2018 Annual Conference & Membership Meeting

Welcome Trail Friends!

You’re invited to our Annual Conference and Membership Meeting beginning Thursday, April 12th through Sunday, April 15th. 

We’ll be celebrating you – the hikers, volunteers, members, and donors – and all you do to make the Ice Age National Scenic Trail the treasure that it is.

Lodging & Reservations

We’ll be hosted by the beautiful Blue Harbor Resort, Sheboygan, WI.

Please make lodging arrangements by calling the Reservations Department at 1-866-701-2583. Please identify yourselves as members of the IAT Group with Reservation #7AS47K for special conference rate ($84.00/Single; $104/Double occupancy).  Deadline for conference rate ends March 12, 2018. You may also register online and enter the reservation code #7AS47K.

Registration & Meals

Conference registration information is coming to this page shortly! Check back by the end of January (at the latest!).

Conference Schedule

Thursday, April 12, 2018

6:30 a.m. – 8:00 a.m. Check-in/Registration/Coffee

7:00 a.m. – 7:45 a.m. Breakfast Buffet

8:00 a.m. – 2:00 p.m. CHOOSE YOUR OWN ADVENTURE

HIKE: Parnell Segment. Two hike options, 8.8-mile hike or 4.2-mile hike. Traverse the note-worthy Parnell Esker and view a world-famous collection of kames.

Tour of Wigwam Mills – Explore Sheboygan (limit 25). Go on a one-of-a-kind, behind-the-scenes tour of Wigwam’s production facility and see how socks proudly “Made-in-America” are actually produced.

12:00 p.m. – 1:15 p.m. Lunch Buffet for those at Blue Harbor (Sack lunch provided for hikers.)

2:00 p.m. Hikers arrive back at Blue Harbor

2:45 p.m. – 3:00 p.m. Snack

3:00 p.m. – 4:15 p.m. CONCURRENT SESSIONS

Walking Home Ground: Join author and Waukesha/Milwaukee Chapter member Robert Root as he shares his book, Walking Home Ground. It’s a lyrical mix of memoir, travel writing, and environmental history.

Bookworm Gardens – Explore Sheboygan: Bookworm Gardens is a whimsical, wonderful spot in Sheboygan for the young and young at heart where nature, literature and the imagination all come to light. Come learn about this intriguing place and the programs designed for kids of all ages. (This is NOT a tour. Bookwork Gardens in not open in April.)

4:15 p.m. – 5:30 p.m. Social Hour

5:30 p.m. – 6:45 p.m. Buffet Dinner


During a series of concurrent sessions, delight in the achievements of your fellow Trail enthusiasts and hear their adventure-filled stories of hiking the IAT. These sessions will also contain adventure stories ranging from a climb of Mt. McKinley to Sheboygan’s fascinating history.

Friday, April 13, 2018

6:30 a.m. – 8:00 a.m. Check-in/Registration/Coffee

7:00 a.m. – 7:45 a.m. Breakfast Buffet


LaBudde Creek Segment Hike: This segment features a wetland complex, undulating grassland and forested upland. A 3.5-mile hike. Expect a 45-minute drive.

Board of Director’s Quarterly Meeting (8:30 a.m. – 11:30 a.m.):

Chapter Leadership Summit (8:30 a.m. – 11:30 a.m.): A Year in the Life of a Chapter. A discussion of the activities and events chapter leadership must consider as they create a robust, well-run organization that serves its membership and the Trail at large.

12:00 p.m. – 1:15 p.m. Buffet Lunch

1:15 p.m. – 2:00 p.m. Free Time – Walk – Nap – Refresh

2:00 p.m. – 2:15 p.m. Snacks

2:15 p.m. – 4:45 p.m. Annual Membership Meeting and Board of Director Elections.

This is a wonderful opportunity to come together as members under the big Ice Age Trail Alliance tent. Alliance leadership will impart crucial information relating to organizational finances, strategic plan, and mission and vision.

4:45 p.m. – 5:15 p.m. Board of Director’s Meeting

5:00 p.m. – 6:30 p.m. Social Hour

6:30 p.m. – 8:00 p.m. Buffet Dinner

8:00 p.m. – 9:15 p.m. Keynote: That Tree-An Unintended Adventure by Mark Hirsch

Mark Hirsch, an inspiring speaker, photographer and artist, likes to tell the story of how he, while recovering from a near fatal car accident in January of 2013, was encouraged by a friend to use his iPhone like a camera. This inspired him to embark on a unique adventure of making a photo-a-day of a lone bur oak tree in a Wisconsin cornfield. Mark’s time in the valley with That Tree provided him with a transformative and therapeutic adventure of self-discovery, inspiration and enlightenment.

