Formerly an abandoned railroad corridor, the Beerline was acquired in 2002 for $400,000 to link Gordon Park with Riverboat Road as a segment of the Oak Leaf Trail. A complicated land swap and LAWCON conversion allowed the trail to be constructed and created habitat for the endangered Butler’s Gartersnake.
The Beerline’s linear corridor is 7 acres and was purchased with WDNR stewardship funds with 50% match raised from many donors. This section of the Beerline Loop is adjacent to Gordon Park (28 acres), and connects to the North Avenue Dam pedestrian bridge, the East Bank Trail, Caesar’s Park and Riverside Park; thus the “loop” anchored by three county parks and Turtle Park. Construction was done in partnership with Milwaukee County Parks (and to whom the parcel has since been conveyed), with $225,000 in funding from the Wisconsin Coastal Management Program, WDNR Recreational Trails program, the Greater Milwaukee Foundation, and other donors.
Gordon Park (and the entire Milwaukee River valley) is a primary environmental and migratory corridor which provides upland hardwood forest, lowland riparian forests and wet-mesic grasslands bordered by a shub-car. These plant communities have become a haven for wildlife trying to survive in our urban environment. Visit Gordon Park and you may find one of them: butler’s and common garter snake; brown dekay snakes; softshell, painted, snapping, red-eared slider turtles; brown trout; steelhead; sturgeon; chinook salmon; red-tailed hawk; great horned owl; wax wings; warblers; deer; coyote; Eastern cottontail; grey squirrel; red fox, waterfowl; opossum… and beavers!
Through a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with Milwaukee County Parks, RRF has been stewarding Gordon Park and the Beerline Trail for over a decade. RRF staff and volunteers focus on eradicating invasive species targeted in the highest quality areas of the park. Following removal of invasive vegetation, staff and volunteers work to increase biodiversity by planting and seeding native species. Please enjoy the plants, but remember to leave them for all to enjoy!
Many enjoy hiking, birding, paddling, fishing and botanizing along the Beerline Trail and in Gordon Park. This loop is a 2.5-mile trail within the Milwaukee River Greenway!
Get a complete list of bird species and record your bird sightings at Gordon Park on eBird
Want to explore this space and the Milwaukee River Valley? Download “Take A Hike!” map and quest