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

Beware of Icy Hiking Conditions!

Ice Age National Scenic Trail, Ice Age Trail Alliance, Icy Winter Hiking

Icy trail conditions like these along the popular Straight Lake Segment of the Ice Age National Scenic Trail call for winter traction devices! Photo by Dave Caliebe.

Don’t put summer fun in jeopardy by taking an otherwise preventable fall on an icy trail.

Many favorite, well-loved, and well-used segments of the Ice Age National Scenic Trail become extremely icy during the late winter and early spring.

Snowy trails, packed down by many feet, turn to ice and become even more dangerous as balmy daytime temperatures lead to thawing and evening temperatures dip back into freezing range.

To be prepared for potentially hazardous hiking, the use of ice cleats and hiking poles (with rubber tip removed) is strongly recommended for safe spring hiking (which in some areas extends well into “Muddy March” and even mid-April). Continue reading

Crew Leadership and Skills Training is Now Open!

Ice Age Trail Alliance, Ice Age National Scenic Trail, Crew Leadership Training, Mobile Skills Crew Season 2018

Crew Leaders actively participate and provide hands-on training while leading their crews.     Photos by Cameron Gillie of ThePinholething.com

Applications are being accepted!

How do you engage 1,200 volunteers and steadily raise the bar of an award-winning trail program? With terrific volunteer leadership!

Attendance at this training requires a short application which can be found here. Applications are due by March 31 and will be reviewed shortly thereafter, with admittance confirmation issued by April 7. (Completed applications should be emailed to Tim Malzhan, Director of Trail Operations.) Continue reading

Backpacking Workshop Series

A weekend backpacker pauses to catch his breath and take in the views along the IAT. Photo by Cameron Gillie.

Deepen your backpacking know-how with plenty of advice from backpacking experts. If you’re carefully considering a thru-hike on the Ice Age Trail as your next big adventure, or if you’re dreaming and scheming about how to section-hike the Trail in weekend jaunts, then these sessions are for you!

Join us on Saturday, April 14th at the Blue Harbor Resort in beautiful Sheboygan!

10:00 a.m. – 11:00 a.m. Trip Planning, Logistics, and Navigation.
Do you wonder how, exactly, to start planning your thousand-mile journey? If you feel a little confused, you’re not alone. The good news is there is a wealth of resources and IATA staff is eager to demystify them. You’ll learn the ins and outs of the interactive map including Trail conditions, as well as, the helpful details embedded in the Mammoth Tracks app. You’ll get the inside scoop about how to connect with chapter leaders; how to use the Thousand-Miler spreadsheet; the nitty-gritty of resupply, shuttles, and trail angels; and how to use social media to network with other hikers. Continue reading

Interactive Hiker Resource Map

Clicking on a feature in the map will bring up more information, such as the name and length of an IAT segment.

The NEW interactive Hiker Resource Map shows all official Ice Age National Scenic Trail segments and (unsigned) connecting routes, and additional features such as camping, parking, water, ColdCache sites, and Ice Age Trail Communities.  The map works on computers and mobile devices.

We like how intuitive it is. Hover over an icon to gain more information. Click on the options offered on the toolbar (see above example) to expand the information available. Continue reading

First Day Hikes on the IAT

Snow on thistles. Verona Segment, Dane County. Photo by T. Knaack

The crunch of snow underfoot breaks the silence of a stark, white winter landscape. Cold air enters lungs and puffs of warm breath rise like smoke. A First Day Hike on the Ice Age National Scenic Trail is a good way to test your resolve to get outside in the New Year.

Blue Spring Lake Segment, Walworth County. Photo by Chris Munz.

The good news is you can ease into your resolutions by joining like-minded folks who are also choosing to celebrate a new day and a new start with a blood-pumping, welcome-to-2018-hike!

