Stories of the Land Interpretive Trailway
The Stories of the Land initiative involves a signage-guided educational walk through a portion of our property with the goal of engaging hikers with the fascinating history that happened on the soil beneath their feet.
Our historic site is situated on beautiful Ho-Chunk ancestral land which offers valuable educational opportunities. From examining the culture and history of the indigenous Ho-Chunk people, to discovering prominent historical figures who journeyed here, to exploring applied prairie science and more, Stories of the Land enhances our educational offerings out in nature's classroom.
The interpretive trail begins just off of the parking lot, adjacent to our Native encampment area which features a traditional Ho-Chunk dwelling called a chipoteke. This structure was constructed by a Ho-Chunk youth as an Eagle Scout project in the spring of 2019. The interpretive signage is located along the Outer Loop trail.
In addition to our Stories of the Land interpretive trailway which has a mowed-grass surface, we also offer a primitive walking path of a higher difficulty level which begins off the gravel turnaround at the end of the road. Enjoy the beauty of the Fox River. Please note that the trail ends at an old bridge which crosses a drainage ditch. Please do not cross the bridge, as it is not structurally sound and leads to private property. You will head back the same way you came.
"A Landscape of Families" Exhibit
(coming spring 2022)
The Historic Indian Agency House is partnering with the Ho-Chunk Nation Museum and Cultural Center to create a new outdoor exhibit at the Historic Indian Agency House by the spring of 2022. "A Landscape of Families" is designed to be a powerful means by which to present the personal stories of the Ho-Chunk Nation which happened on these grounds—their homeland—as well as provide meaningful opportunities for cultural enrichment and encourage healing. The exhibit is funded in part by a grant from Wisconsin Humanities, with funds from the National Endowment for the Humanities.*
*This project supports Wisconsin Humanities' mission to strengthen the roots of community life through educational and cultural programs that inspire civic participation and individual imagination. Any views, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this project do not necessarily represent those of the National Endowment of the Humanities.
Funded in part by:
Our hiking trails wind through diverse habitats, including prairies, woodlands, and wetlands. In the winter, consider taking in the scenery via snowshoes or cross-country skis. Because of our conservation efforts, the trails provide a great platform for nature studies, photography, birding, and more. School groups and scouts enjoy activities in this setting, as well. Our trails are free and open to the public. We ask that you respect the land—including carrying out any trash—so that it may be preserved and enjoyed by all for many generations to come.
Picnic Tables and Gardens
While you're visiting, enjoy a picnic and appreciate our gardens. Our kitchen garden showcases some of the crops that were common in the early 1800s, while our rotary garden (established by the local Rotary Club and other donors) provides a serene place to relax and ponder the lessons of history gleaned from our museum tour. We also have a small community-sponsored heritage apple orchard. Once our trees start to produce, enjoy a treat straight from the tree.
Committed to Conservation
Our 233-acre site is one of scenic beauty and abundant wildlife. The Historic Indian Agency House and its governing board (NSCDA-WI) are committed to the preservation of the land. As such, we have partnered with Groundswell Conservancy to establish a 100-year conservation easement on a large portion of our property.
Rustic Road, Historic Canal, & Ice Age Trail
Agency House Road—also known as Rustic Road 69—is part of the Wisconsin DOT's Rustic Roads program, which has granted the designation to more than 100 roads that provide "leisurely travel through the state's scenic countryside." Along Rustic Road 69, just up from its intersection with E. Albert St., a foot bridge crosses over the historic Portage Canal, which is on the National Register of Historic Places. On the other side of the foot bridge is the Ice Age Trail, which is part a 1,000-mile-long National Scenic Trail carved by glaciers in the state of Wisconsin.