Hands-on Learning on the Merrimac Segment and at IAT-U

Ice Age Trail Alliance, Ice Age National Scenic Trail, Mobile Skills Crew Event Sauk County, Merrimac Segment

Photo credit: Dave Caliebe
The Baraboo Bluffs are beckoning…this is the view the Trail reroute will provide.

“Anyone who stops learning is old, whether at twenty or eighty. Anyone who keep learning stays young.”

~ Henry Ford

Educating and Empowering volunteers to build maintain and steward the Ice Age National Scenic Trail is the cornerstone of the Ice Age Trail Alliance Mobile Skills Crew Program. In the words of Henry Ford, “Anyone who keeps learning stays young.” If this is true, then our end-of-summer MSC event in Sauk County is a veritable fountain of youth.

Bring your youthful back-to-school spirit, because the best way to learn is by doing, and we’ve got a substantial, hands-on Trail improvement project in the works. This section of Trail meanders through the beautiful Riverland Conservancy owned Merrimac Preserve, near Devil’s Lake State Park. A dilapidated bridge and boardwalk will be replaced, ready for their own infusion of youthfulness.

Project priorities are always to work safe and have fun. We’ll shape a new half-mile of sustainable tread, build a new 24-foot bridge and 120-feet of boardwalk. The Trail reroute will be a great opportunity for folks to help improve the hiking experience by creating a more scenic path through a portion of the Preserve. The bridge and boardwalk will take shape over the course of several days of long hard work,” says Tim Malzhan, Director of Trail Operations. “Knowing these structures protect marsh habitat and give hikers access to scenic vistas of the Baraboo Range and unique wildlife habitat is rewarding.”

Ice Age Trail Alliance, Ice Age National Scenic Trail, Merrimac Segment, Sauk County, Mobile Skills project

Photo credit: Dave Caliebe
A view of the boardwalk to be replaced during the August MSC event.

What We’re Doing:

This Mobile Skills Crew Event is a multilayered experience. In addition to the planned trail work, Chainsaw Safety, First Aid & CPR, Camp Chef, and Property Monitoring trainings will be conducted by certified trainers as part of “IAT-U”, or the Ice Age Trail University. Courses require registration to attend.

Volunteers are needed for work related to helping reroute the trail, building boardwalk and bridge, shuttling volunteers and preparing food for the group. No previous experience is necessary, and there will be roles for all ages and abilities.

Please help us plan for your needs by registering, click here, or call the Ice Age Trail Alliance at 800-227-0046.

Special Guests and Awards:

Representative Dave Considine (81st Assembly District) will join the all-volunteer crew for some old-fashioned hard work and camaraderie on Thursday, August 18th. That evening, National Parks Service staff will present long-time Ice Age Trail Volunteer and board member, Dolly McNulty, with the prestigious Beacon award for her efforts to create the ColdCache program.

Trailbuilding Event Details:

Merrimac Segment and IAT-U
Wednesday, August 17 – Sunday, August 21
Sauk County, South Central Wisconsin

Basecamp for the project is at S7809 Marsh Road, Merrimac.

Trail work starts at 8:00 a.m. and ends by 5 p.m. each day.

The detailed project map can be found here.

The IATA provides food, tools, and campsites free to all who volunteer. There is no obligation to come for the entire event but many do because of the fun atmosphere and the friendships that develop throughout the project.

Please help us plan for your needs by registering, click here.

Useful items to bring include insect repellant, leather work gloves, sturdy hiking or work boots (no sneakers), daypack, water bottles, sunscreen, long-sleeve shirt and pants, hat, raingear and personal items. If camping, bring your own tent and sleeping bag.

This project is funded in part by a generous grant from REI.

Visit www.iceagetrail.org for more information on hiking and volunteering on the Ice Age Trail.