The Trail Initiative

Rock River Trail Initiative Mission

The mission of the Rock River Trail Initiative is to establish and support a Rock River Water Trail along the 320-mile river course from the headwaters in Fond du Lac County, Wisconsin,to the Mississippi River at Rock Island, Illinois,and a separate Rock River Route on roads and trails 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.

Rock River Trail Initiative Vision

The Rock River Trail Initiative envisions a commonality of interests in and respect for the Rock River that will result in active participation by a diverse and growing number of residents and visitors in recreational trails and transportation routes on and along the river, revitalized and prosperous river communities on a clean river and the enjoyment and appreciation by all of the scenic beauty, natural resources and historic and cultural assets of the Rock River Valley.

Role of the Rock River Trail Initiative Council

The role of the Council is to implement and sustain the Rock River Trail Initiative’s vision for a trail system within the Rock River corridor and to achieve the Initiative’s mission and goals through public and private partnerships.

Key Objectives

The Rock River Trail is a local initiative to establish along the 320-mile river course, through Wisconsin and Illinois, a multi-use trail of recreational, scenic and historic interest and significance.

The Rock River Trail is a two-state, 11-county comprehensive effort, begun in 2010, which integrates public-private partnerships and intergovernmental cooperation to:

  • Establish the Rock River Water Trail and achieve designation as a state and national water trail,
  • Establish a scenic, recreational and historic route within the river corridor including the Rock River Trail Scenic and Historic Route for motorists and the Rock River Trail Bike Route with hiking opportunities.
  • Promote ecotourism and recreational opportunities throughout the river corridor, including safe portage of the dams from Waupun, Wisconsin to Rock Island, Illinois,
  • Advocate to protect, preserve and educate about our native American peoples, settlement cultural heritages and contributions of the river valley’s industrialists, agriculturalists, statesmen and visionaries to the American experience,
  • Contribute to improved water quality and an enhanced river ecosystem by supporting and advocating for natural resource conservation, stewardship and environmental planning and design.
  • Support economic development and revitalization of our river communities.