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Neenah trail expansion sits on potential archaeological site

2020 Lakeshore Avenue Trail dig
Posted at 6:12 PM, Sep 27, 2022
and last updated 2022-09-28 09:59:23-04

NEENAH (NBC 26) — There is good news for Riverside Park fans. The Lakeshore Avenue Trail extension is back on track.

“So, what we’re doing here today is an extension of the Lakeshore Avenue Trail… taking it from the east side of the park around to the west side of the park along the shoreline so folks can continue their walks, their bikes, their jogs, however they choose to use the shoreline and take in the views of the water,” said Michael Kading, Neenah parks & recreation director.

The city started implementation on the first part of the trail two years ago and found something unexpected, more than 2,000 Native American artifacts.

“It halted the project. We had to stop, bring in UW-Milwaukee, the archaeological and the state historical society on site and they had to start doing cataloging and had to be here on-site at all times when we were digging,” said Kading. "The minute we did [find the artifacts], we had to contact the tribes and the historical society."

According to the Menominee Indian Tribe Director David Grignon, "[T]hey found human remains also...and the tribes got together and did a ceremony for them before they were buried."

NBC 26 spoke to an archaeological expert to find out more about this major discovery.

“We identified what we felt were cultural features, and cultural features are evidence of past houses or cooking pits,” said Jennifer Haas, UW-Milwaukee Archaeological Research Director.

Though quite the find, it's better if they don't disturb the land anymore.

“We worked with the city to literally avoid impacts to the site,” said Haas.

This time around, they are hoping to minimize impacts.

“We really don’t want to find any human remains or any shards,” said Kading. “That’s just from a practicality standpoint but also just a respectful perspective. Let’s just leave what’s intact, intact.”

The City of Neenah hopes to have the trail done by the beginning of November.