We’ve Partnered with Target Circle

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We are honored and excited to announce that we have been chosen to participate in a special charitable giving campaign, sponsored and funded by Target. And you have the chance to help direct a portion of Target’s donation to us!

Now through June 30, vote for us through the Target Circle program to help determine how Target’s donation will be divvied up. Find out more about Target Circle here: www.target.com/circle

Please note, voting is based on location and the Ice Age Trail Alliance is being featured in the Madison/Southern WI market which means Fitchburg, Janesville, Lake Geneva, Madison, Pleasant Prairie, Racine, and Sun Prairie.

We’re asking our supporters who live in the urban areas listed above to help us make the most of this incredible opportunity. Every vote counts to help us receive a portion of the available Target funds as we continue our mission to create, support, and protect the Ice Age National Scenic Trail. Continue reading

Hiking Responsibly During a COVID-19 Pandemic

Ice Age Trail Alliance, Ice Age National Scenic Trail, Hiking Responsibly, COVID-19, coronavirus

A hike on a favorite segment of Ice Age National Scenic Trail offers mood-boosting fresh air and sunshine and provides a respite from the uncertainty around us. The Ice Age Trail is a perfect place for slowing down, gathering your internal resources, and gaining clarity. However, the spread of COVID-19 and the Safer-At-Home order (a.k.a. “Stay-At-Home”) issued by Governor Evers raises some questions.

Is Hiking Still Allowed?

The good news is the Safer-At-Home order considers outdoor activity as an Essential Activity (defined in section 11). This means visiting public and state parks, provided individuals comply with social distancing requirements, is still allowed. “Such activities include, by way of example and without limitation, walking, biking, hiking, or running.”

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Give Forest Bathing a Try!

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Along the Milwaukee River Segment of the Ice Age Trail. Photo by Cameron Gillie.
The term “forest bathing” may bring up some odd images and a few questions, but in Japan, forest bathing, called “Shinrin-yoku” in Japanese, is a leisurely visit to a forest. Shinrin means “forest,” and yoku means “bath.” So Shinrin-yoku means bathing in the forest atmosphere, or taking in the forest through our senses. The aim of forest bathing is to slow down and let ourselves become immersed in the natural environment around us. Continue reading

Nature’s Wildness is a Necessity

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The Hartman Creek Segment of the Ice Age National Scenic Trail. Photo by Cameron Gillie.

“Thousands of tired, nerve-shaken, over-civilized people are beginning to find out that going to the mountains is going home; that wildness is a necessity.”

~John Muir, environmentalist and author of Our National Parks, 1901

Mountains are hard to come by in Wisconsin. Yet, we have the excellent fortune of the Ice Age National Scenic Trail wending its way through the state. The Ice Age Trail provides us with the necessary wildness and opportunity to come home.  A vigorous hike or leisurely walk on a favorite segment of this thousand-mile footpath lets us, the “tired, nerve-shaken, over-civilized,” reacquaint ourselves with a vital source of well-being, nature. Continue reading

Coronavirus/COVID-19 and the Ice Age Trail

A hiker admires an early spring bloomer along the Ice Age National Scenic Trail.
A hiker admires an early spring bloomer along the Ice Age National Scenic Trail.
Updated 3/26/2020 in light of the Safer-At-Home order [PDF] issued by Governor Evers on Tuesday, March 24, 2020.

The Ice Age Trail Alliance’s highest priority is the health and well-being of our staff, volunteers, and hiking community during the rapidly evolving health concern of the Coronavirus/COVID-19. Continue reading

Celebrating Mammoth’s Back Preserve!

Ice Age Trail Alliance, Ice Age National Scenic Trail, Land Protection Success, Dane County Chapter of the Ice Age Trail Alliance, Knowles-Nelson Stewardship Program, Dane County Conservation Fund
The double hump, unglaciated bedrock hills of the newly acquired Mammoth's Back Preserve. Photo by Kevin Thusius.
We are super excited to announce that on Monday the Ice Age Trail Alliance purchased 46 acres of land in Dane County at the edge of the Driftless region near the Village of Cross Plains.

