Thank You

The Alliance’s Annual Conference and Membership Meeting was a success on many fronts. Guided hikes at the Plover River, Underdown and Dells of the Eau Claire segments, despite being blanketed in a late spring snow, provided the opportunity to recharge and enjoy a saunter with Trail friends from far and wide.

The Conference also featured new opportunities including daily raffles, a live auction and the final act of the Duff Bucket Challenge. The combined generosity of donors and attendees was overwhelming.

We would like to thank our generous sponsors and Trail supporters:

REI        FAV High Res Fontana Logo in Green            CWO-Logo---for-Dark-background

JHenrySons_Logo_K                             ICF logo_2015_blue on white               wawanissee logo           

ALF logo

We also want to thank Dean Dversdall and Bob Lange for their donations.

These gifts and collective energy generated at the Annual Conference make hikes and experiences on the Ice Age National Scenic Trail a reality, forming stories that shape generations. Thank you to our donors, sponsors and attendees for making these experiences. Don’t take it from us, though…let members, hikers and friends of the Trail tell their story. Enjoy our first installment of Storytellers:

The songs “Happy” and “St. Louis” used with permission by Widespread Panic.

A new safety initiative for Ice Age Trail volunteers

In conjunction with the National Park Service, we are excited to share with you a new safety initiative designed specifically for trail volunteers called “Trail Safe!

Trail Safe! is a very unique safety initiative, based upon NPS Operational Leadership training, where the human factor of safety is explored. Topics include things such as Stress & Performance, Situational Awareness, Effective Leadership, and more. NPS Operational Leadership training is typically a 16-hour classroom commitment, which is impractical for all Ice Age Trail volunteers to attend. Trail Safe! explores all of the core learning objectives found in NPS Operational Leadership training, but is made available to you in a series of eight short, self-study videos. Individual Trail Safe! video lessons run between 18 and 40 minutes long, and the entire series can be viewed in just three hours from the comfort of your own home.

In many of the lessons you’ll see your fellow Ice Age Trail volunteers (or maybe even yourself) in the featured photos!

To access the Trail Safe! video series, go to the National Park Service’s website for the Ice Age National Scenic Trail. On the main page scroll down to the Trail Safe! feature and click on the link. From there you will be able to open and play all Trail Safe! lessons. Please watch them in numeric order from Lesson #1 through Lesson #8, as the learning concepts for each lesson build upon the previous lessons.

IMPORTANT: After viewing each Trail Safe! lesson, please be sure to go back to the main web page to complete the Training Verification Roster which is found at the bottom of the Trail Safe! page just below Lesson #8. Completing the Training Verification Roster takes just a few moments and gives you credit for having participated in this important training tool. Once you have viewed all eight lessons and submitted Training Verification Rosters for each lesson, you’ll receive a Trail Safe! pin and other job aids through the mail from the National Park Service.

Thank you in advance for participating in Trail Safe! and for helping ensure other volunteers learn about this important safety initiative. Specific questions about Trail Safe! may be directed to NPS Volunteer Coordinator Daniel Watson at [email protected].

New Crew Leaders Prepare for Launch

The Ice Age Trail Alliance repeats the mantra “Trailbuilding is People Building” from the top of kames to the bottom of kettles. The acts of creating, supporting and protecting a 1000 mile footpath tracing glacial formations come in many forms and all lead back to this familiar phrase. Perhaps the best example of Trailbuilding is People Building is found in the cultivation and creation of the next generation of crew leaders.

It is no small feat to positively and safely guide fellow volunteers on and off-trail to create a world class hiking experience. Yet, since 2002, Ice Age Trail Alliance volunteers have been doing just that. Through rigorous training, high expectations, collaboration and a heavy dose of flat out fun, crew leaders are the front-line of the Trail. This is not done through smoke and mirrors but through the Alliance’s semiannual Crew Leadership and Skills Training.

April 27 through May 1, a new class of crew leader trainees will begin to hone their “Trailbuilding is People Building” skills. We welcome these hearty volunteers and thank each of them for joining the adventure.

Make Mammoth Tracks With Our New App

The Ice Age Trail Alliance is excited to announce the newest additions to the growing list of trail user resources, the Mammoth Tracks app. Available for Apple and Android devices alike, Mammoth Tracks is designed to work with ‘offline’ maps. This digital tool will not only guide you and keep you on the Trail, it will also provide important waypoints including parking, camping, water resources, ColdCache sites, and many other opportunities for enjoying the Ice Age National Scenic Trail. Download today!

5,000 Acres and Counting

The landscape of Wisconsin is a world renowned resource for understanding the impact continental glaciation had on our planet. Learning about the last major climate shift is imperative to understanding our past as well as preparing for our future. These lands are also as a medium for personal rejuvenation, exploration, physical and mental health, and an educational foundation for over 1.25 million annual Ice Age Trail users. Since 1986, the Ice Age Trail Alliance has acquired lands to protect this valuable resource in perpetuity.

