Offering expected to be off-limits for months due to construction
WAUPUN — Hikers and bikers may have to take a different path this summer to experience the natural beauty and wildlife of the Horicon Marsh.
The popular Horicon National Wildlife Refuge Auto Tour and Walking Trails, off of Highway 49, temporarily closed last week for a road repaving and improvement project.
Due to significant construction, this complex, including the floating boardwalk, will not be accessible to hikers, bicyclists or vehicles for most of the summer. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service expects the project to be completed before the fall migration. When finished, the auto tour will incorporate additional pull-offs for better wildlife viewing opportunities.
In the meantime, there are other options for enjoying the marsh during the next few months.
Old Marsh Road will be open for hiking and bicycling through August, although this interior road will only be accessible from the east side of the marsh (County Road Z to Point Road).
The Horicon Marsh Education and Visitor Center, N7725 Highway 28, Horicon, has five miles of hiking trails and a boardwalk as well. Outdoor enthusiasts are encouraged to use the trails on the south end of the marsh while the area off Highway 49 is getting a makeover.
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Visitors can contact the refuge office at 920-387-2658 or visit fws.gov/refuge/horicon for alternative locations for recreation and parking.
The Marsh Haven Nature Center is also providing extended trail hours this summer due to the temporary closure of the auto tour and walking trails.
The nonprofit center is located on 46 acres just east of the auto tour at W10145 Highway 49, Waupun.
“We decided we needed to do something to accommodate people who travel to the area,” said Steve Wagner, Marsh Haven board member. “The marsh is such a neat place and people come from all over to see it, so we don’t want them leaving disappointed.”
The gate at Marsh Haven Nature Center will remain open until 8 p.m. every evening to provide a place to hike on the north end of the Horicon Marsh. The nature center building will keep the regular hours of noon to 4 p.m. weekdays and 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. weekends.
“We have a 30-foot tower people can climb and about three miles of hiking trails that go through woodland, prairie and wetland habitats,” he said.
A map of the trails and more information can be found at marshhaven.org.
Follow Kelly Simon on Twitter @KSchmidSimon or contact her at 920-356-6757.