The Vision: America’s Next Great National Park
Imagine a great national park in the heartland of America–the Driftless Rivers National Park. A northern region where massive continental glaciers a mile thick repeatedly loomed and stalked the area for more than a million years but could not touch it, encircling a refuge for flora and fauna of the Ice Age. It’s a land of stunning beauty, rugged bluffs, a confluence of ancient rivers, filled with caves and archaeological treasures thousands of years old, the site of white man’s first encounter with the mighty Mississippi, and a place of French fur trading barons, log-built military forts and battles with the native peoples.
The heart of the park would be born, and carved out of, the unincorporated portions of what is now Crawford County, Wisconsin, an area about 586 square miles (375,000 acres). At such a vast acreage, this park would be fourth in size out of the national parks east of the Mississippi River, with only The Everglades, Great Smoky Mountain and Isle Royale National Parks larger. The park boundaries could also include parts of the adjacent counties of Richland and Vernon and perhaps span across the Mississippi River in the area currently designated as Effigy Mounds National Monument in northeast Iowa.
Great, beautiful and visionary as they are, most of our national parks lie far out west and every further away in Alaska. Consequently, they are functionally out of reach for a vast number of Americans who could greatly benefit from recurring trips to a national park.
The Driftless Rivers National Park would possess enormous conservational, recreational, educational and historical potential. Some of the park’s highlights would include sightseeing, hiking, mountain biking and camping in the rugged bluffs and valleys, boat tours on the mighty Mississippi including on paddlewheelers from the era of Mark Twain, kayaking and canoeing the Kickapoo and Wisconsin Rivers, bird watching in one of the nation’s greatest migratory flyways, fishing trips on waters ranging from the country’s biggest river to intimate, crystal-clear trout streams, cross-country skiing and snowshoeing, spelunking in ancient caverns and viewing thousand-year-old effigy mounds, horseback and carriage riding, and fall color touring.
Join us today in supporting the Driftless Rivers National Park Foundation’s efforts to create a new and majestic park in the Midwest!
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