Is it possible to complete four days’ worth of work in a three-day project? It sure is! Volunteers – 187 – from across the state (and even Illinois) donated 3,048 service hours as they tackled 3 project areas to:
- Craft 2 reroutes totaling 2,200 feet of new tread.
- Build a 330-foot boardwalk.
- Construct 3 stone staircases (for a total of 15 steps).
- Frame and fill 14 box steps.
- Install enough check dams to stop a small river.
In addition, a small reroute near Hwy C means there is now only one pedestrian crossing at this busy road, a significant safety upgrade for both hikers and cars alike.
The reward for this herculean effort? A more sustainable and less dangerous Ice Age Trail route along a heavily used segment. A beautiful fall weekend drew eager hikers into the work areas even before volunteers got yellow blazes painted!
“My time working on MSC projects has always been fantastic – hard work for sure, but most certainly a positive experience! A winning combination, in my opinion, entails good, hard work, creating a rewarding result, and a positive vibe. My daughter, Niah, has worked by my side for years, growing up on an organic vegetable Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) farm. Now, off to college, I knew she’d appreciate the important work and community that builds among trailbuilding volunteers. It was for these reasons I asked her to join me on the Lapham Peak project. Niah’s strong, farm-work ethic was evident on the project, and we had an excellent time working together on a worthwhile endeavor.” – Nik Schauer
For making this project possible, special thanks to:
- The Waukesha/Milwaukee County Chapter for bending over backward to accommodate an ever-expanding project scope.
- The Lapham Peak Unit staff for their warm welcome and assistance with materials and basecamp.
- Sherri Ritz, for providing outstanding meals!
- The Friends of Lapham Peak for the use of their Mule, trailer, and vast knowledge of Lapham Peak’s trails and landscape.
- John Hillmer for his tireless passion for the maintenance and preservation of Lapham Peak.
“I’ve enjoyed hiking the Ice Age Trail and hearing my mother’s stories about how awesome she felt MSC projects were. I was immediately excited when she asked me to accompany her to the Lapham Peak project. At first, I only planned to stay Thursday and Friday—after all, I had college homework due. But, after even the first day, I knew I wanted to stay through Saturday. Homework could wait. Being on the Trail was a special experience, working hard with people invested in the project and the Trail. I am proud of what we accomplished, and I met some really cool people along the way. I can’t wait to volunteer again!” – Niah Schauer
Friday evening, we enhanced the celebratory atmosphere with an award ceremony recognizing the following folks:
- Members of the Ice Age Trail Alliance Advocacy Committee received the first-ever Land Trust Volunteer of the Year award from a partner organization, Gathering Waters: Wisconsin’s Alliance for Land Trusts.
- Long-time MSC volunteer, Rich Propp, received his 2019 Trail Steward of the Year award (a belated acknowledgement due to Covid-19).
Generous funding for volunteer support, boardwalk construction, and trailbuilding supplies came from the DNR Knowles-Nelson Stewardship Program Friends Grant
“The MSC project along the Lapham Peak Segment of the Ice Age Trail was an incredible experience for all involved. Excellent communication between Alliance staff, volunteers, and park staff made for a very efficient project. I have never worked with such a dedicated, organized, and enthusiastic group. I was impressed by how many volunteers participated and how quickly they performed tasks throughout the week. What seemed like two months’ worth of work was completed in four days!
This project was an opportunity to collaborate on a large-scale project focused on improving park visitors’ experience for generations. This MSC event addressed several erosion and maintenance issues and created stand-out features to entice hikers to return again and again to this segment. Like, the brand-new boardwalk overlooking a wetland, a retaining wall built with boulders found within the park, and beautiful stone steps. This event – the people and their accomplishments – has been one of the highlights of my career. I am incredibly appreciative of everyone who contributed to its success. Thank you all!” – Colton Kelly, Kettle Moraine State Forest-Lapham Peak Unit, Park Manager
We are excited about the trailbuilding work done at Lapham Peak – all thanks to volunteer’s dedication and hard work!
Wildcard at Iola Ski Hill Segment, Waupaca County
October 20-22, 2022
The final hurrah: Join us as we head back to the Iola Ski Hill Segment to continue where we left off in June. Hopefully, after a few more days of effort – treadwork, signage, and stonework – we’ll be able to open the newly rerouted Ice Age Trail in time for late-fall hikers and winter snowshoers.
Learn more and register today.
See our full schedule of upcoming events, here.
Generous Sponsors of the 2022 MSC Trailbuilding Season include: