RRF Executive Director, Kimberly Gleffe, addressed the group at the Wheelhouse property site before getting started. The hike featured the Beerline Loop of trails connecting three County Parks, the Urban Ecology Center and the Wheelhouse Gateway - the major entrance to the river valley.
Land steward Vince Bushell led the tour. Thirty-one hikers from both coasts and everywhere in-between participated in River Revitalization Foundation’s Milwaukee River valley hike
The former Kilbourn Reservoir, a designated historic site, offered a spectacular view of downtown Milwaukee, the river valley and the neighborhoods nearby as well as a glimpse of Lake Michigan.
Though a bit windy, the weather was excellent-sunny - that wonderful combination of warm sun and fall crisp.
After a bit of history about the site the group descended into the valley and visited RRF’s most recent acquisition project, 2.8 acres along the Milwaukee river, a little place they like to call the Greenway Gateway.
In the Gateway, the urbanized riverbank transitions to a more natural and wild landscape of publically accessible land.
Just steps from some of Milwaukee's most well-traveled streets and neighborhoods, multiple trail options appear and invite people to explore nature in the city.
Hikers talked about native species, the work RRF does to manage invasive species, and how the trails along the river provide an enormous opportunity for Milwaukee folks connect with nature right in the city.
While other cities have river attractions, we have not found one with such an abundant natural resource so close to the city’s center.
During the 2+ hour hike, we worked our way through a 2.5 mile loop from the east to the west bank, including stops at the Urban Ecology Center and Riverside Park.
After a tasty meal at a restaurant on the river, teh tour moved to Lakeshore State Park, a man-made island on Lake Michigan just east of downtown, complete with restored prairies and fabulous views of the lake.
From this magnificent location, hikers walked back along the estuary to Milwaukee’s Ale House on the river for a beer and some cheer.