Help Open Two Miles of Trail

A boardwalk built during a previous (Act II) Mobile Skills Crew project along the Ringle Segment. Photo by Dave Caliebe.

Another long-awaited section of new Ice Age Trail will be open for hikers this summer!

The stage has been set for Act III. All we need is you. Join us in our quest to open two additional miles of Ice Age Trail along the Ringle Segment!

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Fastest Known Time

Fastest Known Time on the Ice Age Trail, long-distance runners, thru-hikers, Jason Dorgan, Annie Weiss, Ice Age National Scenic Trail

Annie Wiess (l) and Jason Dorgan (r). In 2007, trail runner Jason Dorgan set the first FKT on the Trail by running it in 22 days and 6 hours. In 2018, trail runner Annie Weiss broke the record and clocked her time at 21 days, 18 hours, and 7 minutes.

By guest writer, Rachele Krivichi

Since the late ‘90s, trail runners have been documenting their fastest trail runs under the moniker “FKT,” which stands for Fastest Known Time. The title implies that a person has run or hiked the trail faster than everyone before them. The tradition of FKT was started on the major hiking trails out west. However, in the past decade, a few runners have brought it home to the Ice Age Trail. In 2007, trail runner Jason Dorgan set the first FKT on the Trail by running it in 22 days and 6 hours. In 2018, trail runner Annie Weiss broke the record and clocked her time at 21 days, 18 hours, and 7 minutes. Mammoth Tales volunteer Rachele Krivichi spoke with both Jason and Annie to get their insights on accomplishing this challenge.

Rachele Krivichi: Why and how did you decide to run the trail? Did you have previous trail running experience?

Jason Dorgan: I started ultra-distance events in ‘94. It went from 50 miles to 100 miles, to Iron Man as I kept getting into the next thing. I started reading about Appalachian Trail runs and I was impressed by them. I knew I didn’t have time to do that kind of length, though. So, I started thinking why not try the Ice Age Trail? I realized no one had ever really tried to run it before. It was in my backyard, so I figured I’d better try to use it.

Annie Weiss: I participate in a lot of ultra-distance events, anything up to 100 miles. But running the Ice Age Trail, which was my husband’s idea, is the longest I’ve run. We had hiked a lot on the Holy Hill segment and got inspired to try the entire Trail. My goal was to essentially break the women’s record and then underneath it all I also wanted to break Jason’s record. There were days when I would run up to 75 miles, but we knew on average I had to do 50 miles a day to hit the record.

RK: What did you hope to accomplish by running the entire Trail?

AW: I’ve run Wisconsin races and I’ve run races out west and it really blows my mind how many runners, novice to pro, have never heard of the Ice Age Trail. So, mostly I wanted to bring light to the Trail. At first I wanted to promote it within the running community. But after I started, I was amazed by how many 9-13 year old girls followed along as I ran. I’ve done more talks with that age group since running it. I wasn’t trying to inspire that age group, but it was cool how that came out of it!

JD: Mostly, I wanted to experience the whole trail. I knew there would be sections that were more rugged than I’d previously thought. In addition, I also wanted to make my run into a fundraiser. I ended up raising about $15,000 for the Trail. It was kind of amazing how well I got the word out, because this was before Facebook. I ended up being interviewed and was on TV all across Wisconsin.

Jason Dorgan First Fastest Known Time on the Ice Age Trail, Ice Age Trail Alliance

Jason Dorgan followed by a cadre of friends –Dave Sarocka, Roy Pirrung, Peter Wadsack, Brenda Bland, Kevin Radel, Vince Varone, and Ann Heaslett – who joined him for his final leg, a run through Potawatomi State Park, on his way to the Eastern Terminus of the Ice Age Trail. Photo by Tim Yanacheck.

RK: What did you learn about yourself in the process?

JD: I learned that it was possible for me to come back after hitting the low point. I had a plan to finish in three weeks. But sometimes, every step was painful, and I would need a pep talk from someone in my crew. So, the mental part of it was, “Yeah, this hurts, but I gotta push through it.” The last week was probably one of the easiest parts to do. I even felt like I could have run a few more days. But mentally, I was done. A week later I ran the Ice Age 50, the race down in Whitewater. But after that I took two months off from running.

