2024 Trail Steward of the Year: Wendell Holl

Wendell Holl, 2024 Trail Steward of the Year. Photo by Dennis Linley.
Wendell Holl, 2024 Trail Steward of the Year. Photo by Dennis Linley.

No volunteer may be more skilled at stonework than this year’s recipient of the Trail Steward Award: Wendell Holl, who lives in Lodi and is a member of the Lodi Valley Chapter. The Ice Age Trail Alliance staff bestowed this honor during the Awards and Recognition Ceremony at the Annual Conference and Membership Meeting, in Baraboo, in April 2024.

Thanks to Wendell’s guidance, grand staircases, retaining walls, and stepping stones have been expertly constructed all along the Trail—and better yet, he has trained the next generation of stonework experts!

The Trail Steward of the Year award recognizes a volunteer whose work contributes in an extraordinary manner to Trail management and development.

These contributions include:

  • Strengthening landowner and/or partner relations;
  • Trail layout, design, and construction;
  • Significant trail maintenance and stewardship efforts.

Wendell, a familiar face at Ice Age Trail Crew events for a decade, underwent Crew Leader Skills training in 2014. His quiet, kind, and inclusive leadership style has earned him the respect and admiration of his fellow volunteers. While stonework may be his specialty, Wendell’s true gift lies in his ability to make everyone feel valued and appreciated, fostering a sense of belonging within the team.

Volunteers rave about working on his crews and request to work with him, even though stonework is one of the most physically demanding tasks. He quickly teaches the basics of stonework, and by the end of the day, his crews are confidently setting stones, allowing Wendell to focus on the nuances of his section. When new volunteers are unsure if they have the physical strength for stonework, Wendell patiently shows them that with the right tools and leverage, anyone can do the work.

Wendell is more than willing to meet with Alliance staff before a project to scope it out and plan the best path forward. But he’s not just interested in large-scale projects. He’s also a stalwart volunteer for the Lodi Valley Chapter, willing to lend a hand or wield a chainsaw whenever necessary.

Carousel images: 1. Wendell Holl is flanked by Chad DuChateau, Director of Trail Operations (L), and Dave Caliebe, Trail Manager (R). 2. Luke Kloberdanz, the Alliance’s Executive Director/CEO, congratulates Wendell. 3. Wendel poses with Luke Kloberdanz. All photos by Dennis Linley.

Congratulations, Wendell!

Thank you for all you do on behalf of the Ice Age National Scenic Trail.