Wildcard Season! Join us!

It’s wildcard season with not one, but two wildcards! The main event will take place in Marathon County to continue work on the Ringle Segment. A second, smaller event will take place in Langlade County along the Summit Moraine Segment (formerly Old Railroad) to continue storm damage cleanup.

Help us end the “Building for the 23rd Century” tour on a high note by signing up for one (or both) of the events! Please register by Sunday, October 13th.

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Now a Longer, More Sustainable Trail!

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Two volunteers work on securing deck boards for the 166-foot-long boardwalk across Bohn Lake. Photo by Dave Caliebe.

With a chain of lakes as a result of a tunnel channel and deep kettles among the oaks and pines, it’s easy to surround yourself with spectacular glacial landscapes when hiking the Ice Age Trail in Waushara County.

Last week, you chipped in to help the Trail grow a little bit longer and a lot more sustainable. Boardwalk construction, stonework, tread construction, and trail maintenance all whirled together to create a project that improved overall access and visibility to various segments throughout the county.

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September Trail Improvement Days

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Trail Improvement Days are a good way to meet other Ice Age Trail enthusiasts, spend time outdoors, and give back to the Trail you love. Photo by Cameron Gillie-www.aroundwisco.com

Nature offers one of the most reliable boosts to mental and physical well-being. Spending time in the outdoors has been found to improve short-term memory, concentration, and creativity—while reducing the effects of stress and anxiety.

September is a great time to get outside and onto the Ice Age Trail. The prairies are alive with bright yellow blooms of goldenrod and sunflowers. Monarchs dot the landscape feeding on New England asters before they wing their way south! At the edge of the woods, rows of sumac and maple trees wink with red leaves, hinting at more colors to come.

Volunteering on the Ice Age National Scenic Trail is a great way to meet local Trail enthusiasts, spend time with family and friends, introduce your kids to a volunteer ethic, and enjoy the many benefits that come from connecting with nature.

Trail Improvement Days are usually half-day events and don’t require any previous trail maintenance skills – friendly volunteers will happily show you what to do and answer questions! Continue reading

Build Trail Where a Meltwater River Flowed!

Enjoy the final fall blooms of native prairie plants as you build Ice Age Trail in Waushara County. Photo by Tim Malzhan. 

The vision which guided the purchase of 235 acres surrounding Bohn Lake in 2004 – to create a focal point for the interpretation of a glacial tunnel channel – continues to unfold this month in Waushara County as we build new and improve on existing sections of the Ice Age National Scenic Trail.

Did you know? Bohn Lake is part of a 14-mile-long glacial tunnel channel, created by a meltwater river flowing beneath glacial ice whose outlet was where the Village of Hancock stands today. The Trail weaves in and out of this tunnel channel, opening for interpretation the subglacial flow of water which carved the landscape.

Is this your first trailbuilding experience? We’re offering a dedicated, guaranteed hands-on “Trail Building Basics” class for first-time volunteers

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Persistence, Skill, and Ingenuity!

A volunteer crew who embodies persistence, skill, and ingenuity, smiles despite the rain and mud. Photo by Tim Malzhan.

Nothing comes easily when building new Ice Age Trail in Marathon County. Through persistence, skill, and ingenuity, volunteers overcame all challenges – boulders birthing boulders, remote access to work areas, rain and physical constraints – in what is destined to be a spectacular interpretation of Wisconsin’s glacial landscape. Continue reading

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. Continue reading

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

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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. Continue reading

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. Continue reading

Summer Storm Trail Conditions

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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. Continue reading

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.

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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 Gillie-www.aroundwisco.com)

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.

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Thousand-Miler Journals: 3 Weeks or 30 Minutes

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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. Continue reading

The Story Continues…

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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.

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10 Hikes Celebrate National Trails Day!

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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.

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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

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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