AW: I think running the Ice Age Trail was a really good learning experience in being alone. Yeah, I might have had a runner with me sometimes, but I had so much alone time overall. So, I learned how to be with myself. I also learned that, even though my pain tolerance is already pretty high, I can handle more than I previously thought.

RK: What did you learn about the Trail?

AW: There are a lot of segments of the Trail that I had never run before that I really enjoyed. I was thoroughly impressed with the West Bend segment. It made me wonder why there isn’t a race there. I also learned there are a lot of road segments but that the Trail is really well marked. There were three occasions where I got turned around, but otherwise I had no problems. The volunteers really do a good job in maintaining the Trail.

JD: In hindsight, I realized how much effort it takes to maintain the trail. Before I started running, a chapter coordinator in the Northwoods heard about my run and warned me there was a place where the bridge was out. He made a temporary bridge with logs so I could run across it without getting soaked. I learned that nothing happens without the chapter, they’re so intimate with what’s in their area. It’s a small group of people that really make the Trail happen.

RK: How have you been shaped by the experience of running the Trail? Did it change you?

JD: It strengthened a lot of my core values. I’ve come to realize that, even though I ran this thing, I didn’t do it alone. Nothing is possible alone. I personally had a lot of good support. My overall philosophy of life is that you’ve gotta give back and help people. Even though it looks like a person accomplished something alone, all by themselves, that’s not a true perception.

AW: It proved to me that I like competing against myself. I’ve gotten into a stage where I don’t want to compete against other people; I’d rather just enjoy my time with them. So, this was a different kind of competition

Annie Weiss, FKT, fastest known time on the Ice Age Trail

Annie Weiss is radiant in her proud moment. She and her crew, Kevin Cannaday and Ryan Norton, reached the Eastern Terminus on September 30th at 12:56 am. Annie set the new Fastest Known Time record of 21 days, 18 hours, and 7 minutes, besting the previous record by 11 hours and 53 minutes. Photo by Brian Frain.

RK: How have you engaged with the Trail (or Alliance or chapters) since your run?

AW: My husband and I belong to the Ice Age Trail Alliance. We also plan to participate as Field Editors for the 2020 guidebook because they don’t have as many volunteers in the northern part of the state. So, we wanted to help up there. I’m also doing a few different presentations for different chapters in the next few months. I love doing that kind of stuff.

JD: I was on the board for six years and I’ve been doing the Mobile Skills Crew events since 2008. I had also been to the 2006 annual conference before running the Trail, and now attend almost every year. Also, I maintain and mow a 2.5-mile section of Trail near Verona. I also joined the Yellow Blaze Club to help support and fund the Trail. So, that’s how I give back now.

Rachele Krivichi is a writer, artist, and outdoor lover from Wisconsin. Her work has been seen in Wisconsin Gazette newspaper, Temporary Art Review, and Culturaal blog, based in the Netherlands. In 2016 she finished her first book, a study of camper and recreational vehicle culture. She recently moved to Minneapolis, but Wisconsin and the Ice Age Trail are some of her earliest loves.

Jim Staudacher Looks Back: 40 Years After the First Thru-hike

Ice Age Trail, Ice Age National Scenic Trail, Ice Age Trail Alliance, James Staudacher, first thru-hiker on the IAT, 40th Anniversary of thru-hike

Trail blazer, James (Jim) Staudacher, the first person to thru-hike the Ice Age National Scenic Trail. Here he is along the Ice Age Trail in the Chequamegon National Forest, Wisconsin, July 1979. Photo courtesy of Jim Staudacher.

Article by guest writer, Bill Polacheck

For James (Jim) Staudacher, the inspiration for the journey of a lifetime came from the very first Ice Age Trail Guidebook, On the Trail of the Ice Age, written by Congressman Henry Reuss and published by the Milwaukee Journal in 1976. The guidebook captured the imagination of then 17-year-old Jim and he began researching the geography of the ice age in Wisconsin.

Two years later, he took a summer backpacking trip to Isle Royale National Park and decided that he wanted to be the first person to walk the entire Ice Age Trail route.

