Freedom to Portage!

The locks on the Fox River are very popular to paddle through and enjoy (check out our Appleton and Little Chute Locks excursions, which are the most popular routes), but today we are talking about navigating around them!

No one likes to get “locked” in place and kayaking is all about freedom of flow! Our local locks are not operational all the time and many of them are not functional yet! No worries kayaking friends – we can always portage!

What is portaging? Portaging is the act of carrying a boat or its cargo over land to get from one navigable waterway to another.


Why might you portage? The most common reason to portage is due to an obstruction in a waterway, such as a tree, dam, or lock.

Some of the locks on the Fox River have marked portage paths, but if you come to an obstruction without a referenced portage path, on the Fox River or other body of water, your right to portage remains the same.


Portaging is a physical activity. With a lighter vessel, this can be done by oneself, but it’s always easier and more fun to share the load with a helping hand to cross the path! The act of portaging is as old as kayaks and canoes themselves [1000s of years old first done by the arctic inhabitants now known as the Inuits]. To hop across islands or cross a barrier to continue a journey is something special that can offer the feeling of traversing you to a simpler time. If you haven’t incorporated it into your kayaking adventure yet we recommend trying it!

For more information about portaging or if you have general questions feel free to reach out to us! There are many other organizations supporting paddler’s adventures out on the water as well!