Photo Credit: Jo Ellarson

During the fall 2015 through this week, the Alliance experienced a flurry of land protection activity capped by a 136-acre property donation in Manitowoc County. This acquisition protects some of the best examples of glaciation in the state and pushed the number of acres protected by the Alliance over the 5,000 mark. Indeed, since 1986 the Alliance has permanently protected 5,156 acres via 141 separate transactions.

The Alliance works with a wide variety of partners to determine the best ownership of each property. As such, the Alliance has transferred properties to state, county and other partners. The remaining 3,423 acres is managed and monitored by the Alliance, including 55 easements and 42 properties held in fee.

As an accredited land trust, the Ice Age Trail Alliance achieves a high standard for land protection, monitoring and improvement. Thanks to this designation by the Land Trust Alliance, the Ice Age National Scenic Trail is adding protected lands and trail miles, at an impressive rate. Since September of 2015 the Ice Age Trail Alliance has acquired 10 properties totaling 279 acres, protecting an estimated 2.75 miles of yet to be constructed Ice Age Trail. Of these 10 properties, 7 were donated with a total donation value of more than $2.5 million. There is no question that the high standard the Alliance maintains helps landowners feel confident that the land they cherish so deeply will be protected for generations to come.

For more information about the Ice Age Trail Alliance’s land protection work, please visit http://www.iceagetrail.org/land-protection-management/.

Wanted: Volunteer Field Editors for 2017 IATA Guidebooks

Work has begun on updating the Ice Age Trail Guidebook, Ice Age Trail Atlas, and Ice Age Trail Databook with the goal of publishing updated versions in 2017.

We are looking for dedicated and enthusiastic hikers and lovers of the outdoors to volunteer as Field Editors. That means you!

Field Editors will be asked to hike a selected segment of the Ice Age Trail, review and verify existing book info, and submit a Field Edit Report providing any updated, corrected, or new segment information. As a Field Editor you will receive all the documents and support you need to complete your assignment (hiking shoes not included).

You can complete your assignment as a Field Editor and submit your Field Edit Report anytime between mid-April and September 1, 2016.

Segments of various lengths along the entire Ice Age Trail are available. Field editors will also have the opportunity to submit photographs of their segment for possible publication in the updated books.

The interest in being a volunteer Field Editor is expected to be very high, so sign up right now before all the assignments are gone!

To volunteer (or ask questions) please contact Gary Hegeman, Volunteer Field Editor Coordinator, by phone (414-217-7626) or email ([email protected]).

The best part of being a Field Editor is the rewards. This opportunity will allow you to:

  • Get exercise (both physical and mental – always good).
  • Explore in-depth a segment of the Ice Age National Scenic Trail.
  • Be a contributor to outstanding Trail publications.
  • See your name in bright lights…or at least in the books’ list of Field Editors.
  • Be a hero — help make the Ice Age Trail more accessible and meaningful to hikers and outdoor lovers everywhere.

Duff Bucket Challenge

“Mug Shot” – Lakeshore Chapter Volunteers

One of the most-used tools along the Ice Age Trail is the underappreciated duff bucket. It’s used to haul away dirt and duff, transporting signage supplies and, perhaps, it’s most infamous use, as a seat during well-deserved breaks.

To keep the buckets employed over the winter, we came up with another use – collecting pocket change. Duff buckets are easy to fill when working on the Trail, let’s fill them with quarters, dimes, nickels and pennies – even paper money works!

We’re collecting change to make a change on the Ice Age Trail. To help you join the cause, we will send you an Ice Age Trail mug to fill. We’ll be collecting mugs full of change during the Annual Conference in Rothschild, April 7 – 10. If you can’t join us for the Conference, please hand off your mug to a chapter member that is attending or bring it to the office in Cross Plains. Your contribution will help us fill a duff bucket, or two, or…

For a little fun, we’re encouraging people to take their “Mug Shot.” Take a picture of your progress! Post it on Facebook and challenge your friends. Take it out on the Trail for a few pics and laughs.

How many can we fill? We’re hoping to need a bucket brigade to move all the duff buckets full of change! We’ll pack along the grip hoist just in case.

If you would like to participate in the Challenge, we’ll send you a mug “on the house.” Send a request to [email protected] or call the office at 608-798-4453.

 

Mobile Skills Crew Season Lifts Off

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Photo Credit: Dave Caliebe

Despite the frozen landscape of February, the first stone placed of the 2016 MSC tour rippled forth with refreshing change from the Treehaven education, conference and research center during the Winter Rendezvous. Trail folk from around the state celebrated the 2015 season, renewed fellowship with trail friends and looked ahead to the coming trailbuilding season. Amid snowshoe races, jigsaw puzzles and reminiscing about trailbuilding events of the past, a fire was lit in the very core of the Mobile Skills Crew spirit that will burn bright all season long.

Don’t worry if you missed the Rendezvous, the 2016 MSC Stones and Ripples tour is coming to an Ice Age Trail Segment near you. Next stop is in Rock County, April 27 – May 1 for Crew Leadership and Skills Training. If becoming a Crew Leader is not your fancy, join us at any of the other trailbuilding events. Check the schedule and register today. We look forward to making memories in 2016 that will kindle the fires of next year’s Winter Rendezvous.