The Thousand-Miler Smile!

Ice Age Trail Alliance, Ice Age National Scenic Trail, Thousand-Miler, Section Hiking,

The happy, thousand-watt smiles of brand new Thousand-Milers fill the Alliance headquarters.      Photo by Jo Ellarson.

Lynn Williamson and Patrice Nicolet recently completed their thousand-mile journey on the Ice Age National Scenic Trail. Laughing, they remarked, “We’re still friends, too!” Williamson and Nicolet became Thousand-Milers by section hiking the Ice Age Trail. The Thousand-Miler Map and Checklist helped them plan and document their progress as they hiked the Trail in bits and pieces over a period of years.

You too can get started on your very own adventure, solo, or with a friend, or an entire passel of people. Winter is a great time to cozy up to a warm fire and beginning planning your hike along the Ice Age Trail. Will you hike it a segment (or two) or connecting route (or more) at a time? Will you choose to hike the entire Trail in one continuous, multi-day effort? The decision is yours. Continue reading

Want a Half a Trail? Save the LWCF!

Ice Age Trail Alliance, Ice Age National Scenic Trail, Save the Land and Water Conservation Fund, #SaveLWCF

We could protect DOUBLE the amount of places if LWCF received its promised funding! Instead, it’s only gotten half of its funding over the last 50+ years. Tell Congress that this is why we need full, dedicated funding for LWCF!

The Ice Age Trail Alliance is working tirelessly toward completion of a contiguous Trail through Wisconsin. The Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF) is indispensable to that effort, investing more than $14.5M in permanently protecting the Ice Age National Scenic Trail.

If you’ve walked miles on asphalt, as part of a connecting route, then you know nearly HALF of the Ice Age National Scenic Trail remains unprotected. Approximately 540 miles of the 1,200-mile Ice Age Trail is incomplete. These LWCF investments are critical funding to fill in gaps, extend the Trail and protect a continuous corridor.  Continue reading

Twelve 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. In its third year, #OptOutside takes place on Black Friday and encourages people to take a hike! Here in Wisconsin, the day after Thanksgiving is also the heart of deer-gun hunting season. Keeping this in mind, we have set up 12 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

Spectacular MSC Season Finale

Ice Age Trail Alliance, Ice Age National Scenic Trail, Langlade County MSC, Mobile Skills Crew event 2018

The rock work crew proudly gathers at the culmination of their efforts. Photo by Alaina Dedo.

The Mobile Skills Crew 2018 (MSC) season finale was a thundering conclusion to a successful season of Ice Age National Scenic Trail development, construction, and stewardship. The first-ever MSC event in Langlade County generated the most project hours in the history of all IATA events, and the most miles of new Trail opened in one fell swoop since such data has been reliably tracked. Continue reading

Celebrate Our Anniversary with New Gear!

Ice Age Trail Alliance, Ice Age National Scenic Trail, 50th Anniversary of the National Trails Scenic Act, 60th Anniversary of the Ice Age Trail Alliance

Snag a combo pack – Anniversary T-Shirt & Monty – and be a part of the national celebration!

On October 2nd, 1968 the National Trails System was created. This momentous occasion formalized the curation of America’s great hikes and critical points in human history. The National Scenic and Historic Trails were born.

On December 15th, 1958, a group of citizens came together and the Ice Age Trail Alliance was formed to create, support and protect what would become the Ice Age National Scenic Trail.

The Alliance has enjoyed a year of celebrating the 50th and 60th anniversaries by building new trail, reaching new groups, and protecting landscapes. We are continuing the celebration by offering reduced pricing on our 60th Anniversary T-Shirt  made by Seek Dry Goods. Continue reading

Old Railroad Segment: North woods extravaganza!

Morning mist rises on one of the many lakes along the re-imagined Old Railroad Segment. Photo by Dave Caliebe.

A grand time of year to be in the north woods is when the sugar maple, oak, and aspen light up in fall colors and, at long last, the mosquitoes, gnats, and flies have had their final say for the season.

Beginning Tuesday, October 9th and continuing through Sunday, October 14th, please join us for the season-finale of the 2018 Mobile Skills Crew “Light the Candles” tour and help create a new, nearly 10-mile long, reroute of Ice Age Trail in Langlade County.

