Through the locks

Opening the gates

Opening the lock gates by hand, with the lock-tender-house in the background

One of today’s visits included a boat ride, on the Foxy Lady, up the Fox River, along with experts from the Friends of the Fox River and the Fox-Wisconsin Heritage Parkway. This was an interesting ride. In addition to going under a couple of draw-bridges, we got to go through a lock. The Fox River flows north (down hill) from Lake Winnebago to Green Bay, during the 39-mile trip it drops 168 feet, which is a big drop!. The river once had numerous rapids, but they became locations for dams and locks. These locks were well used when commercial shipping was big on the Fox River, but since that has ceased so has the use of the locks. They are primarily used by recreational boaters – and the tour boat we were on. Many of the locks were closed down during the 1980s, but local communities are working to get these historic sites refurbished. In addition to the lack of commercial traffic, the locks were also closed to try and keep alien species out of the waterway – particularly the sea lamprey. We traveled through the lock at De Pere, a lock that is fully functional, and operated by hand. Six wheels open the submerged pipes to let water into or out of the closed lock. The gates are also operated by hand, one adult (or three kids) turning a big crank shaft (as indicated in the sketch). When the river way was very popular, the lock keepers were housed next to the lock. The sketch shows one of these lock-tender-houses. I was surprised by the number of and size of the windows, but I guess they needed to see what was coming. These houses are currently being reconstructed.


Sktech of drawbridge on the Fox

This is a drawbridge on the Fox River

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One Response to Through the locks

  1. teacherstour says:

    I was particularly interested in seeing the PCB cleanup efforts on the river. D.D.

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