Explore Marathon County’s Newest Gem!

Ice Age Trail Alliance, Ice Age National Scenic Trail, Rice Lake Preserve, Rice Lake MSC, White Cedar Segment
A happy crew worked together to fasten deck boards along an 873-foot-long boardwalk. Photo by Holly Lorentz.
Part of the Ice Age National Scenic Trail’s beauty is its ability to shepherd hikers through the varied landscape of Wisconsin, including hard-to-get-to or otherwise inaccessible places. Thanks to 88 volunteers donating 2,185 service hours, a new segment winds through the Ice Age Trail Alliance-owned Rice Lake Preserve. Continue reading

A Summer to Remember: Would you Accept a Kohlrabi?

Bryn Langrehr posing next to a sign for the Pothole Trail at the start of her thru-hike in St. Croix Falls, WI. Photo by Bryn Langrehr.
Bryn Langrehr posing next to a sign for the Pothole Trail at the start of her thru-hike in St. Croix Falls, WI. Photo by Bryn Langrehr.
The last summer before getting a “real job” is often one you’ll always remember. This is definitely the case for Bryn Langrehr, who is spending her summer thru-hiking the Ice Age National Scenic Trail.

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The Trail was Calling: Ernie Ruiz’s Thru-Hike Journey

Ruiz posing in front of the Visitors Center in the Antigo/Langlade County trail community. Photo by Ernie Ruiz.
Ruiz posing in front of the Visitors Center in the Antigo/Langlade County trail community. Photo by Ernie Ruiz.
Most thru-hikers who have visited us at the Alliance have thoroughly and painstakingly researched the Ice Age Trail (IAT). However, Ernesto “Burn” Ruiz (or Ernie) is an exception. He didn’t plan his Ice Age Trail thru-hike. He simply got “the itch” and felt the need to get on the Trail.

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Tremendous Progress on Trail Reroute!

Ice Age Trail Alliance, Ice Age National Scenic Route, New Hope Iola Ski Hill MSC
A volunteer displays great pride and delight with the new boardwalk and viewing platform built during the project. Photo by Patrick Gleissner.
Iola Winter Sports Club property acquisitions and a renegotiated easement created an opportunity to reroute the Ice Age Trail from ski trails onto a dedicated hiking path. Over 5 days, 117 volunteers worked 2,962 hours to construct 4,000 feet (a little more than ¾ mile) of new Trail along breathtaking kettles and a wonderful wetland. Continue reading

Maura Hanley Joins the Alliance as the New AmeriCorps VISTA Member!

Maura Hanley
The Ice Age Trail Alliance is pleased to welcome Maura Hanley as the newest addition to the Alliance marketing and communications team! Maura is joining the Alliance as an AmeriCorps VISTA member through Conservation Legacy’s Stewards Individual Placement Program.

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FKTs, Trail Food, and Anime with Dosu Kinuta

Dosu Kinuta and the iconic hot dog shirt at Ice Age Trail Alliance headquarters. Photo by IATA staff.
Dosu Kinuta and the iconic hot dog shirt at Ice Age Trail Alliance headquarters. Photo by IATA staff.
Have you encountered a hiker with a blue backpack and a hot dog shirt on the Ice Age Trail recently?

If you didn’t get a chance to say hi, let us introduce you.

There’s only one hot dog shirt like that, so we can confidently say that you caught a glimpse of the one and only Dosu Kinuta!

Dosu is a thru-hiker from New Hampshire currently attempting to set the Fastest Known Time (FKT) for a self-supported thru-hike on the Ice Age National Scenic Trail. Continue reading

Welcome Miranda Murphy, our new Field Engagement Intern!

Field Engagement Intern, Miranda Murphy.
Field Engagement Intern, Miranda Murphy.
We are excited to welcome Miranda Murphy to the Alliance as our new Field Engagement Intern.

Miranda recently graduated from UW-Madison, where she majored in Environmental Studies and Psychology. She was introduced to the Ice Age Trail Alliance during her last semester, when she spent a day at Alliance headquarters through a job shadow program with the Nelson Institute for Environmental Studies. Growing up in Madison, the Trail has long been a presence in her life, since before she was even aware of it. “I’ve done sections before, but without really thinking about the fact that it was Ice Age Trail, it was just, you know, a trail to hike on.” Continue reading

Fresh Tread in a Storybook Setting

Ice Age Trail Alliance, Ice Age National Scenic Trail, Rib Lake Segment MSC, Taylor County
Volunteers work together to maneuver a boulder into place for what will become a set of stone steps. Photo by Patrick Gleissner.
The Ice Age Trail brings all sorts of folks together, and this MSC event was no exception. First-time volunteers, New Vision Wilderness students, a pair of TikTok celebrities (their Instagram handle is “thruhikers”), and a long-distance hiker passing through joined seasoned trailbuilders as they cut fresh tread on the Rib Lake Segment. This confluence of novelty and experience resulted in more than 3,000 feet of completed trail, with a generous head start on another 1,000 feet!

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Preventing Tick-borne Illnesses

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With warm weather enticing hikers into Wisconsin’s wild spaces, it’s a good time to consider how to prevent tick-borne illnesses while recreating outdoors. Tick-borne illnesses typically first cause flu-like symptoms and usually can be treated with antibiotics if caught early. Untreated, they may cause serious health problems, including death in rare cases. Information on tick-borne illnesses and tips to prevent tick exposure can be found below.

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Meet Arlette Laan, the woman hiking all 11 National Scenic Trails

Arlette Laan posing on enormous erratics along the Trade River Segment. Photo by Roberta Smith.
Arlette Laan posing on enormous erratics along the Trade River Segment. Photo by Roberta Smith.
Once Arlette completes the Ice Age National Scenic Trail, she will be the first known woman to have hiked all 11 National Scenic Trails. She is working towards that goal as we speak! We are excited for the Ice Age Trail to provide the backdrop for this incredible achievement.