“I wanted to achieve this as a personal rite of passage but also to promote the sport of hiking which was just becoming popular in the 1970s,” recalls Jim. The first step to realizing his dream involved contacting Reuss’ office to secure permission. “I was a nervous 19-year-old on that fall day in 1978 when I met Rep. Reuss at his Milwaukee office,” says Jim. “He received me graciously and asked me why I wanted to hike the trail and why I thought I could succeed in such a physically demanding endeavor. I answered awkwardly, and probably less coherently than I wanted to, but my enthusiasm was unmistakable.”

A week after the meeting, Reuss contacted Jim and gave him permission to attempt the first complete hike of the trail in the summer of 1979. He also assigned one of his staff members, Sarah Sykes, to assist with details of trip planning. Sarah and Jim decided that he would document and informally survey the existing route of the trail, make suggestions to improve the route, and providing descriptions of the ice age features found along the trail. Reuss’ office would provide maps and postage for re-supply packages as well as reimbursement for long-distance phone calls.

Ice Age Trail Alliance, Ice Age National Scenic Trail, James Staudacher, First thru-hiker, 40th Anniversary of first thru-hike

Campsite along Ice Age Trail in Point Beach State Forest, Wisconsin.  May 1979. The tent certainly added to Jim’s pack weight. Photo courtesy of Jim Staudacher.

Jim accepted the challenge and on May 14, 1979, the 20-year-old drove from his suburban Milwaukee home up to Sturgeon Bay, signed in on the trailhead ledger, and began his adventure. He set off following tentative routes that he changed as he traveled, all the while knowing he had to be back by August to start his junior year at Marquette University. Not only did he not have the benefit of a GPS system, but his clothing was also low tech. Except for a new Gore-Tex parka, he was outfitted with what he could find in his closet– wool shirts, blue jeans, cargo pants, and heavy hiking boots. Without the benefit of modern water filters, Jim struggled to find drinkable water and when he did he carried as much as he could. That water, along with food, pushed the weight of his pack up to 45 pounds. Fortunately, Jim wrestled in high school and quickly adjusted to the heavy load.

He re-supplied his food rations at small-town post offices along the way. Sarah communicated with Jim via postal service and payphone calls and mailed the food so that it would arrive just in time. Since he was on a college student’s budget, Jim’s food consisted of grocery store basics like mac and cheese, Pop-Tarts, granola bars, and Rice-A-Roni.

Adding to his pack weight was his SLR camera which he describes as a “monster” compared to today’s cell phone cameras. And where today he might have taken thousands of digital photos, back then he only took about a hundred and many of those shots are blurry.

Some of those blurry shots include pictures of a tornado he spotted after a line of storms blew through west of Madison near Cross Plains. Jim says he wasn’t afraid at the time.

“Maybe I was naive but I didn’t feel that vulnerable,” he recalls.

Jim with his 45-lb pack surveying the glacial sand deposit, Northern Kettle Moraine State Forest near New Fane, Wisconsin, May 1979. Photo courtesy of Jim Staudacher.

He did experience fear, however, about 130 miles north of Cross Plains at his campsite east of Stevens Point in the Kronenwetter swamp. Hot, tired, wet and covered with wood ticks, he decided to build a fire in order to fling the ticks into the flames. As he scraped the ticks with a knife, four to five wild dogs appeared and immediately approached him. The leader of the pack bared his teeth and tried to grab his ankle. In fear of his life, Jim defended himself with a piece of firewood left behind by hunters and ended up killing the alpha male. At that point, the rest of the pack retreated.

“I pitched his broken body far into the swampy woods, not wanting the other dogs to return,” Jim says. “I spent that long night sitting by a huge fire, dirty, scared, angry, and knowing that the next morning I had to pack up and walk through the very swamp from whence they came.”

One of the greatest tasks Jim faced was measuring the total length of the trail. The guidebook estimated 600 miles but he logged 1,006 miles on his hike. About 40% of those miles were on the road, although back then many of the gravel roads were barely distinguishable from the trail itself. He hiked through parks, county forest land, and miles of abandoned railroad tracks. In Waukesha and Washington Counties, the trail guided him through rows of brush and woods in the midst of open farmland. (Today, he notes, the trail has been rerouted in these areas due to the transition to fence-to-fence farming as well as urban sprawl.)

