A Brilliant Finale for the 2020 Trailbuilding Season

Ice Age Trail Alliance, Ice Age National Scenic Trail, Ringle Segment, Marathon County, Mobile Skills Crew Project, Reconnect
A volunteer crew shovels rotten granite into a pile for distribution along soft tread. Photo by Patrick Gleissner.

Like the witch-hazel flowers that dazzle in autumn as its leaves fall to the ground, the 2020 Reconnect Mobile Skills Crew Trailbuilding Season had a final flourish before settling in for winter. We all needed a bright spot this year, and Mother Nature provided plenty of brilliance during the Ringle Mobile Skills Crew (MSC) event. The weather, the leaves, the volunteers were perfect.

It was a much-needed respite from the unsettled “real” world. Bad news only came when your name was called to help move rotten granite.

Ice Age Trail Alliance, Ice Age National Scenic Trail, Ringle Segment MSC, Reconnect, Mobile Skills Crew, Stone Staircase, Ringle Segment, Marathon County
Volunteer crew leaders, Ann Helsley and David Carew, perch on the stone staircase their crews helped build. Photo by Dave Caliebe.
Ice age Trail Alliance, Ice Age National Scenic Trail, Ice Age Trail, Ringle Segment, Marathon County, Mobile Skills Crew, Reconnect 2020
A sustainably built section of tread and retaining wall greet hikers along the newly opened section of the Ringle Segment. Photo by Dave Caliebe.

Thank You Volunteers!

Thanks to the 71 volunteers (never more than 50 a day) who spent 1,754 hours moving rocks, hauling rotten granite, painting blazes, and crafting tread, the full three-mile section of Ice Age Trail is open between Poplar Lane and Hoot Owl Drive.

It took seven MSC events, tons of rotten granite, thousands of buckets of duff, and enormous hard work over three years to accomplish this.

Ice Age Trail Alliance, Ice Age National Scenic Trail, Ringle Segment, Marathon County, Mobile Skills Crew event, Reconnect initiative, Stormy Kromer masks
Thanks to Stormy Kromer, our volunteers looked on-trend and stayed safe during the seven-day Mobile Skills Crew event. Photo by Dave Caliebe.

A special THANK YOU to the following:

  • Rick and Karla Larson for providing firewood and a woodshop for cutting a few boards.
  • The Central Moraine Chapter for incredible help before and during the event and their dedication through seven MSC events!
  • Gail Piotrowski and Patty Mishkar for their cheerful diligence as greeters every morning of the project.
  • Our experienced volunteer crew leaders for their stellar leadership during the seven-day project: Dave Ditlefsen, David Carew, Jerry Pfeiffer, Anne Helsley, Jennifer Stehley, Gail Piotrowski, Chuck Schwartz, Mic Pelech, Mark Struve, Fred Nash, Theresa Werner, and Allan Henn.
  • Marathon County Solid Waste Department for providing a base camp location.
  • Dave “Monty” Manteufel for use of his tractor.
  • Don Patterson for access and parking through his property.
  • Directors Rob Malewicki and Nancy Peterson for getting dirty.
  • IATA staff Luke, Mike, Lysianne, and Elena for shepherding the Duluth Trading Company folks during the event.
  • The Duluth Trading Company’s (DTC) Creative Department team for being so fun to work with. They captured the essence of our volunteer efforts through photography and by talking with our volunteers. They are excited to support the Alliance and bring greater awareness to what we do through their spring catalog pages.
  • Stormy Kromer for helping keep our volunteers safe with the on-trend checkered masks!
  • The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (DNR) for awarding us a State Stewardship Friends Grant.

Photo credits: Patrick Gleissner and Dave Caliebe photographed volunteers at the event. Their photos are featured in the MSC photo album.

Ice Age Trail Alliance, Ice Age National Scenic Trail, Ringle Segment, Marathon County, Mobile Skills Crew
After a day's work, the fun begins as volunteers gamely assume an "album cover" pose. Photo by Dave Caliebe.

Ringle Segment MSC Event Overview

71 Volunteers

1,754 Volunteer Hours

1.1-Mile Section

1 Elegant Stone Staircase

Opened a 3-Mile Section of the Reimagined Ringle Segment

Numerous Retaining Walls

Next up:

We’re sneaking in a wildcard event to complete the 2020 Trailbuilding Season. We’ll head to Bohn Lake in Waushara County, October 23 and 24 to upgrade a section of Ice Age Trail we built last year. It has since flooded, so we’re extending and raising the boardwalk, shifting tread upslope, and removing encroaching brush in a prairie. Attendance is capped at 15 each day.

Email Dave Caliebe at [email protected] if you are interested.

Ice Age Trail, Ice Age National Scenic Trail, Reconnect, Trail Improvement Days

The Ringle Segment Mobile Skills Crew project was made possible by generous funding from the Dudley Foundation which supports “community development activities and programs that enrich the lives of people residing in the City of Wausau, Marathon County and the State of Wisconsin” and through funding from the WI DNR Knowles-Nelson Stewardship Grant.

Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources, WI DNR, DNR

Generous Sponsors of the 2020 Mobile Skills Crew Trailbuilding Season include:

Sitka Salmon Shares is offering all Ice Age Trail enthusiasts and trailbuilders a $25.00 discount on your purchase of a salmon or seafood share. They’ll donate $25.00 to our award-winning Mobile Skills Crew program.


NPF, National Park Foundation

Jones Dairy Farm Sitka Salmon Shares, Sitka Salmon