Arlette graciously took some time from her busy hiking schedule to answer our questions. Read on to hear from this inspiring long-distance hiker and dollmaker from the Netherlands.

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2022 Trail Steward of the Year: Gerald “Jerry” Pfeifer

Ice Age National Scenic Trail, Ice Age Trail Alliance, Trail Steward of the Year, Jerry Pfeifer, Gerald Pfeifer
Dave Caliebe, Trail Manager for the Ice Age Trail Alliance (right), congratulates Gerald "Jerry" Pfeifer, winner of the Trail Steward of the Year award for 2022. Photo by Cameron Gillie.

The Trail Steward of the Year award recognizes a volunteer whose work contributes in an extraordinary manner to Trail management and development.

These contributions include:

  • Strengthening landowner and/or partner relations;
  • Trail layout, design, and construction;
  • Significant trail maintenance and stewardship efforts.
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2022 Spirit Stick Caretaker: Debbie Krogwold

Ice Age Trail Alliance, Ice Age National Scenic Trail, Spirit Stick Award, Debboe Krogwold
Debbie Krogwold, Portage/Waupaca County Chapter Coordinator, receives the cherished Spirit Stick award; one of the highest honors bestowed by the Ice Age Trail Alliance. Photo by Cameron Gillie.

Debbie Krogwold inspires the entire Ice Age Trail Alliance community with her passion for the Ice Age National Scenic Trail. Her long-time dedication has encompassed a wide range of activities: Trail maintenance and promotion as well as the nitty-gritty details of chapter administration.

The Ice Age Trail Alliance’s Spirit Stick award symbolizes long-term dedication and service to the Ice Age National Scenic Trail and is presented to only one recipient per year. The Spirit Stick nominees must exhibit a passion for the Ice Age National Scenic Trail that has become a way of life; lead by example and inspire those around them; and carry out their service in a spirit of cooperation, optimism, and enthusiasm.

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A Long-Awaited, 350-foot Lodi Marsh Boardwalk is Complete!

Volunteers wasted no time utilizing built sections of the boardwalk to more easily navigate the marsh as they finished construction. Photo by Riley Dupee.
Volunteers wasted no time utilizing built sections of the boardwalk to more easily navigate the marsh as they finished construction. Photo by Riley Dupee.
In typical April fashion, 40 volunteers experienced all four seasons over three workdays. Each day brought a surprise. Would it rain or snow? Who would lose a boot to the marsh? The only thing volunteers knew for certain: two-inch thick, white oak deck boards are heavier than they look. Nevertheless, they tackled it all with good humor – laughter was as common a sound as the squelching of muck boots.

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The Student Conservation Association is hiring an Ice Age Trail work crew!

Photo by Cameron Gillie.
Photo by Cameron Gillie.
A partner organization, the Student Conservation Association (SCA), is hiring an Ice Age Trail work crew for the summer!

This is a great opportunity for those starting out or considering a career in the outdoors.

Crew members will spend their summer with a team of like-minded peers, gaining hands-on training and developing trailbuilding and leadership skills. And they’ll be working in some of the most scenic locations Wisconsin has to offer, right along the Ice Age National Scenic Trail.

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Farewell to Brad Crary, Special Projects Coordinator

Brad Crary assisting with food prep at an MSC Event. Photo by Cameron Gillie.
Brad Crary assisting with food prep at an MSC Event. Photo by Cameron Gillie.
On Friday, April 1, after 14 years with the Alliance, we say goodbye to Brad Crary. Many of you know Brad from his years coordinating project support for scores of large-scale MSC events. He was a fixture at basecamp, managing logistics big and small: setting up the tent, assisting with food prep, and ensuring coffee was ready first thing in the morning. No matter the hour, he wore his trademark smile.

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The Case for Connector Routes

By Mary Cieslewicz, Thousand-Miler
Hiking with a buddy will ensure those connector miles fly by. Photo by Mary Cieslewicz.
Hiking with a buddy will ensure those connector miles fly by. Photo by Mary Cieslewicz.
Anyone who hikes the Ice Age National Scenic Trail speaks enthusiastically about its fauna, flora, and geological features. Each hike offers lessons on myriad topics: beavers, butterflies, derechos, erratics, fossils, flowers, and ticks. In addition to traversing natural spaces, the Ice Age Trail is also composed of connector routes. These rural roads link off-road sections of Trail together, and in many cases, they bring hikers into cities and towns. The designers of the Ice Age Trail intentionally placed the Trail near populated areas, hoping close and easy access would increase its usage.

Knowing many aspiring Thousand-Milers merely tolerate road miles and other hikers eschew them entirely, I devote this essay to the joy of hiking connectors, hoping to inspire an appreciation for the miles marked not by yellow blazes but by white stripes.

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What I learned Backpacking the Ice Age Trail

By Cameron Gillie, Thousand-Miler and Contract and Volunteer Photographer for the Ice Age Trail Alliance
Cameron Gillie celebrating the completion of his thousand-mile journey at the western terminus of the Ice Age Trail. Self-portrait by Cameron Gillie.
Cameron Gillie celebrating the completion of his thousand-mile journey at the western terminus of the Ice Age Trail. Self-portrait by Cameron Gillie.
Hiking an entire National Scenic Trail is bound to change you in some ways. You have a whole lot of time to think about things as you walk alone with only your thoughts for 1,200 miles. I’m a photojournalist, and I set out to tell the story of Wisconsin’s landscapes, communities, and people for a photography book. Here’s what I learned on a personal level.

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