Averaging 15-20 miles per day, Jim finished his solo hike on July 29 in Interstate State Park in Taylor Falls, Minnesota. Jim still has slides of his hike as well as his journals, topographic maps, backpack, and leather boots. But more than that, he has his memories of the summer of ‘79.

“I was looking for adventure, and I found it,” Jim muses. “It set me up for the rest of my life.”

Bill Polacheck is a teacher and writer living in the Milwaukee area. An avid environmentalist, he enjoys hiking, biking, and kayaking, and challenges himself to find beauty in the world around him on a daily basis. Follow him on Instagram @bill.polacheck.

Summer Storm Clean-Up Efforts Underway: You Can Help!

Ice Age Trail Alliance, Ice Age National Scenic Trail, Old Railroad Segment, Summer Storm, Langlade County

Old Railroad Segment, Langlade County. BEFORE and AFTER. More clean-up efforts to yet to come. This initial work (by a dedicated volunteer and certified sawyer) is a great start to getting the Trail back into shape.

Shear winds and tornadic activity ravaged the North and Central regions of Wisconsin on July 19 and July 20, 2019.

The areas hit the hardest by the storm were Polk, Langlade, and Waupaca counties. Hundreds of trees are down all along the Ice Age National Scenic Trail corridor. In a conservative estimate, well over 127 miles of Ice Age Trail was drastically affected by the storm.

The Ice Age Trail Alliance and its Chapters have been busy assessing damage. Small crews are already out on the Trail tackling the most immediate areas of need, however, more hands will help make light work of what will is shaping up to be a BIG job.

If you’d like to wield a handsaw or clippers, or otherwise help remove debris from the Trail, please register at the link below. In order to effectively organize crews and equipment, we’d like to know which county you’d be willing to travel to and which days of the week or weekend you’re available.

Ice Age National Scenic Trail, Ice Age Trail Alliance, Langlade County, Old Railroad Segment, Summer Storm

Old Railroad Segment, Langlade County, BEFORE.


Ice AgeTrail Alliance, Ice Age National Scenic Trail, Old Railroad Segment, Langlade County

Old Railroad Segment, Langlade County, AFTER.

Summer Storm Trail Conditions

Ice Age Trail Alliance, Ice Age National Scenic Trail, Volunteer Chapters, Trail Conditions, Storm Damage

Summer storm damage. The northern tier of Wisconsin was hit by terrible storms with shear winds and tornadic activity, July 19, and July 20. Photo by Jason Pursell.

Summer Storm = Big Damage

Shear winds and tornadic activity ravaged the North and Central regions of Wisconsin this past weekend, July 19, and July 20, 2019. Expect to see a significant number of trees down along the Ice Age National Scenic Trail corridor.

Please exercise caution and common sense if you are considering a hike on any segment north of Highway 10, especially if you are planning to go anytime in the next two weeks. Areas where damage has been reported along the Ice Age Trail include (but are not limited to) the following: Polk, Barron, Langlade, Portage, and Waupaca counties.

Please know our dedicated volunteers, Seasonal Trail Crew, and partner agencies like the County parks and the Department of Natural Resources are busy assessing the damage and are taking the necessary steps to begin the safe removal of fallen trees and other debris.

Please be patient. This damage will not be cleaned up quickly – the damage is simply too extensive and severe – and clean-up efforts will continue through the Fall (and beyond) in the hardest hit areas.

Please note: The Department of Natural Resources has reported damage at the following State Parks which host the Ice Age National Scenic Trail:

Hartman Creek State Park – Portage & Waupaca County (hosts the Hartman Creek Segment)

Note: The family campground is closed at Hartman Creek State Park due to damage and downed trees from severe storms on Saturday, July 20. The family campground will remain closed through Thursday, July 25. Other areas of the park may also be closed due to storm damage, and visitors should use caution. (updated 7/20/19).

Potawatomi State Park – Door County (hosts the Sturgeon Bay Segment)

Straight Lake State Park – Polk County (hosts the Straight Lake Segment)

                Note: Straight Lake State Park is currently closed due to storm damage. (Call 715-483-3747 to learn when services will resume.)

