Our team collaborated with the Menominee Indian Tribe of Wisconsin to design a new 37-acre nature park centered around a historic waterfall in Keshena. An outdoor addition to the Menomine Nation Logging Camp & Cultural Museum, the site will host educational, recreational, and ceremonial activities. The mile-long walking trail and interpretive signage were designed to seamlessly extend the museum experience outdoors with a central pavilion inspired by a traditional wigwam serving as the heart of the site.
Our team designed the park to include cultural elements central to the Menominee Indian Tribe, known as the People of the Wild Rice. The park will feature a mile-long walking trail, pavilion, restrooms, playground, and interpretive signage. The walking trails will promote health and wellness and increase opportunities for physical activity in a safe environment.
The trails are designed to be circuitous, mimicking the twists and turns of the Wolf River and offer viewing opportunities for a more intimate experience with nature. The trails will also celebrate the Tribe’s relationship to the river and to the sturgeon that swim in these waters.
Sturgeon are culturally integral to the Menominee people. Before the implementation of dams, sturgeon would travel 135 miles from Keshena Falls down the Wolf River to Lake Winnebago, however, they have been absent for the last hundred years. The Tribe has been working to repopulate the area below the waterfalls, allowing sturgeon to spawn in their natural habitat. The park will be designed to celebrate this ecological renewal while creating a place for the Menominee community to gather. The central pavilion, designed to reflect a traditional wigwam, will serve as the heart of the site and accommodate up to 80 people.
Linked land depressions will form a bioswale that will serve to slow runoff and filter it before reaching the Wolf River. Bridges over these bioswales will connect the parking lot and pavilion area.
An existing powerhouse in the river will be replaced with a new fixed crest dam to help maintain conditions for the growth of wild rice in the area. In addition, a boardwalk, designed to preserve area wetlands, will be positioned close to the waterfall, which is considered the “heartbeat” of the river. The boardwalk will provide several viewing platforms.
Because of the historical significance and ecological sensitivity of the site, minimizing the impact of construction activities to the land, river and waterfall were a priority for the client.
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