Hunting Season and Hiking the Ice Age Trail

A woman and her dog wear blaze orange on the Ice Age Trail in fall.

Photo by Paulette Walker Smith

There can be a lot of details to navigate when you hike the Ice Age Trail in Wisconsin’s fall and winter seasons: hunting season dates, trail closures on private property, and public lands where the Trail is open and hunting is also allowed.

Visit our Hiking During Hunting Seasons page to get a full breakdown of all the things to consider. Here are the main things you’ll want to remember: Continue reading

2018 Regional Rallies – Save the Dates!

Ice Age National Scenic Trail, Ice Age Trail Alliance, Regional Rally, Regional Rallies

Regional volunteer chapter members gather to celebrate successes, share ideas, and benefit from collaboration. Photo by Brad Crary.

Each fall the Ice Age Trail Alliance hosts Regional Rallies to bring together volunteers from across the state for planning, training, and collaboration. These events are excellent opportunities to learn what it takes to create a world class hiking trail and get involved locally.

Participants will hear the latest updates from the Alliance, share chapter successes, and begin planning for 2019 local and regional events. Lunch is provided.

To see a map of all three Regional Rally locations, click here.

Saturday, November 3rd – Chippewa County
Sunday, November 4th – Waupaca County
Saturday, November 10th – Rock County Continue reading

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.

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.

 

Alliance Accepting Scholarship Applications

For decades Wisconsin citizens have rallied around the Ice Age Trail, from when the idea of a thousand-mile footpath was freshly born to when the first tread was built. The future of the Trail will rely on future generations to carry on vision. The Ice Age Trail Alliance is making a down-payment on the future with the Doug “Stickman” Sherman scholarship.A photo of Doug "Stickman" Sherman

The scholarship is awarded to a college-bound young adult who has volunteered with the Alliance, in honor of the work of Doug “Stickman” Sherman, a longtime Alliance volunteer who passed away in 2014. Over a number of years, Stickman hand-carved hundreds of hiking sticks for students taking part in Saunters, the Alliance’s school program that brings kids onto the Ice Age Trail.

For weeks on end, students carried Doug’s creations all across Wisconsin – along the shores of the Wisconsin River, on towering bluffs overlooking Devil’s Lake, through the deepest northwoods forests, around the crags of Eau Claire Dells and across vast prairies.

The sticks provided balance, confidence and a helping hand. In essence, Stickman was with young hikers every step of the way as they explored the Ice Age Trail and took on a steady calm that only the solace of nature can provide. We are happy to carry on Mr. Sherman’s positive impact to tomorrow’s Trail supporters through this scholarship.

                                                  How to Apply

photo by Leah Bradley

photo by Leah Bradley

The Doug “Stickman” Sherman Scholarship is a one-time $500 award and is open to young adults who are preparing to go to college. In order to qualify, applicants must have:

• A history of volunteering with the Ice Age Trail Alliance and/or serving as a Saunters mentor
• A love of the Ice Age National Scenic Trail and a desire to create, support and protect the Trail for future generations
• Future goals that include a degree in the environmental or education fields or a related field

Interested students should reference the application form [PDF] for complete instructions on how to apply. All submissions must be postmarked by September 30th, 2016.

New Feature Rich Trail Map Launched

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There is no surprise that most people visiting the Ice Age Trail Alliance website do so to see where the Trail leads. Whether they are first timers or IAT veterans the map page is a huge draw. So when it came time to upgrade the site we turned to the online map. Thanks to financial support from Travel Wisconsin , we have added new clickable layers. The first, Trail Stories, is a place for IAT users to share their adventures with one another. This serves as a good place for seeing what is going on in the trail community at your favorite (or soon to be favorite) segment. Another layer, Trail Conditions, is a clearinghouse for all Ice Age Trail Alliance certified trail conditions. This layer includes both positive and not so positive conditions and is a good place to look before hitting the trail. Finally, be sure to look at the Itinerary layer for 18 prebuilt adventures. Itineraries fall into three categories: Avid Hiker for the backpacking sort, Family Friendly for when the kids are along and Day Hiker for just about anyone!

Each layer is designed to help you enjoy the Ice Age Trail even more than before. So please take a look, post a Trail Story, be part of the conversation and let us know what you think.

Travel Wisconsin

Congress Passes Permanent Extension of the IRA Charitable Rollover

As of last week, both the U.S. House of Representatives and the U.S. Senate have passed a permanent extension of the IRA charitable rollover, and President Obama has signed the bill into law.

This provision, which had expired at the end of 2014, will now be effective retroactive to January 1, 2015. Unlike prior years, the provision is no longer scheduled to expire. Donors age 70½ and older may transfer up to $100,000 from their IRA to a qualified public charity. The transfer will be made free of federal income tax and the gift qualifies for the donor’s 2015 required minimum distribution (RMD) for the year. Many people have been waiting for passage of this law before acting on 2015 IRA distributions. If you wish to direct an IRA distribution to charity, contact your custodian soon, as it can take some time for these distributions to be processed.

To make an IRA rollover gift to the Ice Age Trail Alliance contact your custodian and request that an amount be transferred directly to the Ice Age Trail Alliance. Your gift can be cash or stock in any amount up to $100,000.

If you are gifting cash, direct your custodian to make your gift to:
Ice Age Trail Alliance, Inc.
PO Box 128 Cross Plains, WI 53528
Federal Tax ID # 39 – 6076028

If you are gifting stock, direct your custodian to transfer your stock to our account at:
Robert W. Baird & Co
c/o Dan Gundrum, 414-765-1465
IATA Account # 4464-2597
DTC # 0547

When you make an IRA gift to the IATA, please email or call us and let us know.