Three First Day Hikes Near You:

Gibraltar Rock Segment, Columbia County, hosted by the Lodi Valley Chapter

Pike Lake Segment, Washington County, hosted by the Washington/Ozaukee County Chapter

Lapham Peak Segment, Waukesha County, hosted by the Waukesha/Milwaukee County Chapter

There are 17 First Day Hikes hosted by Wisconsin State Parks.

First Day Hikes is an initiative begun by America’s State Parks as an effort to get more people outdoors and enjoying their state land for exercise and recreation.

Be LUCKY – Saturday, February 3, 2018

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

Be Lucky. You’ll feel like the luckiest woman on earth as you snowshoe through a blanket of sparkling snow (fingers crossed!) along the Straight Lake Segment in Polk County. Photo by Cheryl Whitman.

Be Community. Warm your heart and bring your tribe. Come ready to meet new friends and deepen friendship with those you’ve known a long time. Winter hiking keeps you connected to the simple things in life: health and vigor; home and tribe.

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

Be Curious. Local botanist and Ice Age Trail enthusiast, Barbara Delaney, will highlight the intricacies of winter ecology. Discover more about the world below the layer of snow. Photo by Rachel Roberts.

Be Delighted. You’ll be enchanted by the gregarious beauty old-growth oak trees with their gnarled and elegant limbs stretched wide, welcoming. The Straight Lake State Park is an absolute Wisconsin gem, you won’t want to miss seeing it in winter, too!

Ice Age Trail Alliance, Ice Age National Scenic Trail, Force of Nature, Trailtessa, Be Lucky, REI Corporate partner

Be Awed. You’ll appreciate the hush of frozen Straight Lake. You’ll marvel at the inviting curve of a boardwalk as it winds through the woods. Photo by Rachel Roberts.

Be Resilient. A winter’s day hike encourages health and resilience as you take care of your body with fresh-air time outdoors, even during the cold days of the year.

Ice Age Trail Alliance, Ice Age National Scenic Trail, Be Lucky, Force of Nature, Trailtessa, REI corporate partner

Be Inspired. A guided hike (snowshoes if weather accommodates) will be led by Stephanie Lundeen, owner of Café Wren, and members of the Indianhead Chapter of the Ice Age Trail Alliance

Be Lucky Schedule:

Saturday, February 3, 2018, Polk County, Straight Lake Segment

10:00 a.m. Meet at the Straight Lake State Park parking lot at 120th St./270th Ave. (adjacent Rainbow Lake).

10:15 a.m. Board bus to the start of the hike (280th Ave.) for a 2-mile hike. (The opportunity to extend this distance exists at the end of the hike.) Hike at a leisurely pace and enjoy the wisdom of a local botanist, Barbara Delaney.

11:30 a.m. Arrive back to parking lot at Rainbow Lake. (You may extend your hike at this point.) Enjoy a bonfire, warm yourself from your heart to your toes with Swedish Glogg, a strong mulled wine best enjoyed outdoors, and refuel with homemade soup and bread.

1:00 p.m. Depart.

Snowshoes provided for anyone who needs a pair. The hike will happen with or without sufficient snow for snowshoeing.

Limit: 40 women ages 15 and above.

Investment: $10.00 non-refundable fee

Resources:

Straight Lake State Park, 2017-2019 Ice Age Trail Guidebook description

Straight Lake State Park, 2017-2019 Ice Age Trail Atlas Map

We APPRECIATE the support of our GENEROUS sponsor for this Be LUCKY event – Thank You!

Ice Age Trail Alliance, Ice Age National Scenic Trail, REI Co-Op, Corporate Partners, Shop local

Ice Age Trail, Ice Age National Scenic Trail, Trailtessa, REI corporate partner

Outdoor co-op REI today launched a comprehensive effort to advance gender equity in the outdoors, encouraging millions of its members to embrace the outdoors as “the world’s largest level playing field.

A Celebration of Life!