Saturday, April 14th, 2018

6:30 a.m. – 8:00 a.m. Check-in/Registration/Coffee

7:00 a.m. – 7:45 a.m. Buffet Breakfast


Greenbush Segment Hike: A 4.8-mile hike along the Greenbush Kettle area, one of the most symmetrical deep depressions in the area. The segment travels through forested high-relief hummocky topography (lots of ups and downs). The region is a good place to see the hooded warbler, a rare migratory bird. The understory is a perfect home for wildflowers as ferns, orchids, trillium, and mayapples thrive in the shade.

The “Un-Hike” Experience: We’re offering a new way to enjoy the outdoors during the conference. Alliance staff member Eric Sherman will be leading a small-group “un-hike” on a nearby Trail Segment. We’ll walk in a short distance, spread out, and sit still for a good while to listen to what the forest has to offer. [Limit 12 people.]

Trail Community Hike: A family-friendly hike for the young and young at heart. Explore a premier Trail Community, City of Two Rivers, including a stop at the Washington House, home of the Ice Cream Sundae, for an ice cream treat. (1 or 2-mile hike options). Expect a 45-minute drive.

JMK Art Center & Walking Tour – Explore Sheboygan: Engage your artistic side with a visit to the John Michael Kohler Art Center and engage with street-art as you take a self-guided tour via The Sheboygan Project. Download TSP Map [PDF].

 10:00 a.m. – 4:15 p.m. BACKPACKING TRACK

Deepen your backpacking know-how with plenty of advice from backpacking experts. If you’re considering a thru-hike as your next big adventure, you won’t want to miss this series!

10:00 a.m. – 11:00 a.m. Session 1: Trip Planning, Logistics, and Navigation.

11:15 a.m. – 12:15 p.m. Session 2: Gear and Packing (including a pack shakedown).

12:15 p.m. – 1:15 p.m. Buffet Lunch

1:30 p.m. – 2:45 p.m. CONCURRENT SESSIONS

Native Landscaping for Beautiful Gardens. Joanne Ellarson, IATA staff, and gardener extraordinaire will reveal her secrets for creating and maintaining stunning garden tableaus.

A Conservation Ethic for the 21st Century. Join Kevin Thusius, Director of Land Conservation for insight into methods and partnership models designed to protect the Ice Age Trail for the next generation and beyond.

What’s on Tap: The 2018 Trailbuilding Season. Whether it’s crafting boardwalks and bridges, learning and sharing new skills, or meeting new people and seeing new places, the trailbuilding season ahead is representative of our steadfast commitment to creating, supporting, and protecting the Ice age National Scenic Trail. Join Tim Malzhan and learn what’s on tap for new and existing Trail segments in 2018.

Backpacking Track – Session 3: Meal Planning and Leave No Trace Principles.

2:45 p.m. – 3:00 p.m. Snack Break

3:00 p.m. – 4:15 p.m. CONCURRENT SESSIONS

Collaborative Fundraising. Join Luke Kloberdanz, IATA Director of Philanthropy, and Bob Lange, IATA Philanthropic Advisor, for a discussion about creating impactful fundraising for Chapters and state-wide initiatives.

Walking on Home Ground. Author and Waukesha/Milwaukee Chapter member, Robert Root, will share from his book, Walking Home Ground. It’s a lyrical mix of memoir, travel writing, and environmental history.

Backpacking Track – Session 4: Hikers’ Forum – Wisdom from the Trail. Be inspired, be informed, be entertained by the stories and fresh perspective of those who most recently completed their Thousand-Mile journey.

4:15 p.m. – 5:15 p.m. Social Hour

5:15 p.m. – 9:00 p.m. Awards Banquet and Celebration

5:15 p.m. – 6:30 p.m. Dinner

6:30 p.m. – 7:15 p.m. NPS Awards

7:15 p.m. – 7:45 p.m. Entertainment/Pictures

7:45 p.m. – 8:45 p.m. Mammoth Achievement Awards

Sunday, April 15th, 2018

6:30 a.m. – 8:00 a.m. Check-in/Registration/Coffee

7:00 a.m. – 7:45 a.m. Buffet Breakfast


Walla Hi Segment Tyke Hike: A family-friendly hike for the young and young at heart. Led by Luke Kloberdanz, IATA Director of Philanthropy, kids of all ages can explore an outstanding segment featuring a wealth of glacial landscape forms.

IATA Brownrigg-Heier Preserve: Gain a new understanding of the land conservation practices as you hike with Kevin Thusius, IATA Director of Land Conservation. Be prepared for a rugged, off-trail hike across challenging, ungroomed terrain. Limit 30 people.