Explore La Crosse Paddle Board The Upper Mississippi River National Wildlife and Fish Refuge invites you to celebrate the grand opening of a new Lake Onalaska Canoe Trail located on the north side of Brice Prairie. Made possible through funding by the Onalaska Tourism Commission, this new trail will help paddlers navigate and explore the scenic backwaters of the Mississippi River while enjoying viewing wildlife on the refuge. Please join us on Saturday, July 23, 2016, at 9:00 a.m. for a ribbon-cutting ceremony followed by a paddle on the new trail.

At 9:00 a.m., we will welcome guests and share light refreshments at the Brice Prairie Conservation Association clubhouse adjacent to Lytles Landing. At 9:30 a.m., visitors are invited to walk down to the Lytles Landing canoe launch to officially cut the ribbon! Immediately afterwards, guests who would like to go for a paddle may join Brice Prairie Conservation Association member Fritz Funk and refuge staff at Lytles Landing, concluding the paddle at the Fred Funk boat landing on the northwest side of Brice Prairie. Please plan to be on water for 2 to 4 hours (depending on paddlers’ skill levels and interests) and please come prepared with sunscreen, bug spray, snacks, and plenty of drinking water.

Canoe: Paddle, Bike & Run Triathlon OR Du: Run, Bike, Run DuathlonAs parking is limited at the Lytles Landing canoe launch, please plan to drop off your boat at Lytles Landing first, and then bring your vehicle to the Fred Funk boat landing. Please have boats dropped off by 8:30 a.m. A free shuttle will be available from 7:30 a.m – 8:45 a.m. to take guests from the Fred Funk boat landing to the Brice Prairie Conservation Association clubhouse and Lytles Landing.

Ten canoes, equipment, and life jackets will be available to borrow via pre-registration; registration will be taken on a first-come, first-served basis. All boaters who would like to participate must pre-register by July 21st to allow event coordinators to best plan for event logistics and group safety. Please call Ranger Hallie Rasmussen to register for the event, 608-779-2392.

Many partners were involved in planning and supporting this event and canoe trail. Special thanks to the Brice Prairie Conservation Association, Brice Prairie EMS and Rescue, Onalaska Tourism Commission, Explore Lacrosse, Outdoor Recreation Alliance, Town of Onalaska, Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources, and many volunteers for making this a possibility.

The Upper Mississippi River National Wildlife and Fish Refuge is the most visited refuge in the United States. The refuge extends 261 miles along the Upper Mississippi River from Wabasha, Minn. to Rock Island, Ill., protecting and preserving habitat for migratory birds, fish, and a variety of other wildlife.

In addition to being the most visited refuge in the country, the “Upper Miss” Refuge has the added complexity of a major navigation system, including 11 locks and dams, within its boundary. It is also a world-class fish and wildlife area which harbors 306 species of birds; 119 species of fish; more than 300 active bald eagle nests; thousands of heron and egret nests; spectacular concentrations of canvasback ducks, tundra swans, and white pelicans; and several threatened or endangered species.