This event is all-hands-on-deck and a HUGE opportunity to elevate the hiker experience in the north woods. Continue reading

Trail Conditions

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

Tornado damage along County Highway F just north of the John Muir Segment in Marquette County. Photo by thru-hiker, Jason Pursell.

Trail Condition Highlights

Parnell Segment: 

The Parnell Segment near Butler Lake was hit hard during an August 31st storm which produced high winds and tornados and many trees were blown down. While the staff of the Kettle Moraine State Forest-Northern Unit have downplayed the extent of the damage, hiker reports (as recently as 11/02/2018) indicate the route is still extremely treacherous and it is exceedingly easy to get lost. The on-going IATA  recommendation is to avoid the Parnell Segment at this point in time.

Firth Lake Segment:

A portion of the Firth Lake Segment in Chippewa County has been closed by a private landowner. In order to bypass that segment, which extends from east of Firth Lake SIATA and Chippewa County Forest to about 1 mile west of Hwy CC, it is necessary to bypass everything between Hwy CC and Firth Lake. Continue reading

60 Successful Years!

Ice Age Trail, Ice Age Trail Alliance, Ice Age National Scenic Trail, Mobile Skills Crew, Cross Plains Segment

Photos by Cameron Gillie of ThePinHoleThing.com

The Ice Age Trail Alliance supporters, staff, and community members had lots to celebrate August 8-12 during our Ice Age Trail Days.

Ice Age Trail Alliance, Ice Age National Scenic Trail, Ice Age Trail, Ray Zillmer

Ice Age Trail Alliance founder, Ray Zillmer.

Beginning with the dream of a single individual, Ray Zillmer who, in 1958, envisioned the Ice Age Trail and established what would become the Ice Age Trail Alliance. Fast forward 60 years and the Ice Age Trail is one of only eleven National Scenic Trails in the United States and the Alliance its strongest advocate. Continue reading

Mud, Rain, and Slab Hill

Ice Age Trail Alliance, Ice Age National Scenic Trail, Mobile Skills Crew Project, Walla Hi SegmentDespite rain and challenging conditions, our third MSC event in 15 months at Walla Hi County Park was a great success. Hardy volunteers, 79 in total, helped create and open for business a new, signature section of the Ice Age National Scenic Trail.

Over the course of three and a half days and 1,908 volunteer hours, a little over a half-mile of spectacular new trail, one that beguiles the imagination, emerged from within a 15-foot wide trail easement. Slab Hill – the steep pitch that rises 47% over 80 linear feet – will forever be a focal point for trail users. Telling of the skill and dedication of the builders are found in the subtleties – trail drainage dips, well-crafted tread, thoughtful trail signage, and the scores of invasive plants eradicated.  Continue reading

Cross Plains Will Soon Host a New Segment of Ice Age Trail

Ice Age Trail Alliance, Ice Age National Scenic Trail, Cross Plains Conservancy, Mobile Skills Crew event

Sandstone rock outcroppings will soon be given their due. Corridor clearing for new Ice Age Trail will highlight these lovely landscape features. Photo by Dave Caliebe.

Trailbuilding Event & Celebration
Cross Plains Segment
August 8 – 12, 2018
Dane County
Project Area Map [PDF]

Light the Candles for a mile of NEW Ice Age Trail, the 50th anniversary of the National Trails System Act, and the 60th birthday of the Ice Age Trail Alliance!!!

It’s not often we get to rub shoulders with the folks who will benefit most directly from our efforts. Yet, trailbuilding in collaboration with a Trail Community affords us this opportunity. Week-long, we’ll gather with residents of the Village of Cross Plains, sustainable farming practitioners, outdoor retailers, elected officials and other trail enthusiasts from near and far to celebrate the splendor and diversity of Wisconsin, the Ice Age Trail, and the soul shaking experience of all stripes of people of all ages and all walks of life coming together over the span of 60 years to make real a shared vision for long distance hiking, conservation, and community. Continue reading

Ice Age Trail Days

Ice Age National Scenic Trail, Ice Age Trail Alliance, Ice Age Trail DaysIce Age Trail Days 60th Anniversary Party!

