Collaboration Yields New Ice Age Trail

Ice Age National Scenic Trail, Ice Age Trail Alliance, Bloomer High School Senior Class

The Bloomer High School Senior class spent a day giving back to their community through their trailbuilding efforts. Photo by Dave Caliebe.

Entire tomes of poetry have been written about picturesque autumn days such as the ones enjoyed at last week’s Mobile Skills Crew event. But the heart of the story lies in the collaboration the Ice Age National Scenic Trail enables. Continue reading

Be Free – Saturday, November 11, 2017

Ice Age Trail Alliance, Ice Age National Scenic Trail, Be Free, Trailtessa, Force of Nature, REI Corporate partner, Organic Valley corporate partner

Be Free. Stride out the door – no looking back. Be Determined. Put yourself first, for a morning, a day, and maybe forever. And that’s a good thing. Photo by Carrie Highman-Dream Lens Media.

Be Strong. Crisp fall mornings – blue sky, sparkly frost – are made for trail running. Run away and come home to yourself. Immerse yourself in the beauty of restored prairies as you bound along the Trail. Expanded lungs, expanding possibilities.

Ice Age Trail Alliance, Ice Age National Scenic Trail, Be Free, Trailtessa, Force of Nature, REI corporate partner, Organic Valley corporate partner

Be Self-Care. Running is great for that. Jonnah Perkins, a busy mom of two, makes time to run in her happy place, the foot hills of the Baraboo Bluffs. Photo by Jesse Perkins.

Ultrarunner, Jonnah Perkins, a podium regular who competes in 50K, 50-Mile, and 100K races in Wisconsin and the West Coast, will introduce you to a hidden gem: The Verona Segment in Dane County. This suburban segment makes good use of three county parks and links up to a variety of additional hiking and biking trails.

She’ll be joined by seasoned trail runner and Yogi, Brenda Bland (currently teaching yoga with the YMCA), who has fourteen 100-mile races under her belt, including Leadville Trail 100. Nora Bird, running coach behind Team Bird Training will also add to the available expertise. She competes in ultramarathons in the Midwest and around the country including Leadville 100 and Wasatch 100. Nora loves helping women find their passion on the trail.

Runners Kelly Tyrrell and Lysianne Unruh will round out the support so no one is left behind and we all have fun.

Kelly is a science writer and has competed in several 50K and 50-mile races in Wisconsin, including finishing 3rd female at the Ice Age 50 in 2017. Lysianne, IATA staff member and life coach, is a happy, mid-pack runner who accidentally signs up for 50K races while sipping chardonnay and paging through Trail Runner magazine.

Ice Age Trail Alliance, Ice Age National Scenic Trail, Force of Nature, Trailtessa, Be Free

Be Delighted. Kelly Tyrrell, surrounded by a sea of green, hits the trail on an early season run.

Welcoming both beginners and seasoned trail runners, a 3.5-mile loop or a 6.5-mile distance is available. An easy pace will be set and no one will be left behind.

Jonnah, Brenda, Nora, Kelly, and Lysianne will share stories about why they love running, why the Ice Age Trail inspires them, and answer questions about trail running, once we’re all back at the shelter.

Celebratory refueling snacks available at the end of the run provided in part by Organic Valley, especially their Mighty products made with 100% organic beef. Yumbutter will also be on the premises with their mouth-rockin’, world-changing nut butters.  One Barrel Brewing Company will have beer on hand for you too, and Wigwam will be giving away a pair of free socks to each participant!

NOTE: Runners, please wear Blaze Orange and bring a change of warm clothes for post-run yoga/stories/celebration.

Ice Age Trail Alliance, Ice Age National Scenic Trail, Be Free, Trailtessa, REI Force of Nature

Be a Leader. Brenda Bland leads the pack out of the woods at the Voyager 50 Mile Trail Race.

Be FREE Schedule:

6.5-Mile Distance

9:30 a.m. check-in at Shelter 1, Badger Prairie Park

9:45 a.m. bus ride to the Start (PD – Ice Age Junction Area) for runners running 6.5 miles.

10:00 a.m. Start

11:00 a.m. – 11:40 a.m. arrive at end point (Wesner Road) where the bus will take 6.5-mile distance runners back to Badger Prairie Park.

12:00 p.m. – 1:00 p.m. everyone back for mini-celebration

3.5-Mile Distance

9:30 a.m. check-in at Shelter 1, Badger Prairie Park

9:45 a.m. Start (leave from the shelter to run the 3.5 mile loop)

10:15 a.m. – 10: 45 a.m.  arrive back at Shelter 1, Badger Prairie Park

10:30 a.m. – 11:30 a.m. Yoga for Runners yoga session led by Brenda Bland

12:00 p.m. – 1:00 p.m. everyone back for mini-celebration

NOTE: The Verona Segment for the Be FREE event is located in DANE COUNTY.

