As you spend time enjoying the Kinni, please remember safety first. The Kinni has many remote areas that, while beautiful to visit, are not easily accessible by emergency personnel. Please consider the following notes as you enjoy your outing:
- Study the recreation map to know available entry/exit points. The lower Kinni is a canyon with very few access points.
- Check river levels by using the U.S. Geological Survey water gauge data found at: http://waterdata.usgs.gov/nwis/uv/
- Plan sufficient time for your activities. Areas of the river can get dark earlier than expected. Be sure to plan enough time to enjoy your visit during daylight hours.
- Share your plan for the day with family or friends.
- Cell phone reception can be difficult in remote areas of the watershed.
- If canoeing/kayaking, wear a personal flotation device (PFD).
Kinnickinnic River Land Trust Preserves
As part of KRLT’s conservation efforts within the Kinnickinnic River watershed, it owns and manages properties known as preserves. These areas help reduce erosion, clean and protect surface and groundwater, reduce flooding, protect wildlife habitat and rare plant communities, and provide scenic areas.
KRLT also uses the preserves for environmental education activities and for public recreational uses including hiking, fishing, hunting, cross country skiing, snowshoeing, trapping, and wildlife observation.
Each preserve has limits on the recreational activities that are allowed there, so please determine which uses are allowed on the preserve you wish to visit.
KRLT – River Access on Private Land
As part of KRLT’s conservation efforts along the Kinnickinnic River, it has secured easements that provide the public use of a portion of the streambank on privately owned properties for fishing, hiking, snowshoeing, cross country skiing and wildlife observation. It is extremely important for people using these areas to respect that they are on private property and understand the limitations of public use on each property, especially boundaries.
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Waterfowl Production Areas
WPAs provide habitat for a wide variety of waterfowl, shorebirds, grasslands birds, plants, insects, and wildlife. They also help reduce erosion, clean and protect groundwater, and reduce flooding. WPAs managed by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service also provide ample opportunities for public access and wildlife-dependent recreation such as hiking, hunting, cross country skiing, wildlife observation, and photography.
City, County, and Regional Lands
Within the Kinnickinnic River Watershed, there are various properties owned and managed by town, village, city, and county agencies that allow public recreational opportunities. Most of these properties are parks. Some of the recreational opportunities on these properties include fishing, hiking, picnicking, cross country skiing, hunting, swimming, camping, and biking. Each property has limitations on the recreational activities that are allowed there, so please determine which activities are allowed on the property you wish to visit.
Kinnickinnic State Park
The state park was established in 1972. The park is located at the downstream end of the Kinnickinnic River and includes the delta where it flows into the St. Croix River. The delta at the mouth of the Kinnickinnic River constricts the St. Croix River to about one-quarter of its normal width. This constriction causes a substantial increase in the amount of current and keeps this area free from ice. Bald eagles fish in this open water during the winter. Large numbers of waterfowl and other migratory birds use the marshy bottomlands during their fall and spring migrations.
State Natural Areas (SNA)
State natural areas (SNAs) protect outstanding examples of Wisconsin’s native landscape of natural communities, significant geological formations, and archeological sites. They harbor natural features essentially unaltered by human-caused disturbances or that have recovered substantially from disturbance. Public use of SNAs is available for scientific research and compatible recreation. A permit issued by the DNR is required to conduct studies or collect specimens on SNAs. Natural areas are not appropriate for intensive recreation, but they can accommodate low-impact activities such as hiking, bird watching, and nature study.
DNR Wildlife Management Areas (WMAs)
Wildlife Management Areas, managed by the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources, provide opportunities and public spaces to hunt, fish, trap, hike, canoe, pick berries, or watch and photograph wildlife. All WMAs are managed to sustain wildlife and natural communities found on the properties and to provide a range of recreational uses. Dog training or trialing (hunting dog competitions) may be allowed by permit. Prohibited activities include: mountain biking, off-road vehicles, and target shooting.
DNR Fishery Area (FA)
Areas along the Kinnickinnic River and its tributaries are within the DNR’s Kinnickinnic State Fishery Area. Fishery Areas protect, manage, and preserve the river and watershed through land and easement acquisitions. The areas enhance fishing and the production of trout, and provide other compatible recreational and educational activities including hunting, hiking, and cross-country skiing. Prohibited activities include: mountain biking, off-road vehicles, and target shooting.
DNR – River Access on Private Land
As part of the Kinnickinnic Fishery Area, the DNR has acquired easements along the Kinnickinnic River and its tributaries that provide the public access to a portion of the streambank on privately-owned properties for uses including fishing, hiking, hunting, and cross country skiing. Each easement has specific allowed uses, so be sure to identify which uses are allowed on the easement you plan to visit. It is extremely important for people using these areas to respect that they are on private property and understand the boundaries and limitations of public use on each property.