Friday, December 4, 2009

RRF Biennial Report

"Take a Hike!" & the Milwaukee River Quest

In the summer of 2008 and 2009 RRF joined with Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett’s Earn and Learn Program.The result was the opportunity for city youth to be employed 20 hours a week, for seven weeks over the last two summers.The program, run by Milwaukee Area Work Force Investment Board, strives to teach the basics of having a job as well as providing work experience, an opportunity not had by many youth.

Working in conjunction with job skills training, RRF’s goal is to expose workers to the natural world. The goal is to teach workers about native and non-native plant species so that they can assist RRF in natural landscape restoration as well as transfer conservation knowledge and skills to a new generation.

Throughout the seven weeks, the workers learn to identify plants, remove non-natives and plant native species. To complement their restoration work in the valley, the workers are challenged to create and lead their own trail hikes to demonstrate what they have learned not only about the natural species of the valley but the history of human interaction and use of the land in the past. Photography, drawing, map creation and graphic layout are also tasks associated with their summer work.

This connection of the natural environment with learning the history of the valley is vital for our summer workers. It encourages the workers to develop not only a sense of place in our public lands, but encourages stewardship in their futures. This outcome and this publication (the cover featured above) is the direct result of their efforts.

Take a Hike Publication
The "Take a Hike!" publication is an eight-page tabloid sized document that will be distributed in the area surrounding the Milwaukee River in Spring of 2010. Within the newspaper style document are the trail guides, stories and hand-drawn plant species guides, trail maps, and diagrams of RRF's summer Earn & Learn Crew.

Milwaukee River Quest
The Milwaukee River Quest is outdoor hike based on the trail guides written by our summer work crews. Written in to the trail guides are is information regarding the placement of 12 informational signs within the Milwaukee River corridor from Locust Street to North Avenue on both banks of the river. The quest is designed for all who enjoy hiking, learning something new about the river, its adjacent lands and their history. It is recommended for grade school aged children in groups of 4-6 with the assistance of an adult to help interpret directions.

As you follow the trail guide it leads you on a quest to find the 12 signs as well as the plant species and "quest clues" that are written on them. (see example sign) Collect the "quest clues" and write them in the spaces provided in the publication. Once the quest is completed, the hiker may visit the River Quest section of our website to discover more information about the clues they collected. After verification of the the correct quest clues via an online quiz, the hiker will have the opportunity to submit their quest results for a free pass to a local museum or an embroidered patch.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

New Park and Trail Developing On Wheelhouse Site

On December 17th, after almost 10 years of negotiation, RRF closed on the Wheelhouse Property. To find out more information please read our press release below or visit the following links to articles from the local press. If you would be interested in donating, please visit our Donation page.

Press Coverage:

Press Release:

August 13, 2010

Visit the Wheelhouse site to see the progress on trail construction. New trails have been added by RRF Earn and Learn Summer crew. Pause a moment on the benches built by our crew.

The Beerline Bike trail will be pass by the wheelhouse by the end of September. We will be having events soon!!!

December 17th, 2009

The River Revitalization Foundation, Milwaukee's urban rivers land trust, has purchased 2.8 acres of land located along the Milwaukee River on the east side of the City of Milwaukee. The project will restore blighted urban riverfront land to preserved green space, increase shoreline stabilization and floodplain protection, provide a public access linkage to adjacent Milwaukee County parks and trails, protect Butler 's Garter Snake habitat and provide multiple recreational opportunities. The Foundation received a Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources Stewardship grant award in the amount of $700,000 for the acquisition. An additional $400,000 easement purchase through the Milwaukee Metropolitan Sewerage District's Greenseams program is a partial match to the DNR grant.

The site's approximately 642 feet of frontage along the Milwaukee River will connect to the planned “Beerline” segment of the Milwaukee County Park 's Oak Leaf Trail System and the North Avenue pedestrian bridge extending over the river to Caesar's Park and the East Bank Trail. The property is primarily a developed site that includes an abandoned building (formerly the Melanec's Wheelhouse restaurant) and impervious parking lots, both of which will be removed by the Foundation as part of the restoration. The finished product will include improved public access for low impact recreational activities including fishing, hiking, and access to adjoining trails that will also provide biking and cross-country skiing. Proposed plans also include a non-motorized boat launch.

The River Revitalization Foundation will retain ownership but will manage the property in a manner consistent with the park management policies of Milwaukee County . Public information meetings will be scheduled in 2010 inviting comment for site planning for the new park.

“We and our partners are excited and proud to have secured this property for Milwaukee and Wisconsin 's future,” said Foundation President Chris Jaekels. “Its strategic location and natural attributes will enable the Foundation to help improve water quality, add scenic beauty to the neighborhood, and provide recreational and educational opportunities for the community,” he added. With this acquisition, the foundation has protected 10 acres within Milwaukee 's environmental corridor.

Donations are being sought and accepted for the remaining $300,000 in acquisition costs and for additional expenses including demolition and habitat restoration. Visit for more details.

The Beerline Trail is Open!

It's finally complete! RRF celebrated the opening of the Beerline Trail this week with Milwaukee County Parks, UWM, and community members at Stubby's Pub and Grub on Humboldt Ave. Check out the link below to see some great photos of the evening, thanks to Jeff Baudry of County Parks.

Connect With Us

The mission of the River Revitalization Foundation is to establish a parkway for public access, walkways, recreation and education, bordering the Milwaukee, Menomonee and Kinnickinnic Rivers; to use the rivers to revitalize surrounding neighborhoods; and to improve water quality.

The River Revitalization Foundation is a certified non-profit 501(c)(3) conservation organization