The Wonder of Water
The Great Pinery Heritage Waterway, newly designated by the DNR as Wisconsin’s 21st water trail consisting of three rivers located in Central Wisconsin. The Wisconsin River Trail is 108 miles in length starting at the Hat Rapids Dam in Oneida County and ending in Portage County at the Lake DuBay Dam. Portions of the trail hold scenic wonders as it flows over rapids and rock outcropping, through primeval pine and hardwood forest, and along the Ice Age Trail.
The trail beckons us back to a time when the Miami tribe called the great river, Meskonsing. French missionary Father Jacques Marquette entered it in his journal in June 1673 during the voyage he made by canoe with fur trader Louis Joliet across Wisconsin and down the Mississippi River.
The great river is never far from our imagination, fast flowing, scenic in its northern segments to urban and industrial as it flows south through cities that once had names such as Jenny Falls, Big Bull, and Little Bull Falls. The river has always been a gateway to the north, to the “Great Pinery” the great boreal forest that blanketed the lands to the great lake, the Chippewa called, Gitchi Gami.
In the 1870’s the river earned a new name as the “Hardest Working River in the World” when men with names like Stevens, McIndoe, Barker, and Stewart put the river to work sawing lumber for the cities and homes of the Midwest. In 1907 the Wisconsin Valley Improvement Company was established as a group of private interests to manage and regulate the flow of the Wisconsin River so that hydroelectric energy and the papermaking industry could develop and flourish.
Today, the Wisconsin has returned to its beginnings offering the paddler an adventure not soon forgotten!
Trail Vitals: 108 miles in length with 24 designated landings along its length, two state parks, state, and county forests, six dam portages, primitive camping, wildlife and natural areas, hiking and biking trails that border its banks, amenities galore, historical bridges and dams, Class I-III rapids, adjoining Class I trout streams, and a Frank Lloyd Wright home that graces its banks!
Head to GreatPinery.com