Date: Wednesday, August 8 – Sunday, August 12

Location: Village of Cross Plains

Activities:

  • Trailbuilding, August 8 – 12
  • Live music, exhibits, and farm-to-table dinner, August 10
  • Hikes and Workshops, August 11

Download a complete Schedule of Events [PDF]

Ice Age Trail Days event details HERE; grab your ticket for the dinner, hurry…limited seating

Summer Party T-Shirts

Ice Age Trail Alliance, Ice Age National Scenic Trail, Seek Dry Goods, Corporate Partners

Perfect for festivals and back yard barbecues this line of summer Ts will help you survive a muggy Wisconsin heat wave. They’re also good for showing off your Ice Age Trail Pride. Change into one after a productive Trail Improvement day – know you clean up good. Slip one on before you head out to a summer party. Save the Date – see the list below. 

The Ice Age Trail Alliance partnered with Seek Dry Goods, an up and coming outdoor apparel company who caters to Seekers; people who are passionate and obsessive about the outdoors.

Seek is celebrating one full year in business. We’re celebrating 60 years as an organization. Seems like a good time to host a couple of parties – you’re invited, by-the-way. Continue reading

Wigwam Swag – Socks!

Ice Age Trail Alliance, Ice Age National Scenic Trail, Wigwam, Corporate FriendsWigwam regularly engages with enthusiast fans of the Ice Age National Scenic Trail by giving away socks at Alliance events like the Be FREE Trailtessa trail running workshop, the Annual Conference, National Public Lands Day stewardship event, and by offering a multitude of coupons for Mobile Skills Crew volunteers.

Ice Age Trail Alliance, Ice Age National Scenic Trail, Wigwam, Corporate Friends

Ice Age Trail socks by Wigwam can be found here along with an assortment of color options.

Trail Friends support Friends of the Trail; checkout Wigwam and get yourself a pair of socks.

Friend of the Ice Age Trail Award 2017

Fontana Sports Specialties was the 2017 recipient of the Friends of the Ice Age Trail award. As Luke Kloberdanz, Director of Philanthropy wrote in his nomination of Fontana:

“One fine example of Fontana Sports Specialties’ dedication to being a Friend of the Trail is this: Since 2014 Fontana Sports has hosted two fundraising events annually for the Alliance which focus on putting people directly on the Trail. The first event is an evening trail run called the Headlamp Hustle. The second event is a fall trail run titled Fall Colors Run. While these events benefit the Alliance financially (with a total contribution of well over $10,000), they represent the purest form of engagement found in Alliance work, putting people directly into contact with the Ice Age National Scenic Trail. Each event hosts over 100 participants as they enjoy some of the most challenging sections of the Trail to run. Despite the grueling nature of the routes, every participant arrives at the finish line with a sense of appreciation for what the Trail brings to the lives of people and communities across the state.” Continue reading

Mudbrook Bridge Ready for Summer Hiking

Ice Age National Scenic Trail, Ice Age Trail Alliance, Harwood Lakes Mobile Skills Crew event, MSC

Volunteers working on the Harwood Lakes Segment of the Ice Age National Scenic Trail make phenomenal progress as they build a new bridge across the marsh. Photo by Dave Caliebe.

Sometimes the best person to summarize a project’s outcome is the boots-on-the-ground chapter leader who was involved with every aspect. Richard Smith offers this recap of the Harwood Lakes MSC event:

“The newly constructed Mudbrook bridge midway between Plummer Lake Road and Deer Fly Trail offers a spectacular view of the wetland in the Mudbrook floodplain, and provides a solid and dry passage through the area. It replaces a bridge and rickety boardwalk conglomeration that has traversed the combination of wetland and beaver dams and which was well beyond “end of life.” Continue reading

Save the LWCF

Ice Age National Scenic Trail, Ice Age Trail Alliance, Land and Water Conservation Fund, #SaveLWCF

A footbridge beckons in the lush forest along the Chippewa River Segment of the Ice Age National Scenic Trail. (Photo by Cameron Gillie)

The Ice Age Trail Alliance has worked tirelessly toward completion of a contiguous Trail through Wisconsin. The Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF) has been indispensable to that effort, investing more than $14.5M in permanently protecting the Ice Age National Scenic Trail.

These LWCF investments are critical funding to fill in gaps, extend the Trail and protect a continuous corridor, and have also served as the catalyst for leveraging federal investment with State, city, county, and private dollars at a rate of 2.5 to 1. Continue reading

Thinking Beyond the Blaze: IAT-U

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

Volunteers gather around to learn the finer points of tread construction from Tim Malzhan, Director of Trail Operations for the Ice Age Trail Alliance. Photo by Cameron Gillie.