Ice Age Trail Alliance, Ice Age National Scenic Trail, Trail Adventures, Trail Journals, Thousand-Milers, Thru-Hikers

Jane and David Le Count stopped by the Ice Age Trail Alliance headquarters to turn in their Thousand-Miler application and celebrate the completion of their amazing adventure. Photo by Lysianne Unruh.

It’s a dark 3:30 a.m., and we are heading down the road toward a designated Ice Age Trail (IAT) segment, one of 37 such trips. For four-plus hours, filling our senses with staticky radio noise, speeding traffic, and rushing sights and sounds. Later, ten minutes into the woods, we encounter another world entirely, one of blissful natural marvels, soft hums and twitters, and being on nature’s relaxed timeline. Continue reading

A Force of Nature Leads the Way

Ice Age Trail Alliance, Ice Age National Scenic Trail, A Force of Nature, REI Corporate Partner, Pat Witkowski

A Force of Nature: Pat Witkowski. Photo by Joanne Ellarson.

In August I ran 302 miles. At least half of those miles were on trails, many of them on the Ice Age National Scenic Trail. Over the 45 hours that I spent on my feet covering ground, strengthening my body and conditioning my mind, my thoughts often wandered toward the very concept of trails. Carved out of the forest and prairies, trails are not static, one-time projects. They are living, breathing entities needing to be maintained and loved, long after they are created. Continue reading

Be EMPOWERED – Saturday, March 10, 2018

Ice Age Trail Alliance, Ice Age National Scenic Trail, Be Empowered, REI corporate partner

Be Adventurous. Pick up a set of clippers and wrestle buckthorn to the ground. Here, Jo – one of the most enthusiastic volunteers you’ll ever meet – drills holes to assemble a boardwalk. Photo by David Lonsdorf.

Be Giving. Give back to Mother Nature who nurtures you. We’ll arm you with handsaws and clippers for removing invasive buckthorn. Permanent protection of the Ice Age Trail also involves the responsible management of Alliance owned land. There is a season for everything and winter is a great time to tackle invasive species and burn piles of brush.

Ice Age Trail Alliance, Ice Age National Scenic Trail, Be Empowered, Trailtessa, Force of Nature, REI corporate partner

Be Brave. Step out on a bright, cold winter’s day. Truth – confronting days forge badassery. Winter shimmers in hillside hike up to the Steenbock Preserve. Photo by Lysianne Unruh.

Be Crucial. Help unveil the beauty of the Steenbock Preserve. Volunteers are faithfully restoring the land to a mix of oak and prairie savanna. Mother Nature won’t disappoint. Here, the Trail winds its way up, over 200 feet above Lake Wisconsin, and provides majestic views of the lower Wisconsin Riverway and beyond to the Baraboo range.

Ice Age National Scenic Trail, Ice Age Trail Alliance, Be Empowered, Trailtessa, Force of Nature, REI corporate partner

Winter bonfires burn brush collected during summer season Trail stewardship days. Photo by Lysianne Unruh.

We promise bonfires and you’ll work side-by-side with one of the most dedicated Trail enthusiasts you’ll ever meet, chainsaw certified, Joanne Ellarson and a formidable crew of female volunteers from the Dane County Chapter and the Lodi Valley Chapter.

Be EMPOWERED Event Details:

10:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m. (Arrive by 9:45 a.m. for signing in and getting equipment registered to you. You’ll hike in as a group to the work site.)

No experience is necessary and there’s a role for volunteers of all ages and abilities…bring the family! Training is provided by certified volunteer crew leaders.

Your participation is welcome for any amount of time you can give. Come for some portion or stay all day, whatever suits you best.

Lunch provided on site. Expect a baked potato bar and veggie/vegan/GF chili.

Park at Merrimac Ferry and hike up to Steenbock Preserve.

Dress warmly and in layers. Even in winter, trail stewardship efforts can have you breaking a sweat.

NOTE: The Gibraltar Rock Segment for the Be EMPOWERED event is located in COLUMBIA COUNTY.

Limit: 50 women ages 14 and above.

