Fond du Lac: The City of Health, Wildlife and the Environment

FDL: City of Health


It's true. The spirit of Fond du Lac and the Lake Winnebago Region is one of community — of people caring for each other and their quality of life, including care and preservation of wildlife and the environment. So, while there may be a lot of small-town charm and tradition about us, we're at the leading edge of bringing awareness and action to lifestyle issues. Check it out!



Well City is an initiative based around WELCOA‘s National Well-Workplace Award, designed to engage entire business communities in improving the health and well being of their workforce. Fond du Lac business and community leaders have come together to engage in Well City Fond du Lac to help make the Fond du Lac workforce one of the healthiest in America.


Fair Trade is an economic system that provides opportunities for farmers, workers and artisans to lift themselves to a higher standard of living. It gives assurances to consumers that producers are paid fair prices for their products and labor, care for the environment, and are able to provide for their communities. Fond du Lac is proud to be recognized as a Fair Trade City.


The Tree City USA program has been greening up cities and towns across America since 1976. It's a nationwide movement that provides the framework necessary for communities to manage and expand their public trees. More than 3,400 communities have made the commitment to becoming a Tree City USA. They've achieved Tree City USA status by four core standards of sound urban forestry management.

Having earned the designation of a “Tree City”, Fond du Lac and its surrounding communities all play a part to show pride in this beautiful area of ours.

Visitors and residents enjoy not one but two scenic and lovingly cared for arboretums in our community.


The City of Fond du Lac has many bird habitat areas along the various waterways that wind their way through the City. The Greenway Arboretum consists of 14 acres of natural habitat along the East Branch of the Fond du Lac River. Volunteers and city staff are restoring this area to its original hardwood forest — with primarily oak and hickory — striving for the 50% shade canopy that once covered the area. Over the years the area was neglected, and invasive species have taken over much of the vegetation. As these are removed and the canopy is re-opened, native vegetation is again beginning to appear. The plants of the area are of the prairie variety and provide food for the birds and other animals throughout the summer months.

Fond du Lac is considered a “Bird City” because of the environment it provides for all types of birds to thrive. Just a few miles to the south, you can take a walk, bike or even canoe through the Horicon Marsh which includes hundreds of acres of wildlife habitat for all sorts of winged creatures. The Horicon Marsh also posts markers that educate visitors on the different species of wildlife that call this beautiful area home.

The Greenway Arboretum

Discover over two miles of beautiful nature trails along the Fond du Lac River on 24.5 acres right in town. Recognized by Bird City, this gem is accessible close to the west side of the Pick ‘n Save parking lot on S. Pioneer Avenue and S. Main Street. Through the efforts of ParkWatch and local citizen volunteers, restoration of native tree plantings and an oak savannah are in progress, along with new walking trails.

The Gottfried Prairie & Arboretum, 400 Campus Drive

Consisting of 42 acres of native prairie grasses and wildflowers, this Arboretum is located on the east edge of Fond du Lac on the UW-Fond du Lac campus and hosts a savannah, lowland forests and northern mixed forests. There is also an interpretive trail and recreation area where you can see the 176 native trees and shrubs.

Mary Fran Merwin Memorial Prairie, 801 Campus Drive

This area was restored by the school's environmental science students and instructors and funded by local businesses. Enjoy this path around the geothermal ponds that heat and cool the high school. See grasses and flowers that once dominated the local landscape. Expect to see birds and wildlife in this setting of natural beauty.

Oakfield Ledge State Natural Area, Breakneck Road (Oakfield)

One of the most significant exposures of the Niagara Escarpment in Wisconsin, these prominent rock cliffs 40 feet high can be enjoyed from different elevations. See undisturbed native vegetation and forest floor habitat.

Belle Reynolds School Forest, 330 Oak Street (Oakfield)

Part of the Niagara Escarpment, visitors can wiggle through rock crevices, cross a log bridge, and see native plants and wildlife.

Denevue Creek Public Access

From McDermott Park, walk north on the east side of the creek. Continue north beyond Scott Street but on the west side of the creek. The public access goes all the way to Lakeside Park.

South Woods, Anne Starr Woods, Cresco Prairie Conservancy (Ripon)

Located off Union Street in Ripon, these adjacent nature areas provide hikers with a variety of natural habitats along several paths including a walk along a creek. The Ceresco Prairie Conservancy is located next to the Ripon College campus in back of The Storzer Athletic Center. The trails wind through wetland areas and connect with South Woods Crystal Creek. Along the trail you enjoy prairie, oak savannah and glacial moraine habitats. Of special interest to educators and families alike is the Kegel Environmental Classroom. These are great trails for running, walking, hiking, and nature exploration.

Northwestern Trail (Ripon)

With a packed gravel base from the old railroad bed, this flat trail is ideal for walking and biking. The trail begins at the Public Library in Ripon and extends 3.5 miles to the west. You can expect to experience lush vegetation and a variety of wildlife along the way. Rabbits, chipmunks and gophers are plentiful. Keep your eyes open for the deer, turkeys, woodchucks, and foxes!

Eldorado Marsh Wildlife Area

The wildlife area consists of a rich mosaic of wetland types, small oak openings, shrubland, grasslands and agricultural land. The West Branch of the Fond du Lac River flows through the wildlife area. The original species, rich sedge meadow wetlands, have converted to reed canary grass and cattail vegetation because of human disturbance. The .75 mile long dike provides excellent access for wildlife viewing opportunities in the center of the wildlife area, especially during spring and fall migration. Cross-country skiing and snowshoeing allow visitors to explore the marsh in winter.

Zillmer Trails (Kettle Moraine State Forest), W833 County Road SS (Campbellsport)

Beautiful four loop trails for a total of 11 miles. The south trailhead has a heated shelter, vault toilets, picnic tables, grills and drinking water. The trail is also accessible from the Visitor Center (N2875 WI-67, Campbellsport). A rustic backpack shelter can be reserved for camping along the trail from April through November. In winter forest staff regularly machine groom the trails for diagonal and skate skiing.

Greenbush Recreation Area (Kettle Moraine State Forest), N5854 Kettle Moraine Drive (Glenbeulah)

Enjoy two trail systems: Four loops of challenging mountain bike trails totaling nine miles, and five loops of hiking trails totaling 13.5 miles. In winter the hiking trails are machine-groomed for cross-country skiing. The 1.2-mile Brown loop at Greenbush is lighted for night skiing. The bike trails are excellent for winter hiking and snowshoeing. A heated picnic shelter, picnic tables, grill, drinking water and vault toilets are located around the Greenbush Group Camp parking lot. There is also access to the Ice Age Trail.

Ice Age National Scenic Trail (Kettle Moraine State Forest)

About 31 miles of the Ice Age National Scenic Trail travels the length of the forest. The moderate to difficult course follows sinuous eskers and tumbled moraines descending into bogs and deep kettles. Five rustic backpack shelters can be reserved for camping along the trail. The Ice Age Trail includes various portions of other forest trails.

More of Your Fond du Lac to Explore