Wisconsin’s Genoa NFH:
Visitor Center Dream to Become a Reality
BY DOUG ALOISI, GENOA NFH
The dream of getting a dedicated visitor service facility at the Genoa National Fish Hatchery (NFH) will soon be a reality, thanks to many different benefactors from both inside and outside the Fish and Wildlife Service. The project got off the ground in 2010, when a grant was received from the National Scenic Byways Program which provides grant monies for facilities and activities that increase visitor usage and experiences while traveling on the Nation’s scenic byways. Highway 35, which bisects the hatchery, was recognized as a national scenic byway in 1938 by Franklin Delano Roosevelt. Building design and site work have already been completed, and construction on the building itself will begin in the spring of 2015.
The center will not only assist the staff to tell the story of fish and wildlife conservation both past and present on the upper Mississippi River, but also will be used to interpret both natural and regional history surrounding the Upper Mississippi River. The facility will also be a great benefit to the outdoor classroom curriculum that hatchery currently maintains. It will mix in not only the value of fish and wildlife conservation and habitat conservation to the six local schools that currently use our wetland learning area, but also provide opportunities for classes to learn more about local history as well.
Construction is expected to be complete by spring of 2017. Many thanks to the support of our Regional Fisheries Team and the Regional Refuge Support Team, the Regional Engineering and Construction and Facilities management Team in providing support to ensure the project will come to fruition. Many thanks also need to go to Congressman Ron Kind; our local Friends group the Friends of the Upper Mississippi, and the local community for their interest and support of this project.
Genoa NFH will be the second National Fish Hatchery in the Fish and Wildlife Service’s Midwest Region (Region 3) to receive a dedicated visitor service facility. Missouri’s Neosho NFH, the nation’s oldest operating federal fish hatchery, dedicated their new visitor facility in 2010.