Brunet Island State Park – Chippewa County (hosts the Chippewa River Segment)

Three Items of Note:

ONE: Hike at your own risk when hiking in any of the counties affected by the storm. Expect to see numerous trees blown down onto the Trail. It may not be safe to crawl over or under downed trees. Your hike may take longer and you may get lost. Blazes are likely to be missing. Water sources may be compromised.

TWO: Check our Trail Conditions. As chapter leaders assess the situation and have the time to report the level of damage, the condition reports will continue to offer substance and accuracy regarding the ever-changing conditions of the Ice Age Trail. Check Trail Conditions.

THREE: Call or email Chapter Coordinators of the region where you plan to hike. They will have the best boots-on-the-ground information about conditions on the Ice Age Trail in their county. Be advised, that in the short-term, they may be without phone or email due to the damage their communities may have sustained during the storms. Exercise patience and grace when interacting with these hard-working volunteers who are likely to be busy sawing down the trees covering the Trail. Connect with Chapter Coordinators.


Cultivate New Skills at IAT-U

The green and blue of July are highlighted along the Emmons Creek Segment of the Ice Age Trail. (Photo by Cameron Gillie)

June is gone with the wind, and with the solstice behind us summer in Wisconsin is in full swing. From St. Croix Falls to Potawatomi State Park, wildflowers are in bloom and green blankets the glaciated landscapes along the Ice Age National Scenic Trail. July is a time for growing and cultivating, only to reap what we’ve sowed in weeks to come.

You’re invited to participate in Ice Age Trail University, a four-day educational event (July 18 – 21) filled with knowledge, inspiration, and solutions to challenges we face on the Trail.

Grow and cultivate new skills to carry with you and share with others for the rest of your seasons on the Ice Age Trail. Community, dedication, and hands on experience is what keeps our shared vision of the Ice Age National Scenic vision alive and well.

Join us at IAT-U to learn from seasoned and committed volunteers and staff what makes the Ice Age Trail what it is – and what it can be. Continue reading

Trailbuilding Results: Audacious. Sustainable. Inspiring.

Ice Age Trail Alliance, Ice Age National Scenic Trail, Ice Age Interpretive Site

A volunteer helps build a brand new portion of the Ice Age Trail on the Cross Plains Ice Age Interpretive Site Thursday on the second day of the five-day Mobile Skills Crew event. (Photo by Cameron

165 volunteers over the course of 3,751 hours helped create audacious, sustainable, inspiring results! 

The physical highlights – sandstone outcrops, windswept views for miles, a glacial story carved in stone, timber retaining walls, a 48-ft Bridge, two elevated boardwalks, and thousands of feet of artfully crafted trail wending harmoniously with and across the landscape – will surely be appreciated for generations to come.

Less apparent are the quiet keys to success; your dedication, your selfless teamwork, and the way in which you cheerfully stuck with what must have felt, at times, like thankless, but no less important, tasks.

Thank you!  We are grateful for all you did to create a masterful new section of the Ice Age National Scenic Trail!

As we head into the July 4th weekend, there is much to celebrate! Bring your friends and family out to this new section of Trail and show them what a force for good and a collaborative spirit can create!

Download a Project Outcomes map to get a better sense of where the progress is being made for this multi-year project.

Continue reading

Thousand-Miler Journals: 3 Weeks or 30 Minutes

Ice Age Trail Alliance, Ice Age National Scenic Trail, Thousand-Miler Journals, Thru-hiker, thru-hike on the Ice Age Trail, IAT,

This captivating section of the Firth Lake Segment in Chippewa County evoked fond memories of the time spend building it. Photo by Ryan Jansen.

Article by thru-hiker, Ryan Jansen

Three weeks or 30 minutes. Both are amounts of time, separated by a year, I spent on the Firth Lake Segment. The two experiences were very different. One occurred while I was a crew member with Wisconsin Conservation Corps (WisCorps) and the other while on my 2018 thru-hike.