Limit 80 runners

Resources:

Verona Segment description from 2017-2019 Guidebook pages [PDF]

Verona Segment map from 2017-2019 Atlas [PDF]

 

 Our GENEROUS corporate partners – Thank YOU!

Ice Age National Scenic Trail, Ice Age Trail Alliance, REI CO-OP corporate partner, Mobile Skills Crew program 2017
 Yumbutter, Ice Age Trail Alliance, Trailtessa, Force of Nature

 

2017 Regional Rallies – Register now!

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 land 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 2018 local and regional events. Lunch is provided.

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

Saturday, November 4th – Barron County
Sunday, November 5th –  Marathon County
Sunday, November 12th – Waukesha County

Schedule

Start: 9 am

Agenda (click here)

Lunch: We’ll provide the fixins for a “build your own” sandwich bar, while the host chapter provides delicious desserts.

End: 1:30 pm.

Note: The local host chapter may arrange for a nearby hike, or enjoy the afternoon on your own for a fall walk.

Duff Bucket Challenge

We’re bringing back the Duff Bucket Challenge. The fall season is synonymous with decluttering. As you go through your house plumping sofa cushions and clearing off the tops of dressers, corral the small change you find into your Ice Age Trail coffee mug. Empty those coins into a Duff Bucket at a Regional Rally near you, and refill said mug with your favorite morning beverage. Feel virtuous as you settle into the camaraderie and conversation.

Highlight Your Chapter’s Successes with Photos!

As in previous years, we are hosting the ever-popular Chapter Exchanges. This year, we encourage you to highlight your successes with photographs.
Please send 3 – 5 digital photos to Brad Crary at Brad@iceagetrail.org. We will organize them by chapter into a digital presentation, so include your chapter name with the photos.
All photos need to be in Brad’s email box by Monday, October 30th.

Registration

To REGISTER for a Regional Rally near you, click a link below:

Saturday, November 4th, Cameron Community Center, 514 W. Main St., Cameron, WI (Barron County)
Sunday, November 5th, Hatley Public Library, 435 Curtis Ave., Hatley, WI (Marathon County)
Sunday, November 12th, Lapham Peak Unit, KMSF, W329 N846 County Rd C, Delafield, WI (Waukesha County)

We hope to see at a Rally near you!

The Northwoods Are Calling: Crisp air, colorful trees, and trailbuilding!

Ice Age National Scenic Trail, Ice Age Trail Alliance, Mobile Skills Crew, MSC Mammoth

Spring arrived early enabling a hardy group of volunteers to clear corridor and grub out stumps in anticipation of October’s MSC event. Photo by Dave Caliebe.

The trees of the Northwoods are beginning to turn red and gold and, as we say good-bye to summer, a new beginning lies ahead for the Firth Lake Segment of the Ice Age National Scenic Trail.

Due to the expansion of an All-Terrain Vehicle trail in the Chippewa County Forest, to ensure a non-motorized experience for users of the Ice Age Trail, we are building a newly designed 1.7 miles of improved Ice Age Trail. Change can be a good thing. Continue reading

Be a Nature Princess … At Any Age!

Ice Age National Scenic Trail, Ice Age Trail Alliance, Force of Nature, Trailtessa Retreats

Be Fanciful. Be a Force of Nature. Be a Nature Princess…at any age! Make a crown, dust off your boots, and come explore the wild kingdom on the Dunes Segment of the Ice Age National Scenic Trail. Photo by Woodland Dunes Nature Center staff.

Be Adventurous. Do Princesses climb trees and get dirty? Absolutely. This program, inspired by the children’s book, “Do Princesses Wear Hiking Boots?”, is designed to be a royally good time, packed with opportunities to get out and get messy. Continue reading

Backpacking the Ice Age Trail

We’ve hit our group-size limit for this event. We hope you’ll join us next time!

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Join us for a 4-day backpacking trip in one of the most pristine sections of the Ice Age Trail – the Chequamegon National Forest. This outing is a collaboration of the Ice Age Trail Alliance and the Verona Ice Age Trail Community.