This success is thanks to YOU! Along with the help of conservation-minded donors in the Dane County Chapter of the Ice Age Trail Alliance and local business owner, Mary Devitt, of the Crossroads Coffeehouse, we were able to raise private funds to supplement funding from the Knowles-Nelson Stewardship Program and the Dane County Conservation Fund.

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Trailbuilding & Stewardship Event

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A crew burns brush piles to restore a remnant prairie along the Gibraltar Rock Segment in Columbia County. Photo by Kevin Thusius.

For the fourth year running, we plan to torch eastern red cedar and other undesirable woody plants to restore a wonderful remnant prairie along the Gibraltar Rock Segment of the Ice Age National Scenic Trail.

Already, many pockets of native prairie species are thriving where trees have been removed and seeds are exposed to sunlight. With every push to restore native prairie we also push to revitalize the beautiful views of Wisconsin’s unique topography and waterways.

This special Leap Day event is a twice-in-a-decade type of experience, don’t miss out!
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Ice and Stalwart Volunteers!

Ice Age Trail Alliance, Ice Age National Scenic Trail, Boardwalk construction, Mobile Skills Crew events 2020
We’re befriending ice to set 22 bridge abutments beneath 8 inches of ice and through 30 inches of cold, dark water to support what will become a 577-foot-long boardwalk elevated 6 feet. Photo by Kevin Kuhlmann.

Wednesday, February 5th, through Saturday, February 8th, we embark on the most complex boardwalk construction project in Alliance history.
Continue reading

Thank You!

Ice Age Trail Alliance, Ice Age National Scenic Trail, Year-End Thank You, $50,000 Challenge Match

A father-daughter duo hike the Jerry Lake Segment of the Ice Age National Scenic Trail. Photo by Jessica Featherstone

We are humbled and inspired by the 500+ donors who helped us surpass our $50,000 Challenge Match. Your collective generosity ranged from $5 to $5,000 and came from 17 different states showing the impact the Ice Age National Scenic Trail has on communities close by and those far afield.

Your support inspires us, underpinning all we do, as we work to create, support, and protect the Ice Age Trail. We look forward to doing justice to your donations by improving the Trail, foot-by-foot and acre-by-acre. Continue reading

Online Shopping Benefits The Trail!

Ice Age Trail Alliance, Ice Age National Scenic Trail, AmazonSmile, Online ShoppingThe Holiday Season is in full swing…

For those of you who like to do your shopping from the comfort of your living room, there are THREE ways to benefit the Ice Age Trail Alliance AND get your holiday shopping done!

FIRST:

For those of you who want to spend your money locally, then consider heading over to the Ice Age Trail Alliance store.

Grab a plush Monty the Mammoth for the littlest hiker in your life.

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Fourteen Black Friday Hikes: #OptOutside

#OptOutside. Get a dose of fresh air and hike off that extra slice of pumpkin pie. Photo by Dave Caliebe

#OptOutside. Get a dose of fresh air and hike off that extra slice of pumpkin pie.
Photo by Dave Caliebe

The Ice Age Trail Alliance is proud to participate in #OptOutside with our partner REI, Inc. #OptOutside takes place on Black Friday (November 29th) and encourages people to take a hike!

Here in Wisconsin, the day after Thanksgiving is also the heart of the nine-day gun deer-hunting season. Keeping this in mind, we have set up 14 hikes where deer hunting is not allowed.

All of the following suggested hikes take place in Ice Age Trail Communities. These hikes represent a perfect blend of natural surroundings and urban amenities. Continue reading

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!

Ice Age Trail, Ice Age National Scenic Trail, Ice Age Trail Alliance

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

Continue reading

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!

Continue reading

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