Over three official days (and one unofficial), 31 volunteers donated 615 hours to build four structures totaling 450 feet. Ahead of the project, efforts by the Waukesha/Milwaukee County Chapter generated momentum with pre-built boardwalk frames. The on-site crews, composed predominately of chapter members, maintained the pace with their skillful construction. They also remained undeterred by the fickle weather, which alternated between snow squalls and spring sunshine. Continue reading →
For the fifth year running, the Ice Age Trail Alliance and the US Fish & Wildlife Service (USFWS) came together with volunteers to continue restoration efforts on the Gibraltar Rock Segment. Under exhaustive conditions, crews worked to remove the invading juniper forest from the slopes of the Steenbock Preserve. Thanks to your efforts, biodiversity will be increased and nearly three acres of historic prairie can begin to heal and reclaim the landscape.
In an especially trying year, we learned how valuable the work we perform is as countless people discovered adventure near home. Parking lots filled and overflowed. Quiet, little known segments awoke with the footsteps and chatter of newly initiated hikers.
In May, after an unsettling absence, volunteers reconnected with the Ice Age Trail. Your skills and efforts were needed – and appreciated – more than ever. With our productive start to the year in the rearview mirror, we regrouped and accomplished quite a bit – and did it safely. Thank you for everything you did this year, and in the previous decades, to create one of the Midwest’s best hiking trails.
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. Continue reading →
To say the least, it’s been a weird year. With plans everchanging, we hold on to the normal activities – the ones we can still do – to anchor our lives. A constant on the Mobile Skills Crew event (MSC) calendar since 2017, trailbuilding along the Ringle Segment provides familiarity: the base camp setting, the scenery, the type of work. It’s fitting, in this discombobulated year, that we end with an old friend.
Exceeding expectations is easy when ideal weather and the perfect group of volunteers align, as they did for the Washington County Mobile Skills Crew event. This combination generated a momentum that blew ahead of the pre-set schedule.
Each task was sizeable but proved no challenge for the crews. Veteran trailbuilders brought new volunteers up to speed under their careful tutelage. A strong team formed to knock out the work, while wearing masks and following COVID-19 safety protocols.
The final product, a 269-foot-long boardwalk, includes a bump-out designed as a wheel-chair passing zone and look-out platform for hikers wishing to slow down and listen to the springtime chorus of frogs.
For the fourth year running, we plan to torch eastern red cedar and other undesirable woody plants to restore a wonderful remnant prairie along the Gibraltar Rock Segment of the Ice Age National Scenic Trail.
Already, many pockets of native prairie species are thriving where trees have been removed and seeds are exposed to sunlight. With every push to restore native prairie we also push to revitalize the beautiful views of Wisconsin’s unique topography and waterways.
This special Leap Day event is a twice-in-a-decade type of experience, don’t miss out! Continue reading →
The 2019 Mobile Skills Crew season came to-a-close with not one, but TWO, curtain calls! Crews fanned out between two project areas to stage the last act in the “Building for the 23rd Century” tour. Continue reading →
It’s wildcard season with not one, but two wildcards! The main event will take place in Marathon County to continue work on the Ringle Segment. A second, smaller event will take place in Langlade County along the Summit Moraine Segment (formerly Old Railroad) to continue storm damage cleanup.
Help us end the “Building for the 23rd Century” tour on a high note by signing up for one (or both) of the events! Please register by Sunday, October 13th.
Two volunteers work on securing deck boards for the 166-foot-long boardwalk across Bohn Lake. Photo by Dave Caliebe.
With a chain of lakes as a result of a tunnel channel and deep kettles among the oaks and pines, it’s easy to surround yourself with spectacular glacial landscapes when hiking the Ice Age Trail in Waushara County.
Last week, you chipped in to help the Trail grow a little bit longer and a lot more sustainable. Boardwalk construction, stonework, tread construction, and trail maintenance all whirled together to create a project that improved overall access and visibility to various segments throughout the county.
Enjoy the final fall blooms of native prairie plants as you build Ice Age Trail in Waushara County. Photo by Tim Malzhan.
The vision which guided the purchase of 235 acres surrounding Bohn Lake in 2004 – to create a focal point for the interpretation of a glacial tunnel channel – continues to unfold this month in Waushara County as we build new and improve on existing sections of the Ice Age National Scenic Trail.
Did you know? Bohn Lake is part of a 14-mile-long glacial tunnel channel, created by a meltwater river flowing beneath glacial ice whose outlet was where the Village of Hancock stands today. The Trail weaves in and out of this tunnel channel, opening for interpretation the subglacial flow of water which carved the landscape.
Is this your first trailbuilding experience?We’re offering a dedicated, guaranteed hands-on “Trail Building Basics” class for first-time volunteers
A volunteer crew who embodies persistence, skill, and ingenuity, smiles despite the rain and mud. Photo by Tim Malzhan.