Trip Details

Dates: Monday, September 18th – Thursday, September 21, 2017 (departing at 7:30 a.m. from the Old County Road PB park & ride in Verona) Continue reading

348 Feet of Boardwalk in 3 Days?

Ice Age National Scenic Trail, Ice Age Trail Alliance, Clover Valley MSCConstruct a 348-foot-long boardwalk in three days? No problem! Volunteers quickly gained experience as they rotated between crews. This rotation gave everyone the opportunity to learn the necessary skills and to fill in seamlessly wherever someone was needed. Adding to the remarkable pace was the knowledge and previous experience of nine volunteers who had taken part in a boardwalk training earlier in the summer. The seeds planted at the boardwalk training visibly sprouted at Clover Valley and are emerging along the Trail. Continue reading

Help Build Sustainable Trails in Walla Hi!

Ice Age National Scenic Trail, Ice Age Trail Alliance, Walla Hi County Park, Mobile Skills Crew Program

Yellow pin flags mark the center line along the route of the new Ice Age National Scenic Trail as it travels through Walla Hi County Park in Manitowoc County. Photo by Dave Caliebe.

Walla Hi County Park in Manitowoc County is home to undulating terrain formed as continental-sized loads of rock and soil, carried by two massive lobes of ice, met and co-mingled. The resulting 125-mile interlobate Kettle Moraine rises in a topographic swell more typically associated with the Adirondack Mountains. This dramatic expression of glacial landscape will soon host nearly 2 miles of the Ice Age National Scenic Trail. Sustainably built trails, following natural contours of the park, will highlight the impressive rugged beauty of the region. Continue reading

Be HAPPY – September 23, 2017

Ice Age National Scenic Trail, Ice Age Trail Alliance, Trailtessa, Be Happy, Force of Nature, REI Corporate Partner

Be Relaxed. Join us for a casual afternoon hike amidst the wildflowers and savor a farm-to-table dinner on the beautiful Table Bluff Segment of the Ice Age Trail. Photo by James Mills.

Fall is a luscious time on the Ice Age National Scenic Trail. Experience the legendary beauty of the Table Bluff Segment with its restored prairie and oak savannah. You’ll exhale a stressful week as you absorb the breath-taking, 360 views well above the valley floor below. Continue reading

Volunteers Open 1.7-mile of Trail

Ice Age National Scenic Trail, Ice Age Trail Alliance, Ringle Segment, Mobile Skills Crew Event

Volunteers relax in the warmth of a campfire after a day of trailbuilding. Photo by Cameron Gillie.

A sense of amazement coursed through the volunteers circling the campfire every time a streak of light from the Perseid meteor shower shot across the sky – nature’s fireworks for millennia. Those shooting stars are like the Ringle Mobile Skills Crew event volunteers who came together in a brilliant stroke of skill, effort, and camaraderie and blasted through the work set in front of them. Continue reading

Welcome to the Party!

Ice Age Trail Alliance, Ice Age National Scenic Trail, Manitowoc-Two Rivers Trail Community

It’s official! Luke Kloberdanz, Director of Outreach and Education for the Ice Age Trail Alliance, looks on as Greg Buckley, Two Rivers City Manager, and Justin Nickels, Manitowoc Mayor, cut the ribbon designating their cities as official Trail Communities. These attractive signs will grace the entrances to each city. Photo by Dolly McNulty.

Manitowoc and Two Rivers, we’re thrilled to have you join the Ice Age Trail Community family!

Hikers! Take a look at our Trail Communities for ways to appreciate the towns you’re hiking through. The Manitowoc and Two Rivers area have the only segments of Trail that put your toes into Lake Michigan waters. You’ll find maps of the Trail (and area segments) making it easy for you to follow the path as it winds through each city. There’s plenty of suggestions, too, for how to extend your stay in a fun and memorable way. Oh, and don’t forget to hit the Washington House for an ice cream sundae. After all, the first sundae in the world was made there!

Volunteers “Amp Up” the Lake 11 Project

Ice Age Trail, Ice Age Trail Alliance, Mobile Skills Crew Lake Eleven Project

A project beginning with a small, focused premise, grew quickly as seasoned Trail Eyes broadened the perspective (recognizing additional underlying issues could be addressed with the robust crew on hand). Replacing a footbridge with a 36-foot-long state-of-the-art bridge, designed to last 50 years, was not enough; two critical trail reroutes were added, then a third. Signage upgrades covered a mile and trail maintenance with mowers, weed whackers, and chainsaws extended for an additional three miles of Trail.

