The Full Wiki

More info on Fox River (Wisconsin)

Fox River (Wisconsin): Map


Wikipedia article:

Map showing all locations mentioned on Wikipedia article:

Map of the Fox River watershed showing the Fox and Wolf rivers.

Looking east at the Upper Fox River in Montello

The Fox River is a river in eastern and central Wisconsinmarker in the United Statesmarker. Along the banks is a chain of cities, including Neenahmarker, Menashamarker, Appletonmarker, Little Chutemarker, Kimberlymarker, Combined Locksmarker, and Kaukaunamarker. Geographers divide the Fox into two distinct sections, the Upper Fox River, flowing from central Wisconsin into Lake Winnebagomarker, and the Lower Fox River, linking Lake Winnebago to the Bay of Green Baymarker. Together, the two sections give the Fox River a length of 200 miles (322 km). The Fox River flows from south to north owing to the great height through which the river drops on its journey from Lake Winnebago to the Bay of Green Bay.


The Upper Fox River begins as a small stream northeast of Pardeevillemarker. It flows southwest towards Portagemarker and comes within 2 miles (3.2 km) of the Wisconsin River before quickly turning north. After flowing past Montellomarker, the river goes northeast until reaching Lake Butte des Mortsmarker. Here it is joined by the tributary Wolf River before entering Lake Winnebago at Oshkoshmarker. The Lower Fox begins at the north end of Lake Winnebago, where it flows north past Neenahmarker, Menashamarker, and Appletonmarker as it begins its 39-mile (64 km) course towards the Bay of Green Bay. The river drops around 164 feet (50 m) over this short stretch, and prior to the construction of European-style dams after 1850, the river had many sizable rapids. The Lower Fox ends after flowing through downtown Green Baymarker and into the Bay of Green Bay. Altogether, the Fox-Wolf watershed drains an area of about 6429 square miles (16,650 km²), giving the Fox an average discharge rate of 4132 ft³/s (117 m³/s) into the Bay of Green Bay.


Since the recession of the glaciers that once covered much of Wisconsinmarker, the Fox River has supported several Native American cultures, with its fisheries, waterfowl, wild rice, forests, and water. Archaeologists have determined that early peoples lived in the Fox River area as early as 7000 BC."History of the Fox River and Green Bay." 5 Oct. 2008 />.

Prior to European settlement in the late 1600s, the shores of the Fox River and Green Bay were home to roughly half the 25,000 Native Americans who lived in what is today Wisconsin. The first Europeans to reach the Fox were the Frenchmarker, beginning with Jean Nicolet in 1634. In 1673 explorers Jacques Marquette and Louis Joliet canoed up the river as far as Portage. Here they made the short portage from the Fox to the Wisconsin River and then canoed on towards the Mississippi River, establishing an important water route between the Great Lakesmarker and the Mississippi River known as the Fox-Wisconsin Waterway. This route was used frequently by fur traders during the French colonization of the Americas. The French-Canadian men who established homes on the Fox River married First Nation women, producing a mixed-blood population similar to the Metis of Canadamarker.

Industrial Revolution

The Fox-Wisconsin Waterway's importance continued into the 1850s, when the Fox and Wisconsin Improvement Company built locks and dams on the Fox and a canal to connect it to the Wisconsin River at Portage. The company was hoping to establish Green Bay as a port city to rival Chicagomarker by making Fox-Wisconsin Waterway into the principal shipping route between Lake Michigan and the Mississippi River. However, this goal was never reached, largely because the Upper Fox remained too shallow for significant shipping even after damming and dredging.

Instead of developing as a transportation corridor, the Lower Fox became a center of industry. During the mid 1800s, when Wisconsin was a leading producer of wheat, several flour mills sprang up along the river to harness its abundant water power. During the 1860s, as Wisconsin's wheat production declined, these flour mills were replaced by a growing number of paper mills. The Lower Fox proved an ideal location for paper production, owing to its proximity to lumbering areas that could supply wood pulp to make paper. Several well-known paper companies were founded in cities along the river, including Kimberly-Clark, Northern Paper Mills (creator of Quilted Northern), and the Hoberg Paper Company (creator of Charmin).

Paper industry

The Lower Fox remains a major area for paper production. There are currently 24 paper and pulp mills along the Lower Fox River that produce more than five million tons of paper per year and employ around fifty thousand people. The principal cities located in this valley are Green Bay, Appleton, and Oshkosh.

Environmental issues

The high concentration of paper mills and other industry along the Lower Fox has historically been the source of much pollution of the river. Public debate about this contamination began as early as 1923, but little was done to improve the river until the federal Clean Water Act was passed in 1972. Much effort has since been put into cleaning the Fox, but problems still exist. According to some measures of pollution (e.g. dissolved oxygen, pollution-tolerant worm counts), the Lower Fox River is much cleaner than it was before 1972. However, according to other measures of pollution (e.g., phosphorus, estrogenic compounds, discarded pharmaceuticals), the river waters are slightly more contaminated than before 1972. As a result, debate over the river's contamination continues between environmentalists, the paper industry, Indian tribes, and elected officials at the federal, state and local levels.

While not officially designated as a U.S. Superfund site, the Lower Fox River bottom still has some sections contaminated with toxic chemicals. These contaminated sediments are the river's current environmental problem. One contaminant of special concern today is a group of chemicals called Polychlorinated biphenyls or PCBs. PCBs entered the river from many sources, but the largest deposits of contaminated sediments are traceable to the local paper recycling mills which have been part of the region's history, culture and economy, thus making cleanup a difficult issue.

Since the late 1800s, dredging of river bottom sediments has been done to allow large ships to enter the Fox River. The contaminated sediment has been used since the 1960s to fill local wetlands and after 1978 to create an off-shore engineered holding area called Renard Isle, also known as Kidney Island.

Among the wildlife in the Fox River Valley are birds such as mallard ducks and Canadian geese, and fish such as walleye.

Early on, parts of the Fox River were used for recreational purposes. This only lasted for a short period of time as the water quality deteriorated, and the water was considered unhealthy."History of the Fox River and Green Bay." 5 Oct. 2008 />.. Also, fishing was a huge aspect of life on the water as many fisheries were set up along the river. This remained large for a short period of time but also was soon limited by water pollution and the depleted amount of fish. Restrictions were put on fishermen on how many fish they could catch and what fish they were allowed to catch legally. Fishing makes a very large profit for the city "History of the Fox River and Green Bay." 5 Oct. 2008 />..

The Fox River region was dominated by dairy farms that benefited from the rich soil and plentiful water supply. Flowing from south to north, between Lake Winnebago and the Bay of Green Bay, the Fox River falls through a height equal to that of Niagara Falls. As such, the Fox River was an ideal location for constructing powerful saw mills that made the Fox River area famous for its paper industry. A negative side effect of this industrialization was the dumping of hazardous material byproducts of the paper mills. It was soon after this started that dumping became illegal. While evidence of these waste deposits remains to date, the Fox River is being cleaned up. "The Fox River/Green Bay Cleanup Project." Fox River- WDNR. 24 Sept. 2008. Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources. 3 Nov. 2008 />.


The Fox River State Recreational Trail is part of the Brown County Park System. The trailhead is in the city of Green Bay where seven miles (11 km) of paved trail follow the Fox River south through the city of De Peremarker. Biking, walking, jogging, and rollerblading are among the most popular activities on the trail. The trail also has a section of unpaved terrain that permits horseback riding.

See also


Embed code:

Got something to say? Make a comment.
Your name
Your email address