Both had the similarity of being experienced through the lens of a unique perception of time. Trail-Time. A meditative, obligation-free state of mind. The senses peak to the point of almost combining. My thoughts felt 3D and immersive, to the point where I struggle to say if I was fully in my head (my brain often was occupied with thoughts to the point of blocking out my surroundings) or out of my mind (my thoughts felt like they left my skull and were in plain sight). Continue reading

Volunteer Spotlight – Gerald “Buzz” Meyer

Buzz immersed in a good-natured story. Anyone who’s worked with Buzz or accepted a shuttle from him knows he’s a masterful storyteller. Photo by Jo Ellarson.

Article by guest writer, Erika Cannaday

Gerald “Buzz” Meyer’s commitment to the Ice Age National Scenic Trail started with an article in the Star News. One bright morning, in 1990, while paging through the paper, he read about a hike on the Timm’s Hill Trail. While it wasn’t part of the Ice Age Trail, it would become a National Scenic Side Trail. The event was a fundraiser for the High Point Chapter. He decided to participate and set out gathering sponsors, raising somewhere between $50 and $100. After a few years of minimal commitment, he was asked to help out at one of the Chapter’s trail improvement days. Ten years later when Bob Rusch, the Chapter’s volunteer coordinator stepped down, Buzz took on the role he’s now held for nearly twenty years. Continue reading

Status of the Knowles-Nelson Stewardship Program

A father and his sons enjoy an outing along the Ice Age National Scenic Trail. This segment, like many others benefited from the Knowles-Nelson Stewardship Program funding. Photo by Nikki Gamble.

The Joint Finance Committee (JFC) voted on the future of the Stewardship Program on Tuesday, June 11th.They adopted Governor Evers’ position of a two-year extension of the program at current funding levels, 33 million each year.

We’re disappointed by this outcome (we were hoping for 10 years reauthorization). However, we recognize the vote could have also cut or eliminated funding, altogether. Continue reading

Make a Difference for the Ice Age Trail!

A father and his sons enjoy a day out on the Ice Age Trail. Photo by Nikki Gamble.

Help Protect More Ice Age Trail!

If you have a favorite segment along the Trail, there’s a good chance Knowles-Nelson Stewardship Program funding played a crucial role in its existence.

Time is of the Essence!

The Joint Finance Committee (JFC) is debating the Knowles-Nelson Stewardship Program THIS week – June 10th.

Please EMAIL or even better, CALL your elected officials. Remind them how important Knowles-Nelson Stewardship Program is to the future of Wisconsin. Ask them to call members of the JFC and emphasize how important the Stewardship fund is to their constituents.

With all of us speaking up together, we’ll deliver our message loud and clear: Renew the Knowles-Nelson Stewardship Program for 10 years at the current funding level of $33 million dollars a year.

Raise your voice in support. In June 2018, a statewide survey by Public Opinion Strategies and FM3 Research showed a staggering 86% of voters supporting continued funding of the program.

Take Action Now!

Please Contact Your State Legislators. 

  • Request their support for the Knowles-Nelson Stewardship Fund in the soon-to-be released State budget.
  • Ask them to CALL and encourage members of the bi-partisan Joint Finance Committee to support a 10-year reauthorization of the Knowles-Nelson Stewardship fund at current level of $33M/year as they craft the budget.
  • Remind them to prioritize the Ice Age National Scenic Trail.

EMAIL Your State Legislators in Three EASY Steps!

Simply click here and do the following:

  1. Enter your address and zipcode.
  2. Customize, or not, the automatically generated letter of support. It pops up along with the contact information for your representative.
  3. Click SEND.

CALL Your State Legislators in Three EASY Steps!

Simply click here and do the following:

  1. Enter your address and zipcode.
  2. Above the names and pictures of your representatives, is a phone icon.
  3. Click the phone icon and the phone numbers will appear.

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

The Advocacy Team of the Ice Age Trail Alliance.

The Story Continues…

Ice Age Trail Alliance, Ice Age National Scenic Trail, Ice Age Interpretive Site, Mobile Skills Crew event,

A volunteer trailbuilding crew uses their “trail eyes” to assess progress on a new section of tread. Photo by Dave Caliebe.

