line item within the NPS and put an end to annual federal budget requests for funding by individual NHAs, removing the current system of earmarks.

The FWHP is currently in the process of seeking designation as a NHA. If granted, this will be the first NHA established in Wisconsin. This proposed bill would help ensure the stability of our endeavor and the future of the NHA program. To learn more about our effort, visit our website.

We are issuing a CALL to ACTION: 

1.  Please ask your Congressional Representative to join the National Heritage Area Congressional Caucus to support sustainable funding and management of the National Heritage Area program, as well as the establishment of the Fox-Wisconsin Heritage Parkway as a National Heritage Area in Wisconsin.

2.  Ask Congressman Tom Petri (D-WI-6), who is supporting the bill to establish the Fox-Wisconsin Heritage Parkway as a National Heritage Area in the House, to work with the National Heritage Area Congressional Caucus Chair, Congressman Charlie Dent, to help further the program legislation and bring the National Heritage Area program into the National Park Service as a systemized entity.

It only takes a few minutes -- find your Congressman and contact them by visiting the U.S. House of Representatives website.

Once our bill gets moving in the House, we can then request Senator Herb Kohl (D-WI) to move it along in the Senate. We appreciate your support!
by Candice Mortara
Adopt-a-River Mile
Support the FWHP by sponsoring your own section of the Parkway  
2 Support your own piece of the Parkway: Adopt-a-River Mile!

Join us in our effort to protect and enhance the historic, cultural and natural resources of the Fox-Wisconsin Heritage Parkway, all 280 miles of it. Support your very own mile of the Parkway with a tax deductible donation of $535 or become a Heritage Parkway Founder by adopting 4 miles for $2,140.

The Adopt-a-River Mile campaign supports the important planning work of the Fox-Wisconsin Heritage Parkway as we continue to seek National Heritage Area designation. You can help us reach our goal of $300,000 by the end of the year.

For more information about this campaign, please download our download our pledge card or contact Candice Mortara, FWHP President at [email protected] or (920) 707-2965.


Fort Winnebago Surgeons Quarters
FWHP Heritage Partner Spotlight 
Soldiers from Fort Howard at Green Bay arrived at the Portage in September 1828 with orders to build a fort on 4,000 acres acquired for military purposes. They chose land at a site previously crossed by Marquette and Joliet in 1673, the mere 1.5-mile portage between the Fox and Wisconsin Rivers. These early voyageurs were followed by a succession of explorers, missionaries, trappers, traders and soldiers, who left written records of their travels on the history of the waterway and the Portage. 

The third and last of early Wisconsin territorial forts, Fort Winnebago was closely linked via waterway to fortsat Green Bay and Prairie du Chien. It served as the center of local government and protected commerce, although by the 1830s the fur trade was essentially "trapped out." The soldiers also built the Military Road between the three forts to transport people and supplies over land. Under the direction of the War Department, the Army negotiated treaties with Indian tribes living in the area.

The Surgeons Quarters was presumed to have been built in 1828 by soldiers. The tamarack log houses were used as temporary barracks and later as a sulter's store. In 1834, it was converted to living quarters for the last two army doctors. A two-story hospital stood adjacent to the log houses. A number of authentic
Photo by Steve Wagner
artifacts survive from the fort and its time period, including the fort surgeon's table, and are on display in the log house. 

Among the many well-known historical figures at Fort Winnebago was the 2nd Lieutenant Jefferson Davis. Davis would later serve as Secretary of War, as a U.S. Senator and as President of the Confederacy. Read the rest of this article on our blog...

by Mary Ann Harding, Director of Fort Winnebago Surgeons Quarters