Rock River Trail gains National Water Trails status

Online Staff Report

The Rock River Water Trail, an effort of the Rock River Trail Initiative, has been designated into the National Water Trails System (NWTS).

I am proud to let you know that the Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar has designated the Rock River Water Trail into the National Water Trails System,” Corita Waters, NWTS coordinator, wrote in an April 4 e-mail to the trail’s founder and chairman, Frank Schier, also the editor and publisher of The Rock River Times. “We are sending out your official letter of designation and certificate, along with trail markers for your use.”

Schier said: “I am so honored and pleased by this designation. It is remarkable that it has occurred so quickly. I think this may be a record for a national water trail. We had our first meeting in February 2010. We started writing the plan a year ago and submitted it to the Department of the Interior and the National Park Service in October.

I have to give many many thanks to my Wisconsin coordinator, Greg Farnham, and Dave Schreiber for their fine work on writing the trail plan,” Schier added. “I must also thank all the other members of the Rock River Trail Initiative Council: Carles and Dorothy Brown, Sheila De Forest, Dave Druen, Bill Ehlenbeck, Dick Flynn, Candice Holbrook, Jim Kerler, Tom Lindblade, Dean Mathias, Joe Nehmer, Webbs Norman, Chris Ontiveros, Chad Pregracke, Joleen Stinson, Loren Swartley, Debbie Thompson and Robert Vogl.

Special thanks to all 11 counties and the 39 municipalities on the course of the Rock River for their many levels of support, encouragement and hospitality,” Schier added. “This is an historic day for our 300-mile-long river, eco-tourism and an effort to promote, protect and improve our river. Many thanks go to the City of Rockford for all their contributions for signage; to the Rockford Park District for its many contributions to the project; and to Winnebago County and all the members of WIN-GIS for their continuing contributions on mapping. And I especially have to thank my staff at The Rock River Times who have worked so diligently for the last three years and two months on making this dream come true. I am truly blessed to have such help. See you on the water!”

The Rock River Trail Initiative aims to found a National Scenic, Recreational and Historic Trail along the 300 miles of the Rock River, from its source in Fond du Lac County, Wisconsin, to its mouth at the Quad Cities in Illinois, and a separate Rock River Scenic and Historic Route on roads within the river corridor to provide access for all to the natural resources, recreational opportunities, scenic beauty and historic and cultural assets of the Rock River Valley.

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Posted April 4, 2013

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