Had the World Trails Network (WTN) existed when Ray Zillmer traveled the state talking with farmers, politicians and the movers and shakers of the day about his vision to create a “Glacial National Park” in Wisconsin, maybe Ray would have borrowed these lines from the WTN Trail Manifesto: “trail is our story…our answers lie not at the end but on the way…every trail makes a life.”

A long-awaited section of new Ice Age Trail is ready to open in Dane County. We just need you! Join us and be part of our trail story. Continue reading

9 Boardwalks and 1.4 Miles of New Trail!

Ice Age Trail Alliance, Ice Age National Scenic Trail, Ringle Segment, Marathon County, Mobile Skills Crew event, Trailbuilding

One of the nine boardwalks constructed along the newly opened 1.4 miles of Ice Age National Scenic Trail. Photo by Gail Piotrowski.

For more than 40 years, the Ice Age National Scenic Trail passed through a parcel of private land, squeezing between a shed and a house on the Ringle Segment. Thanks to your help, the Trail is now open; wending through a more scenic setting, bypassing private property, and is permanently protected.

Thanks to the 172 volunteers who contributed 3,124 hours helping to open 1.4 miles of new Trail that includes 9 new boardwalks totaling 514 feet, dozens of painted blazes, well-crafted tread, and durable stonework tossed in for good measure.

Download a Project Outcomes map to get a better sense of where the progress is being made for this multi-year project.

Continue reading

10 Hikes Celebrate National Trails Day!

Ice Age Trail Alliance, Ice Age National Scenic Trail, Monches Segment, National Trails Day

Two friends smile in delight after spending the day together hiking the Monches Segment of the Ice Age National Scenic Trail. Photo by Brad Dagen.

National Trails Day is Saturday, June 1st, 2019 and there’s plenty to celebrate along the Ice Age National Scenic Trail.

Hikes That Go the Distance:

Explore new territory.

1. Chippewa County, Chippewa Moraine Segment: National Trails Day Hike

Celebrate National Trails Day in Chippewa County. Appreciate the beauty of the North woods as trees and flowers unfurl in late-spring. This hike, led by members of the Chippewa Moraine County Chapter, starts at 9:00 a.m. and is about 4-miles in length. Plan to meet new friends, bring your own water, insect repellent, and to complete the hike by noon.  (Chippewa Moraine County Chapter) Continue reading

Help Protect More Ice Age Trail

Do you enjoy your hikes along the Ice Age National Scenic Trail as it ambles through woods and prairies?

Do you wish for more contiguous Ice Age Trail and fewer road walks?

Then ask your State legislators to support the Knowles-Nelson Stewardship Program.

  • If you have a favorite segment along the Trail, there’s a good chance Knowles-Nelson Stewardship funding played a crucial role in its existence.
  • The Knowles-Nelson Stewardship Program is a vital source of funding for the Ice Age Trail. Each of the 66 Stewardship purchases by the Ice Age Trail Alliance was leveraged with private, county or other funds, well over $20M since 2000.
  •  Additionally, the DNR has acquired Ice Age Trail rights on more than 100 properties (87 miles) for the Trail over time – nearly all of these used the Knowles-Nelson Stewardship Program.

Continue reading

Name Change and Special Pricing!

Name Change!

Our catchy name for the Ice Age Trail Alliance’s mobile app, Mammoth Tracks, has gone the way of the woolly mammoth! Guthook Guides, the company who created our app decided to switch things up. So, when the glacier melts, well, you go with the flow.

What was formerly Mammoth Tracks is now available as an in-app purchase in the new and improved version of Atlas Guides‘ offerings of Guthook Guides hiking apps. You can find the Ice Age Trail featured near the middle of the page.

Special Spring Pricing!

The deal starts Thursday, April 11th and runs through Sunday, April 14th.  Continue reading

Burning Brush Prepares for New Trail

Ice Age Trail Alliance, Ice Age National Scenic Trail, Mobile Skills Crew, Interpretive Site, Dane County, MSC

Photo by Rachel Roberts.

Saturday afternoon, 4 p.m.: Muscles sore after two days of hauling brush and wielding saws. Pots and pans dirtied from cooking two days’ worth of chili. Leaving the woods, you looked back to see a broad swath, 50-to 100-feet wide, newly cleared of buckthorn, slippery elm, and widow makers; of white and red oak freed of encroaching invaders; and, of yellow pin flags, curving through the woods, awaiting your return.