Nothing comes easily when building new Ice Age Trail in Marathon County. Through persistence, skill, and ingenuity, volunteers overcame all challenges – boulders birthing boulders, remote access to work areas, rain and physical constraints – in what is destined to be a spectacular interpretation of Wisconsin’s glacial landscape. Continue reading →
The green and blue of July are highlighted along the Emmons Creek Segment of the Ice Age Trail. (Photo by Cameron Gillie)
June is gone with the wind, and with the solstice behind us summer in Wisconsin is in full swing. From St. Croix Falls to Potawatomi State Park, wildflowers are in bloom and green blankets the glaciated landscapes along the Ice Age National Scenic Trail. July is a time for growing and cultivating, only to reap what we’ve sowed in weeks to come.
You’re invited to participate in Ice Age Trail University, a four-day educational event (July 18 – 21) filled with knowledge, inspiration, and solutions to challenges we face on the Trail.
Grow and cultivate new skills to carry with you and share with others for the rest of your seasons on the Ice Age Trail. Community, dedication, and hands on experience is what keeps our shared vision of the Ice Age National Scenic vision alive and well.
Join us at IAT-U to learn from seasoned and committed volunteers and staff what makes the Ice Age Trail what it is – and what it can be. Continue reading →
A volunteer helps build a brand new portion of the Ice Age Trail on the Cross Plains Ice Age Interpretive Site Thursday on the second day of the five-day Mobile Skills Crew event. (Photo by Cameron Gillie-www.aroundwisco.com)
165 volunteers over the course of 3,751 hours helped create audacious, sustainable, inspiring results!
The physical highlights – sandstone outcrops, windswept views for miles, a glacial story carved in stone, timber retaining walls, a 48-ft Bridge, two elevated boardwalks, and thousands of feet of artfully crafted trail wending harmoniously with and across the landscape – will surely be appreciated for generations to come.
Less apparent are the quiet keys to success; your dedication, your selfless teamwork, and the way in which you cheerfully stuck with what must have felt, at times, like thankless, but no less important, tasks.
Thank you! We are grateful for all you did to create a masterful new section of the Ice Age National Scenic Trail!
As we head into the July 4th weekend, there is much to celebrate! Bring your friends and family out to this new section of Trail and show them what a force for good and a collaborative spirit can create!
Download a Project Outcomes map to get a better sense of where the progress is being made for this multi-year project.
A volunteer trailbuilding crew uses their “trail eyes” to assess progress on a new section of tread. Photo by Dave Caliebe.
Had the World Trails Network (WTN) existed when Ray Zillmer traveled the state talking with farmers, politicians and the movers and shakers of the day about his vision to create a “Glacial National Park” in Wisconsin, maybe Ray would have borrowed these lines from the WTN Trail Manifesto: “trail is our story…our answers lie not at the end but on the way…every trail makes a life.”
A long-awaited section of new Ice Age Trail is ready to open in Dane County. We just need you! Join us and be part of our trail story. Continue reading →
One of the nine boardwalks constructed along the newly opened 1.4 miles of Ice Age National Scenic Trail. Photo by Gail Piotrowski.
For more than 40 years, the Ice Age National Scenic Trail passed through a parcel of private land, squeezing between a shed and a house on the Ringle Segment. Thanks to your help, the Trail is now open; wending through a more scenic setting, bypassing private property, and is permanently protected.
Thanks to the 172 volunteers who contributed 3,124 hours helping to open 1.4 miles of new Trail that includes 9 new boardwalks totaling 514 feet, dozens of painted blazes, well-crafted tread, and durable stonework tossed in for good measure.
Download a Project Outcomes map to get a better sense of where the progress is being made for this multi-year project.
Saturday afternoon, 4 p.m.: Muscles sore after two days of hauling brush and wielding saws. Pots and pans dirtied from cooking two days’ worth of chili. Leaving the woods, you looked back to see a broad swath, 50-to 100-feet wide, newly cleared of buckthorn, slippery elm, and widow makers; of white and red oak freed of encroaching invaders; and, of yellow pin flags, curving through the woods, awaiting your return.
Thank you for being who you are. Thank you for your generous spirit, your passion, your faith in community and your willingness to embrace the power of teamwork one step, one kerf, one pin flag at a time. Continue reading →
The rock work crew proudly gathers at the culmination of their efforts. Photo by Alaina Dedo.
The Mobile Skills Crew 2018 (MSC) season finale was a thundering conclusion to a successful season of Ice Age National Scenic Trail development, construction, and stewardship. The first-ever MSC event in Langlade County generated the most project hours in the history of all IATA events, and the most miles of new Trail opened in one fell swoop since such data has been reliably tracked. Continue reading →
Morning mist rises on one of the many lakes along the re-imagined Old Railroad Segment. Photo by Dave Caliebe.
A grand time of year to be in the north woods is when the sugar maple, oak, and aspen light up in fall colors and, at long last, the mosquitoes, gnats, and flies have had their final say for the season.
Beginning Tuesday,October 9th and continuing through Sunday, October 14th, please join us for the season-finale of the 2018 Mobile Skills Crew “Light the Candles” tour and help create a new, nearly 10-mile long, reroute of Ice Age Trail in Langlade County.
This event is all-hands-on-deck and a HUGE opportunity to elevate the hiker experience in the north woods. Continue reading →