Topics of Interest
Native American’s have called the Fox-Wisconsin corridor home for over 12,000 years. These peoples heavily utilized the rivers, fishing, hunting, gathering wild rice and located their camps and villages along the banks of the rivers. Upon the arrival of European explorers, these tribes played a significant role in economic, political and cultural relations of New France.
While the British colonies were being established in the east, Wisconsin was at the forefront of the European frontier. From the early 1600s to 1763, Wisconsin was under control of the French as part of New France. As European powers struggled to gain a foothold in the New World, the Fox-Wisconsin corridor serviced a crucial conduit through the middle of the continent.
In the 1800s, the frontier continued to move west, bringing American pioneers and European immigrants to help settle and develop areas of the Fox and Wisconsin rivers. As the human demographic changed, so did the use of the corridor, from a strategic trading route to a river road, brining people, ideas and culture from east to west.
Situated between two of the most navigable waters in the country, the Fox and Wisconsin rivers served as a direct link between the Great Lakes and the Mississippi River, making the state an important commercial center and stopping place through the continent.
Humans have utilized the unique resources of the Fox-Wisconsin corridor for profit and survival in a variety of ways. Throughout the 19th and 20th centuries, the economy and culture of the Parkway grew up around different industries, becoming a regional and even world leader in mining, logging and papermaking.
As the corridor continued to develop throughout the mid-to-late 19th century, a concern for the natural world began to emerge. On the fringe of the advancing frontier, Wisconsin became a forum for conservationist thought. This landscape inspired such conservationists as Increase Lapham, John Muir, Aldo Leopold and Gaylord Nelson.