We’ll need your name, address, and phone number so we can properly thank you when your gift arrives:
[email protected]
608-798-4453 x-22

Raise your voice…support land acquisition funding

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Your help is needed to protect future segments of the Ice Age National Scenic Trail.

Recently, Ice Age Trail supporters successfully advocated for the Wisconsin state legislature to continue Stewardship Program funding for the Ice Age Trail.

Today, we ask you to do the same for federal funding.

The Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF) has recently expired. For the past 50 years, LWCF funds — collected from off-shore oil and gas royalties — have protected land in every state, supporting more than 41,000 state and local park projects. Closer to home, LWCF funds have helped protect more than 50 Ice Age Trail properties, including portions of the popular Devil’s Lake and St. Croix Falls segments.

LWCF must be permanently reauthorized and fully funded before the end of the current legislative session, which means it must be included in the FY 2016 Appropriations package.

Our request is simple: Please ask your representative to urge House Speaker Paul Ryan to include LWCF re-authorization in the FY 2016 Omnibus Appropriations Bill.

Thank you for your support of the Ice Age National Scenic Trail.

Village of Hartland Becomes First Ice Age Trail Community

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The Ice Age Trail is projected to pass through 137 – 146 communities as it courses through Wisconsin, connecting people and places along the way. Building strong relationships is critical to the long term success of the Alliance and expansion of the Trail. To meet this need the Alliance has created the Ice Age Trail Community program.

This past fall the Village of Hartland, in Waukesha County, completed the application and assessment process to become the first official Ice Age Trail Community. The Hartland Business Improvement District (BID) and Village administration joined hands to submit an application that set a very high standard for future communities to meet. They took a look at existing infrastructure and amenities through the eyes of a hiker. Plans are underway to enhance the presence of the Ice Age Trail as it passes through downtown, raising awareness of the national treasure found within the community.

Visitors to Hartland will immediately see the impact this program has had on the community. Whether the trip takes them to the Lake Country Fine Arts School where they can see the Ice Age Trail themed mural or stop at Señor Tomás Restaurant along the banks of the Bark River, trail users will know they are in a community that supports the Ice Age Trail Alliance. The next time you are looking for a place to hike take a look at Hartland and support the communities that support the Ice Age Trail. Don’t forget to tell the business you patronize you are there to hike the Trail!

 

New Ice Age Trail at Lapham Peak

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Thank you to the 226 volunteers who pitched in 4,127.5 hours superbly improving over a mile of the Ice Age National Scenic Trail in one of the most heavily trafficked portions of the entire Trail: Lapham Peak in Waukesha County.

Walking the finished product Sunday afternoon, a hiker exclaimed, “This is awesome…what an amazing change!” Indeed. Together, Ice Age Trail builders, supporters and stewards built 3,500 feet of new tread, 177 feet of rock retaining walls, and 241 feet of boardwalk, and served over 1000 meals. The finished product provides new opportunities for the 350,000 people who visit Lapham Peak annually to take solace and rejuvenate on the Trail.

New Ice Age Trail Databook now available

Pages from Databook2015_2015-0805-2If you’re thinking of hiking the entire Ice Age Trail, either all at once or in bits and pieces, the Ice Age Trail Databook is for you. It includes point-to-point mileage listings for hundreds of access points along the entire Ice Age Trail. The book is intended to be paired with Ice Age Trail Atlas maps.

Special shout-out to volunteers Sharon Dziengel, Gary Hegeman, and Sue Knopf for another top-notch publication.

Check out the Databook in our secure online store.

We hit a bump in the Trail

In case you missed it, the recently passed Wisconsin state budget threatens the Alliance’s work on the Ice Age Trail. The $74,000 capacity grant that we have applied for and received each year for more than 15 years will no longer be available. This grant was a reliable source of support for our efforts, and we are unwilling to lower our commitment to 2,300+ volunteers and 1.25 million trail users.

Consider a few things you can do to keep the Ice Age Trail moving forward and help fill the $74,000 budget gap:

Threats to the Ice Age Trail

You probably heard the recent news regarding the proposed Wisconsin state budget and freeze on the Knowles-Nelson Stewardship Program. Land protection and state funding for the Trail could be at a standstill. The future of the Ice Age Trail is threatened.

Read links for background information:

The Knowles-Nelson Stewardship Program makes significant land protection possible on the Ice Age Trail. Since 1991, the Ice Age Trail Alliance has used the Knowles-Nelson Stewardship Program 55 times to protect more than 3,300 acres for the Ice Age Trail. Each one of these Stewardship purchases was leveraged with private, county or other funds. Also, the DNR has acquired Ice Age Trail rights on more than 100 properties using Stewardship funds. The importance of the Stewardship Program to the Ice Age Trail cannot be overstated.

St. Croix Falls Segment_Polk County_IATA

In August 2014, Mobile Skills Crew volunteers constructed 2.4 miles of new Ice Age Trail on the St. Croix Falls Segment in Polk County. Protection of the Trail was made possible by the Knowles-Nelson Stewardship Program. [Photo by Dave Caliebe]

The Stewardship program contributes to the 650 miles of Trail open for your use. With approximately 500 miles of future Ice Age Trail left to protect, the Trail needs you today.

Please contact your state legislators. Share with them why the Ice Age Trail is important to you and that the Stewardship Program is important for the Trail.

Will you continue to be an advocate for the Ice Age Trail? Sign up today to receive advocacy alerts.

The Ice Age Trail Alliance continues to examine the details of the proposed budget. Working with conservation partners around the state, we will strategize over the next few weeks how to best mitigate this threat to the future of the Ice Age Trail. You will hear from us!