The Rock River Trail, established along the 320 mile river course, starts in Wisconsin and ends in Rock Island. A multi-use recreation trail of scenic and historic interest, it runs through 11 counties and includes a water trail designated as a state and national water trail by the National Park Service. Constructed in 2010, founders established a scenic and historic route for motorists as well as a route for bikers and hikers. In an effort to promote ecotourism, the Rock River Trail Initiative has promoted safe portage of the dams from Waupun, Wisconsin, to Rock Island. It advocates for protection and preservation of our Native American peoples, their cultural heritage and contributions in the river valley. With support for natural resource conservation, stewardship, and environmental planning, it contributes to improved water quality and ecosystems. Over the past eight years, signage has been installed for portages, launches, biking and driving, including several signs in the Quad Cities. In 2018, awards were given to two bicyclists and a pilot that completed all 320 miles; nineteen 320-Mile Awards have been given since the program was established three years ago. Local bicycle enthusiast, Dean Mathias, serves currently as a volunteer on the Rock River Trails board.
By Kathy Wine - Eddy Magazine