Thank you for being who you are. Thank you for your generous spirit, your passion, your faith in community and your willingness to embrace the power of teamwork one step, one kerf, one pin flag at a time. Continue reading

President Signs Bill Permanently Reauthorizing LWCF

Ice Age Trail Alliance, Ice Age National Scenic Trail, Advocacy, Save LWCF, Land and Water Conservation Fund, Table Bluff SegmentIn an historic victory for public lands and close-to-home recreation, the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF) was permanently reauthorized yesterday, March 12, 2019, as part of a sweeping public lands package signed into law by President Donald J. Trump.

The legislation, which passed with overwhelming bipartisan support in the House (363-62) and the Senate (92-8) last month, was signed yesterday during a ceremony that included LWCF champions. The culmination of a year’s-long effort by Congressional champions on both sides of the aisle and by stakeholders across the country to preserve the unique character of this program. Continue reading

URGENT. Call House Reps TODAY!

Please CALL or EMAIL your House Representative before TUESDAY, FEBRUARY 26th at 3:30 p.m.

Voice your SUPPORT for the S. 47 Natural Resources Management Act.

S. 47 is one of the most significant public land packages to enjoy bipartisan support in congress in recent history! It will create more than 1.3 million acres of wilderness out West, add three national park units and expand eight others. Continue reading

Changes for Mammoth Tracks App for Android Users


Update for Android users of the Mammoth Tracks – Ice Age Trail app:

Mammoth Tracks is now available as an in-app purchase for Android in the new and improved version of Atlas Guides’ hiking app called “Guthook Guides: Hike & Bike Offline”.

Here are some common questions and answers about the new app.

Q: I have the Mammoth Tracks – Ice Age Trail app on my Android phone. Can I still use it?

A: Yes, you can still use it, and it will have the same data as the newer app. However, this app will not be updated (other than the data) or supported in the future.

Q: I have the Mammoth Tracks – Ice Age Trail app on my Android phone. Can I transfer my purchase to the new Guthook Guides app? Continue reading

Announcing IATA Photo Contest

Ice Age National Scenic Trail Jerry Lake Segment Taylor County Chippewa Moraine

A glimpse of boardwalk along the Jerry Lake Segment of the Chippewa Moraine in Taylor County.
Photo credit: D. Caliebe

We Need Photographs of the Ice Age National Scenic Trail!

We are on the lookout for photos we can use in our publications. Right now, we have a 2020 edition of Ice Age Trail Guidebook in the works.

What makes the Guidebook so valuable, besides detailed segment-by-segment descriptions and maps, is the high quality, expressive photographs it contains. Most of the pictures were taken, not by professional photographers, but by trail enthusiasts who snapped the shot while out hiking! Each photo wonderfully captures the beauty of the trail experience. Continue reading

We Did It! Thank YOU.

Ice Age Trail Alliance, Ice Age National Scenic Trail, Year-End Campaign 2018, $60.000 Challenge Match

We’re jumping for joy! A successful Challenge Match helps make the Ice Age National Scenic Trail a treasure for all generations to enjoy! Photo by Dineo Dowd.

Just WOW. Your generous support, and that of 530 Trail users from across the nation, joined together and exceeded the $60,000 Challenge Match. You gave through social media, check, and IRA’s. You shared the Match with friends and family. You generated more than $124,000 for the Alliance and ultimately the Ice Age National Scenic Trail. Continue reading

Government Shutdown and the IAT

Ice Age National Scenic Trail, Ice Age Trail Alliance, Government Shutdown, National Park Service, Volunteers in the Park insurance program

Snow covered boardwalk along the Plover River Segment, Marathon County. Photo by Rachel Roberts.

First the Good News:

The Ice Age National Scenic Trail remains open for hiking, snowshoeing, running, and backpacking. Please continue to enjoy the Ice Age Trail and the activities which get you outside and bring you joy.

Now, for the Not-So Good News:

Even though the Ice Age Trail itself is not closed during the government shutdown, ALL VOLUNTEER-BASED activities are suspended. Continue reading