A similar expansion occurred with the 88 volunteers at the event. With every tree grubbed, blaze painted, swing of the pick mattock, and sandwich prepared, the individuals completing these tasks became an integral member of this trailbuilding community and helped “amp up” the project. The team went above and beyond, cranking it to 11, Lake 11 that is. Continue reading

A First in the Fourth

Ice Age National Scenic Trail, Ice Age Trail, Mike Summers Winter 2017 thru-hike

The all too familiar icicles of winter hiking. Photo by Mike Summers.

by guest writer Mike Summers

I crunched up the snow-covered remnants of the Niagra Escarpment in Wisconsin’s Potowatomi State Park on a sunny, 32-degree December day. My westbound thru-hike of the Ice Age National Scenic Trail (IAT) had begun, and I had no idea what I was getting myself into.

Neither did anyone else.

No one had attempted a self-supported thru-hike in the winter months, and many thought it a little strange to try.* But for me, the dreaded “fourth season” of backpacking invoked not fear, but intrigue. This hike would be a test to see if I really enjoyed backpacking, even in the most unforgiving of conditions. Continue reading

A Bold Attempt

Ice Age Trail Alliance, Ice Age National Scenic Trail, Jonnah Perkins ultrafarmer guest writer

Wet spring trails greeted Annie Weiss as she traveled through the Northwoods.
Photo by Long Nguyen.

by guest writer Jonnah Perkins

When you mention the Ice Age National Scenic Trail, most people picture the civilized, buffed out trails of the southern and eastern segments. These trails are heavily trafficked by runners and hikers, flocking to the beauty of the forest, from Milwaukee, Madison, and Chicago. Farther up in the northern part of the state, there are wild, remote sections of trail many would not imagine could be found in Wisconsin.

This adventure is exactly what ultrarunner Annie Weiss was after when planning an attempt to break the fastest known time (FKT) on the Ice Age Trail. The personal time-trial-trend is growing in popularity in the ultrarunning community. Setting a new FKT, or even pursuing one, is a coveted notch on the belt of ultrarunners. On May 1st, Annie set out to complete the roughly 1,200 miles of the trail system in 19 days. That’s three days ahead of the current record of 22 days and 6 hours set by Jason Dorgan in 2007. This meant Annie would need to average over 60 miles per day to meet her goal. When I talked with Annie a few weeks ahead of her departure, she was brimming with optimism and a healthy dose of trepidation for completing her plan, especially the northern segments. Continue reading

Help Open New Trail in Marathon County!

Ice Age Trail Alliance, Ice Age National Scenic Trail, Northland College, Mobile Skills Crew project

Students and their professor from a Northland College summer geology class formed a dynamic team with crew leader Ruth McCann.
Photo by Dave Caliebe.

Fresh spring energy unleased in May wove its way through 2,539 volunteer hours and materialized into recognizable magic in the geologic “Landscape Crossroads” of Marathon County.

Join us as Trail friends continue to shape tread and bring boulders to rest in retaining walls. This renewed August effort will open 1.7 miles of brand new trail. Continue reading

Lake Eleven Bridge Building Project

Ice Age Trail Alliance, Ice Age National Scenic Trail, Mobile Skills Crew Event

The work site where the new 35-foot clear span bridge will be constructed and installed.
Photo by Tim Malzhan

Deep in the velvety silence of the Chequamegon National Forest, gnarled trees remind us of the power nature unleashed 15 years ago when the Gilman tornado touched down and chewed through 4,000 acres of forested land, of which 900 acres were approaching old growth status.

Here is where the Ice Age Trail Lake Eleven Segment crosses a stream via an aged pedestrian bridge, declared “unsafe” four years ago. Now, we’re constructing a new 35-foot clear span bridge designed to last 50 or more years.

Join us for this mid-summer adventure where daytime industry meets campfire conversation and flickering fireflies. Continue reading

There is no IAT-U without … YOU!

Ice Age Trail Alliance, Ice Age National Scenic Trail, Ice Age Trail University, IAT-U

Photo by Michael Maziarka

The secret sauce of our wildly successful and award-winning Mobile Skills Crew program?

Well-trained volunteers. Absolutely.

When the Mobile Skills Crew trailer pulls up to a work site, the flurry of activity that follows is nothing short of astounding. Tents are set up, meals are cooked, trails are built and boardwalks constructed. Much of what is accomplished, over the course of a few days, happens, in part, because the Ice Age Trail Alliance staff is able to rely on knowledgeable, capable volunteers. Individuals who have raised their hands and said “YES” to learning new skills or deepening their existing capabilities in service of the Trail. Continue reading

Cross Plains Celebrates the Ice Age Trail

The Cross Plains Segment shows off its best summer look. Photo Credit: Lou Ann Novak

In 2017 the Village of Cross Plains became one of eight Ice Age Trail Communities. This designation is more than a sign on the highway and a ribbon cutting. It is an invitation to use the Ice Age National Scenic Trail to celebrate the local culture, history, landscape, and businesses.

