Town of Wheatland
Vernon County, Wisconsin
Town of Wheatland Town Clerk - De Soto, WI 54624
Office (608)648-3583   Fax (608)648-3584 

Along the great Mississippi River


Around the Area

Great River Road

Follow the mighty Mississippi from county line to county line along the Vernon County segment of the Great River Road, State Highway 35. Visit the historic riverside villages of Stoddard, Genoa, Victory and De Soto. Stop at the site of the "Battle of Bad Axe" near Victory. Visit "Battle Island" and "Battle Slough" at Black Hawk Park and view majestic bluffs, rich backwater vegetation, watch eagles fish for food and humans fish for sport. Take time to observe the river traffic lock through at Lock & Dam #8, visit the Dairyland Power Cooperative's Station Number three south of Genoa, and the Genoa National Fish Hatchery, too.

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The River Trails of Vernon County

Wisconsin's "crookedest" river, the gentle Kickapoo, meanders through Vernon County from Ontario south, joined by the West Fork River above Readstown, continuing its southerly journey across the corner of Richland County, to the southern border of Crawford County where it joins the Wisconsin River which joins the mighty Mississippi at Prairie du Chien. Coon Creek flows through the northwestern third of Vernon County and joins the Mississippi at Stoddard; and the North and South Forks of the Bad Axe River flow westerly to the Mississippi north of Black Hawk Park and south of Lock and Dam #8. The county's streams and rivers flow for more than a hundred miles through the unchallenged natural beauty of deep-cut gorges, tree-topped bluffs, undulating, terraced farmland surrounded by gently rising wooded hills, under forest canopies through shadowy glens. Local outfitters rent canoes and kayaks, provide guides, maps and shuttle services.

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Coon Creek Watershed

An historical marker located one-half mile west of Coon Valley on State Highway 14 commemorates the successful restoration of the 92,000-acre Coon Creek Valley watershed. Decimated by erosion resulting from clearing, cutting, 19th century wheat growing and subsequent soil-depleting dairy farming practices, by the 1920's the once lushly green Coon Creek Valley was mostly barren, cut by deep gullies that turned to raging torrents with every rainfall. Topsoil carried from the Valley choked the Mississippi River with silt which filled in and spoiled the channels and adjacent wetlands, damaging the habitat for fish and aquatic plants. In 1933 the U.S. Soil Erosion Service selected the Coon Creek Watershed for a demonstration of soil and water conservation. With the aid of local farmers, the Coon Creek Soil Conservation District was created and went into action. Applying the latest in soil conservation practices, strip-cropping, terracing, contouring, erosion control and crop rotation, "The Nation's First Watershed" was restored and became an outdoor classroom for Wisconsin's and the nation's farmers. Thanks to that early experiment and continuing soil conservation practices, present-day visitors will find the Valley green again, with colorful, contrasting strips of contoured plantings following the curves of the hills. The streams run clear again, the fish are plentiful, and the flood control ponds provide great recreation for all.

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Black Hawk Park

Along Highway 35 between Victory and De Soto majestic bald eagles swoop and soar as barges, riverboats and pleasure craft ply up and down the great Mississippi River, past Battle Island where Black Hawk's tragic adventure is memorialized in this park that bears his name. Here, fish and waterfowl abound, deer cautiously wade and otters play in the backwaters bounded by the park. The park offers camping, canoe, boat and motor rentals, backwater Flat bottom boat rides, launching and docking facilities, tackle and bait, camping supplies and groceries.

Located adjacent to the main channel of the Mississippi River, the park is three miles north of De Soto, Wisconsin., and 30 miles south of La Crosse, Wisconsin., just off Wisconsin State Highway 35 on County Road Bl. Black Hawk is the largest public use facility in Pool 9 of the mighty Mississippi. 

Black Hawk offers a choice of single, double and pull through campsites with electrical hookups. Many sites are located along the shoreline and provide a picturesque view of the Mississippi River. A camping fee is required. Coin-operated showers, playgrounds, toilets, drinking water and a sanitary dump station are also available. 

Picnic areas range from accessible, reservable shelters to individual tables and grills located in day-use areas adjacent to the Mississippi River. A sandy beach is open for sunbathing, building sand castles and cooling off on a hot summer day. 

Fishing is open to the public along any part of Black Hawk's shoreline. A fishing dock is available to the mobility impaired. There are two boat launching ramps that give access to the Mississippi's main channel. Courtesy docks and fish cleaning stations are also provided. 

A variety of programs and activities are provided by park rangers throughout the summer. Such programs may cover topics like recreation, local history and the environment. Activities range from guided walks and campfire talks to natural craft programs. 

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Aerial view of Black Hawk Park located on Battle Island situated on the Mississippi River
Area Recreation
Town of Wheatland
Vernon County, Wisconsin
The American Duchess passing by