Construct 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
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 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 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
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!
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
Keeping 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
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
Ice 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
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
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
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
National Trails Day is Saturday, June 3rd and there is plenty to celebrate along the Ice Age National Scenic Trail.
Photo by Dave Caliebe
Hikes for Kids of All Ages
Guided hikes inspire, energize and rejuvenate!
Chippewa County, Chippewa Moraine Segment: Celebrate National Trail Day (Chippewa Moraine Chapter)
It’s hard to find a more scenic trail with it spectacular overlooks, mature forest, and the long meander along the shore of Picnic Lake, the highlights of this recently rebuilt and rerouted section.
Portage County, Emmons Creek Segment: Wildflower Hike (Portage County Chapter)
The Emmons Creek Segment highlights the charming Emmons Creek State Fishery Area and oak woodland and savanna areas. Continue reading
Photo by Dave Caliebe
The Knowles-Nelson Stewardship Program is at risk. It is the number one source of funding for land purchases that protect and expand the Ice Age Trail. Funding from this program, in 2016, extended the Trail in the Northern Kettle Moraine State Forest in Sheboygan County, as well as, in the Straight Lake State Park in Polk County.
Please call your representatives TODAY. Assembly Bill 338 (AB338) has been introduced and it could be voted on any day now. Please urge your Assembly representative not to vote for AB338.
Talking Points for Your Call: Continue reading
Photo by Dave Caliebe
GET OUT: Hikes
Boost your happiness; immerse yourself in a healthy dose of nature (vitamin Green!).
Dane County Chapter, Cross Plains Segment: Birding Hike
Early spring mornings are the time to see and hear migrating and newly-arrived birds of the woodlands, savanna and prairie habitats along the loop in the highlands above Cross Plains. Bring binoculars; hike leader will help identify avian friends! Continue reading
“The newly re-routed Ice Age Trail segment is designed to be an attractive walk. This initial 1.5 miles of trail will meander across rolling terrain filled with big oaks. These old trees create a dramatic over-story and help highlight impressive glacial features like large erratics and boulder fields,” stated Dave Caliebe, Trail Program Specialist. Photo by Tim Malzhan
Life’s transformative events might stew and brew for years until one day…poof; we turn around and find our very being has expanded in ways we could barely imagine.
The reimagining of the Ringle Segment is one such transformative event for the Ice Age Trail. Here, spring peepers chorus, wolves roam, trillium bloom, and rock, as all farmers, geologists, and trail builders know, begets rock.
For those who embrace bringing landscape stories to life, Ringle is a legacy event. Continue reading
Brand new trail under construction on the Walla Hi Segment. Photo by Brad Crary
Whew! That’s one way to kick off the trailbuilding season. 2 days, 3 events, 146 volunteers, and 1,994 hours dedicated to enhancing the Ice Age National Scenic Trail.
Thank you to everyone who came out for the first Soul Shakedown of the year!
Ground work has been laid for ongoing tread construction on the Walla Hi Segment. Photo by Brad Crary
Students from the Medford School District eagerly engaged in trailbuilding. Photo by Tracy Sewlund
Prestigious United States Forest Service Eastern Region Honor Award for Volunteerism and Service bestowed on the Ice Age Trail Alliance
The United States Forest Service recently recognized the Ice Age Trail Alliance’s commitment to creating and delivering an outstanding volunteer experience as part of its Mobile Skills Crew (MSC) program.
The Ice Age Trail Alliance forges strong relationships with a wide-range of partners as a means to engaging a diverse population with the vision of creating, maintaining and protecting a thousand-mile footpath through Wisconsin. A popular mantra of the Alliance, “Trailbuilding is people building”, ensures quality skill-building and service-learning components go hand-in-hand with the trail work that must be accomplished during an MSC event.
The dedication to these ideals were evidenced in the Ice Age National Scenic Trail Infrastructure Overhaul project. This collaborative, multi-year effort spanning 2012 – 2016, addressed infrastructure upgrades to popular segments of the Ice Age National Scenic Trail where it traverses the Chequamagon National Forest. Continue reading