Resources:
Gibraltar Rock Segment description from 2017-2019 Guidebook [PDF]
Gibraltar Rock Segment map from 2017-2019 Atlas [PDF]

Our GENEROUS sponsors for this Be EMPOWERED event – Thank You!

Ice Age Trail Alliance, Ice Age National Scenic Trail, REI Co-Op, Corporate Partners, Shop local

 

A Match Made in…Wisconsin

Seek Dry Goods founders Larry & Amanda McMahon with Kingsley on the Ice Age Trail

Seek Dry Goods and the Ice Age Trail Alliance are proud to announce an official three-year partnership. Beginning in Spring 2018, Seek Dry Goods will design and produce clothing and accessories for the Ice Age Trail Alliance, donating a portion of all proceeds directly back to support the Trail.  The collaborative products will celebrate both the history and character of the iconic 1,000+ mile Ice Age Trail.  “We couldn’t be more excited about this partnership” said Seek Dry Goods Co-Founder Larry McMahon “Both of our organizations are based right here in Wisconsin, share a passion for the outdoors and are committed to protecting our public lands for future generations to enjoy.” In addition to collaborative products, Seek Dry Goods will attend and support several Ice Age Trail Alliance events throughout the year, from trail maintenance to the Alliance’s annual conference. “The Ice Age Trail is built through partnerships. As a corporate sponsor, Seek Dry Goods is helping advance the Trail and the Alliance. We couldn’t be happier to have a Wisconsin company, the quality of Seek Dry Goods, supporting our work.” shared Luke Kloberdanz, IATA Director of Philanthropy. “We are regulars on the trail, so it’s a great feeling to be able to give back to something that has given so much to us (and our dog, Kingsley),” said Seek Dry Goods Co-Founder Amanda McMahon.

Sign up for our mailing list at www.seekdrygoods.com or follow @seekdrygoods on Instagram and Facebook to be the first to know when our collaborative products become available and where you can find them!

About the Ice Age Trail 

Sculpted by retreating glacial ice, The Ice Age National Scenic Trail is a 1,000-mile footpath that features an amazingly diverse landscape through the heart of Wisconsin. More than 1 million people use this trail every year as they hike, ski, snowshoe and backpack along the route.

The Ice Age Trail is one of 11 recognized National Scenic Trails, which is supported and maintained by the Ice Age Trail Alliance, and is funded through a cadre of supporters including foundations, corporations and governmental partners. The Alliance has attracted a vibrant community of over 2,700 volunteers across the state, who volunteer their time and resources to improve and maintain the trail network.

About Seek Dry Goods

Seek Dry Goods is a Wisconsin-based outdoor lifestyle brand, committed to developing responsibly sourced clothing and accessories.  Partnering with artists from around the world, who share a passion for the outdoors, Seek Dry Goods creates authentic and inspiring outdoor adventure designs.

The name Seek was derived from the company’s core customer, known as “Seekers.”  A Seeker is someone who is passionate and obsessive about the outdoors.  Seekers are never satisfied and are always seeking the next adventure.

Holiday Shopping Supports the Trail!

Ice Age National Scenic Trail, Ice Age Trail Alliance, Corporate Parnters, shop local Black Friday. Small Business Saturday. Cyber Monday.

The days following Thanksgiving kick off a spree of themed days aimed at encouraging you to buy, buy, buy during the holiday season.

You’ll be pleased to know, your holiday spending can support the Ice Age Trail whether you shop at brick and mortar stores or with a click of your mouse. Continue reading

Motorized Vehicles on the Ice Age Trail?

If you’re NOT a fan of this idea then help the Wisconsin DNR shape their plans!

Otherwise, Ice Age Trail users, like you, will frequently encounter bikes, ATVs and other less-compatible forms of recreation while out and about in your favorite outdoor natural area, park, or trail.

Though there are plenty of places where these motorized uses may occur on state lands, certain properties should be held for quiet recreation, such as trail hiking. Continue reading