The lock system on the Fox River is one of the only fully restored, hand-operated lock systems in the nation. Just as they did when the locks were built in the 1850s, lock tenders open and close the giant gates and valves by hand. The lock system is staffed by lock tenders on duty until the end of the navigation season on Sept. 15.
The locks in Little Kaukauna and De Pere are open daily while the locks in Appleton are open on weekends from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m.
From 2005-2015 the Fox River Navigational System Authority (FRNSA) restored 16 of the 17 locks on the system at an investment of $14.5 million. Several locks on the system will remain closed for the 2019 season:
- The five locks through Kaukauna are restored and operational, but not open to boaters due to the inoperable Veterans Memorial lift bridge. The U.S. Coast Guard has given the City of Kaukauna until 2021 to fix the bridge making the Fox River navigable to boaters.
- The lock at Rapide Croche will remain closed to prevent the spread of aquatic invasive species from the Great Lakes into the Fox River and Lake Winnebago. This lock has been closed for more than 30 years in compliance with state law.
- The Menasha Lock will remain closed pending review of a plan to construct an electric barrier and water flow system to prevent the spread of the invasive round goby. The lock was closed at the request of the Department of Natural Resources in late September 2015.
For more information on lock hours and operations, click here.