Private citizens coming together to create a public resource is an astonishingly complex undertaking. The momentous scale of developing and stewarding the Ice Age National Scenic Trail  requires a shared vision for the Ice Age Trail and the skills and resources necessary to bring that vision to life.  It isn’t easy, but it happens one volunteer, one steward, at a time. It happens during Ice Age Trail University (IAT-U).  Continue reading

3,000 Feet of Hard-Won Tread!

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

Hard-won tread now winds through Marathon County along the rerouted Ringle Segment. Photo by Dave Caliebe.

Massive undertakings are best tackled in small bites. Thanks to those who joined  us at the Ringle Segment Mobile Skills Crew event, that small bite resulted in more than 3,000 feet of new, hard-won tread anchoring phase two of the revamped Ringle Segment. In addition, a new Dispersed Camping Area opened along a 28.5-mile road walk in southern Marathon County. Continue reading

National Trails Day Hikes!

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

The Plover River Segment of the Ice Age Trail. (Photo by Cameron Gillie)

National Trails Day is Saturday, June 2nd, 2018 and there is plenty to celebrate along the Ice Age National Scenic Trail.

Hikes That Go the Distance:

Explore new territory.

Waushara County, All Waushara County Segments: “Walk the Waush” Challenge 

Beginning June 1 through August 19th, challenge yourself, family, friends, and co-workers to lace up their walking shoes and walk as many miles as you can in 80 days and explore Waushara County’s beautiful parks and trails. (Bonus: become eligible for awards and prizes!) (Waushara County Chapter) Continue reading

Renew Your Passion for the Trail!

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

Mysterious Ringle Segment. Photo by Drew Hanson

After a winter’s rest, recharged trailbuilding spirits bring renewed passion to the transformation underway in the geological significant “Landscape Crossroads” of Marathon County.

During three 2017 MSC events, 227 volunteers gave 5,363 hours of energy and effort to superbly hand-craft the first 1.7 miles of the envisioned 6.7-mile reimagined Trail experience of the Ringle Segment. Continue reading

In the Footsteps of Muir

Portrait of John Muir169 years ago John Muir’s family settled in central Wisconsin near Fountain Lake. While the name of the water has changed to Ennis Lake, the landscape that helped shape John Muir’s land ethic remains. Today the Ice Age National Scenic Trail circles around Ennis Lake and through John Muir County Park, allowing hikers to walk a short distance in the footsteps of the Father of our National Parks. With your support, we can expand John Muir County Park and the Ice Age Trail in Marquette County. Continue reading

New Ice Age Trail Gear Available!

The Ice Age Trail Alliance did something different this year.  We partnered with local outdoor brand, Seek Dry Goods, to offer new products and designs that celebrate and support the Trail. Today, we are thrilled to announce the arrival the first official Ice Age Trail tee shirts and stickers!

All tee shirts from Seek Dry Goods display hand-drawn graphics, are USA made and are responsibly sourced (50% organic cotton / 50% recycled polyester).  The use of responsibly sourced materials requires almost 70% less water and energy to produce than conventional fabric. This means your tee shirt purchases not only support the Trail, but the Earth as well. Continue reading

Celebrate Spring with a Hike!

Ice Age Trail Alliance, Ice Age National Scenic Trail, Spring Hikes, Chapter-led hikes

Bring your tribe hiking on the Ice Age National Scenic Trail.                                                         Photos by: Luke Kloberdanz, James Mills, Cameron Gillie

As the snow melts, trees bud out, and wildflowers begin adding a glimmer of color to the Trail, chapter-led hikes begin populating the Ice Age Trail Alliance calendar in earnest.

Continue reading

Be ENOUGH – Trailtessa – Saturday, May 12, 2018

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

Be Rejuvenated. Breathe in the beautiful view and exhale stress. Recharge with a guided hike and a sea of green along the Kewaskum Segment. Photo by Kathy Kehl.

Be Equal. Women, who spend at least an hour a day outside, on average, are more likely to feel equal to men in academia, in the outdoors, at work, in the boardroom, politics and on the sports field. Continue reading