This July 14 and 15 the Village, in collaboration with the Cross Plains Chamber of Commerce, and the Ice Age Trail Alliance’s Dane County Chapter, will be taking up the invitation to celebrate! Continue reading

21 New Boardwalk Builders

Ice Age National Scenic Trail, Ice Age Trail Alliance, Eagle Segment Boardwalk 2017

The newest class of boardwalk builders looks on as hikers try out their creation.
Photo by Dave Caliebe

The best place to hike through a wetland is…above it!

Piece-by-piece, 21 participants in the boardwalk training built two elevated boardwalks totaling 193 feet. Every measurement taken, every pan placed, every screw installed was an opportunity to learn and hone new skills. Continue reading

Volunteers Rise to the Challenge

Ice Age Trail, Ice Age National Scenic Trail, Mobile Skills Crew, Blue Hills Storm CleanupKeeping 15 miles of hard-to-access Ice Age Trail open and passable through rough, rocky terrain is no easy task. It takes a certain amount of grit to volunteer for a project of this magnitude, and 59 volunteers rose to the challenge and committed 1,471 hours to this worthy cause.

The Blue Hills are a gem and, thanks to your service and stewardship, the Ice Age National Scenic Trail is in fine condition for enjoyment by visitors from far and wide. Continue reading

Make Friends, Raise Awareness

The Ice Age Trail staffs a food tent at the Wisconsin Farm Technology Days

Hiking at the edge of a pasture.
Photo credit: Rachel Roberts, IAT volunteer

Farm Technology Days  is our chance to feed the farmers who traditionally feed us.

Farm Technology Days (FTD) begins Tuesday, July 11th and runs through Thursday, July 13th. This fundraising opportunity, for the Trail, is about making friends, providing a crucial service, and raising awareness. It’s important to foster a friendly alliance within the farming community; numerous Ice Age Trail segments run alongside swaths of farmland.

While, fences make good neighbors, so does reaching out and being friendly. Let’s be neighborly. Continue reading

Summer Camp for Trail Wizards!

Ice Age Trail Alliance, Ice Age National Scenic Trail, IAT-U, Ice Age Trail UniversityIce Age Trail University is summer camp …

… for Trail wizards of all ages. Plenty of fresh air, good sunshine, and happy times learning new things.

The best way to learn is by doing, and we’ll be providing lots of hands-on learning!

We’re super excited to partner with the Merrill Area School System and the Friends of the Merrill School Forest to build two boardwalks, and super excited about this year’s Camp Chef course.

North Central Technical College is offering a special training through their Culinary Arts program. It’s an exciting time for those who want to become more involved in the volunteer-support side of our Mobile Skills Crew events. Continue reading

Big Things Come in Small Packages

Ice Age Trail Alliance, Ice Age National Scenic Trail, Marth Property Acquistion, City of West Bend

Silver Creek as it winds through the Marth Property. Photo by Kevin Thusius

A gem lay camouflaged, hidden between large brick buildings in a 1.38-acre piece of commercial property. The purchase of the Marth property, by the Ice Age Trail Alliance, brought the potential of this piece of land out of hiding and into focus. Now, a picturesque wetland, with sweetly named Silver Creek, is permanently protected and will someday host the Ice Age National Scenic Trail. Continue reading

Resilient Volunteers

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

Photo by Allan Henn

Wild, wet weather greeted us Tuesday and made repeated guest appearances all week. Thank you for drawing upon your personal stores of resiliency to make the first “MSC Mammoth” event of the season a success.

Bringing a Trail to life requires a certain toughness and the capacity to adapt and forge ahead. 107 volunteers, over the course of 2,539 hours, had fun, worked safely, and built great trail. Significant progress was made towards our August goal of opening 1.7 miles of new, sustainable, premier Ice Age National Scenic Trail. Continue reading

The Blue Hills are Calling

Ice Age Trail Alliance, Ice Age National Scenic Trail, Mobile Skills Crew Event, Blue Hills Rusk County

Photo by Tim Malzhan

The regal silence of the Blue Hills, with its lichen-covered logs and rugged beauty brimming with other worldliness, is interrupted only by bird calls and bubbling streams.

This expansive trail stewardship project attempts to tame a sliver of forest to provide hikers with both the rich rewards of a true north woods experience and a good, hike-able Trail as it winds through Rusk County. Join us outside. The Blue Hills (and slapping of beavers’ tails) are calling. Continue reading