“I love working on the Ice Age National Scenic Trail because what we do today will live on after we are gone,” said Cheryl Gorsuch, Lakeshore Chapter Coordinator. “It will provide our children and grandchildren with a legacy of connecting with nature and preserving the land for future generations.”
And since the Eastern Terminus is either the start or end of a 1,200-mile adventure, it’s fitting that seasoned volunteers worked alongside children with many years ahead of them. Together, the generations revitalized an important stretch of the Ice Age National Scenic Trail. Continue reading →
Some MSC events occur beneath a charmed star like the third and final project of the Iola Ski Hill Segment’s reroute. It started with an outstanding and fun group of people coming together – 101 volunteers donated 2,237 service hours. This number included several volunteers from the June 2023 Crew Leader Training class. Continue reading →
Darrell Beauchamp started his thru-hike on June 18, 2023 from the Western Terminus. Chris “Chicken Fat” LeBlanc began his long-distance hike on July 4, 2023 from the same location.
Chicken Fat, named for the enormous amounts of fried chicken he ate while hiking the Appalachian Trail in 2014, caught up to Beauchamp on July 25. They walked 30 miles together and camped in the Dispersed Camping Area along the Table Bluff Segment. They were talking and laughing like long-time friends when they reached the Ice Age Trail Alliance headquarters.
Taylor County has more blazed Ice Age Trail than any other county in the state. It also has one of the smallest volunteer chapters (High Point Chapter) to support it. It’s for reasons like this, the Ice Age Trail Alliance formed a maintenance crew, comprised of volunteers across the state, to lend extra hands to local volunteers. Continue reading →
We’re highlighting Priscilla Matthews for a Volunteer Spotlight! Priscilla is a Thousand-Miler turned volunteer who wants to help other hikers enjoy the Trail and their hiking adventures.
At the Alliance’s recent IAT-U: Trail Skills event at John Muir Park in Marquette Co., an Alliance staff member chatted with Priscilla about what inspires her, her Thousand-Miler journey, and why she volunteers.
The boyhood land of John Muir, eminent naturalist and conservationist, provided inspiration and a scenic backdrop for Ice Age Trail University (IAT-U) activities on July 12-16, 2023. And the Ice Age National Scenic Trail’s John Muir Park Segment offered an ideal setting for IAT-U’s outdoor classrooms, along with good weather: blue sky, plenty of sunshine, and the occasional breeze. Continue reading →
Hikers are a pretty quiet bunch. No loud gear. No noisy equipment. Most times, people don’t know when hikers are around. And, that’s usually a good thing. Hikers don’t negatively impact their surroundings.
Sometimes, hikers need to get loud. Especially when it comes to voicing their opinion on the trails they use and love—including the Ice Age National Scenic Trail.
To combat the intense 90-plus-degree heat, project hosts – the Rock County Chapter – provided buckets of iced beverages and handed out cooling towels to each participant. Small pop-up tents offered important (but minimal!) shade during lunch breaks. And crews guzzled gallons of Gatorade.
Nonetheless, 51 stalwart volunteers donated 1,181 service hours to build an 856-foot boardwalk during the 5-day MSC project.
Article author: Tricia Baker, guest writer and member of the Waukesha/Milwaukee County Chapter
Thanks to a genuine team effort, the Chaffee Creek Segment in Waushara County just got one-mile longer. Explore this section of Ice Age National Scenic Trail using summer’s extra daylight hours. And, while you saunter, ponder the collaboration that delivered key wins for so many people – including you!
John Kolbe, a resident of Delafield and member of the Waukesha/Milwaukee County Chapter, was named Trail Steward of the Year. The Ice Age Trail Alliance staff bestowed this honor during the Awards and Recognition Ceremony at the Annual Conference and Membership Meeting in Sheboygan in April 2023.
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.
Robert “Bob” Funk, a resident of Whitewater and member of the Waukesha/Milwaukee County Chapter, is the Spirit Stick caretaker for 2023. The Ice Age Trail Alliance staff bestowed this honor during the Awards and Recognition Ceremony at the Annual Conference and Membership Meeting, in Sheboygan, in April 2023.
Bob Funk inspires the entire Ice Age Trail Alliance community with his passion for the Ice Age National Scenic Trail. His long-time dedication has encompassed a wide range of activities: Trailbuilding and maintenance, Crew Leadership, and serving for many years on the Ice Age Trail Alliance’s Board of Directors.
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.
Clouds of Northwoods gnats swarmed volunteers, encouraging a run to Walmart for head nets! But, despite this springtime challenge, 101 volunteers donated 2,773 service hours, making incredible progress toward the October 1st Grand Opening. Continue reading →
A winter of ice and snow did quite the number on the Ice Age Trail in Northern Wisconsin, making the Trail impassable in places from downed trees and brush. It took considerable effort from segment maintainers to even open parts of the Trail this spring. To help with the efforts, a hardy group of 46 volunteers spent 1,035 hours clearing the Trail where progress was measured in feet, not miles. Continue reading →
Interview conducted by: Miranda Murphy, Operations Assistant.
Article written by: Maura Hanley, AmeriCorps VISTA Communications Support Specialist.
Ice Age Trail Alliance volunteers are the living breathing soul of the Ice Age Trail. They build, support, and maintain it. They donate thousands of hours of their time every year to care for the Trail.
One of these dedicated volunteers is Chicago resident Alice Weinert.
A guarantee for April MSC events: Unpredictable weather. Yet, the promise of cloudy, 40-degree days and chilly, rain-soaked nights didn’t deter 73 volunteers who donated 1,995 service hours. They remained undaunted even after waking to half a foot of snow on Sunday morning. Continue reading →
Share your love of the Trail as you drive in your car. Get your Ice Age Trail Alliance license plates, now available to order through the Wisconsin Department of Motor Vehicles. (Wisconsin residents only.)
By Steve Pence, Land Restoration Specialist for the Ice Age Trail Alliance
Prescribed Fire Season: Late March through Mid-May
Fire, a useful tool in land restoration efforts, promotes healthy ecosystems. Prescribed burns – intentionally lit fires under controlled conditions – help create healthy, native-species-filled plant and wildlife habitats, meeting land management goals.
As a certified land trust, the Ice Age Trail Alliance utilizes fire in several southern Wisconsin preserves, benefiting plant and wildlife communities and improving the hiker experience along the Trail. As a result, from late March through mid-May, sections of the Ice Age Trail will be closed for prescribed burns, often for only a few hours.
Along with crocuses and daffodils, spring also heralds “Burn Season”. Fire, a useful tool in land restoration efforts, promotes healthy ecosystems. Prescribed burns – intentionally lit fires under controlled conditions – help create healthy, native-species-filled plant and wildlife habitats.
Each year, in southern Wisconsin, between late March and mid-May, prescribed burns on Alliance-owned preserves and properties owned by the state, county, or private land-owners will close sections of the Ice Age National Scenic. These closures may last for hours, or sometimes for a day or two.
The Alliance will post day-of-event property-specific burn notices for Alliance-owned preserves. However, we cannot always track the prescribed burns happening on properties owned by the state, county, or private-landowners.