Local Trail Awarded National Designation

Americans Trails organization honors Chippewa Valley Water Trail

Evelyn Nelson |

The Chippewa Valley Water Trail, a local hot spot for runners, fishers, and tubers during the summer, has been officially recognized as a national recreation trail by the U.S. Department of the Interior. 

Mike Passo, the executive director for the American Trails organization, said the trail designation made an impact for him on a personal level. “I’m from Wisconsin, I grew up in Marshfield, and my grandparents lived in Chippewa Falls,” Passo said. “I know the area well, I know the river well, and I think it’s well deserved. Congratulations to you all.”

To become a national recreation trail, there is an in-depth application process that requires agreement from all neighboring landowners through which the trail passes, Passo said. What makes an application stand out, according to the American Trails organization, is the support provided by the community.

It is up to locals from Eau Claire and the Chippewa Valley to share how the trail affects the community. “It puts (Eau Claire) in the company of the very best trails in the nation,” Passo said. “It is an official way of saying, this trail is exemplary, and it’s one that trails across the nation can look to for guidance for best practices – to be a shining star of what a great regional trail can look like.”

You can find a map of the 4.2-mile Chippewa Valley Water Trail on the Visit Eau Claire website.