Build Trail Where a Meltwater River Flowed!

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

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Persistence, Skill, and Ingenuity!

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

Help Open Two Miles of Trail

A boardwalk built during a previous (Act II) Mobile Skills Crew project along the Ringle Segment. Photo by Dave Caliebe.

Another long-awaited section of new Ice Age Trail will be open for hikers this summer!

The stage has been set for Act III. All we need is you. Join us in our quest to open two additional miles of Ice Age Trail along the Ringle Segment!

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Cultivate New Skills at IAT-U

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

Trailbuilding Results: Audacious. Sustainable. Inspiring.

Ice Age Trail Alliance, Ice Age National Scenic Trail, Ice Age Interpretive Site

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.

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The Story Continues…

Ice Age Trail Alliance, Ice Age National Scenic Trail, Ice Age Interpretive Site, Mobile Skills Crew event,

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

9 Boardwalks and 1.4 Miles of New Trail!

Ice Age Trail Alliance, Ice Age National Scenic Trail, Ringle Segment, Marathon County, Mobile Skills Crew event, Trailbuilding

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.

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Burning Brush Prepares for New Trail

Ice Age Trail Alliance, Ice Age National Scenic Trail, Mobile Skills Crew, Interpretive Site, Dane County, MSC

Photo by Rachel Roberts.

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

Spectacular MSC Season Finale

Ice Age Trail Alliance, Ice Age National Scenic Trail, Langlade County MSC, Mobile Skills Crew event 2018

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

Old Railroad Segment: North woods extravaganza!

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

Mud, Rain, and Slab Hill

Ice Age Trail Alliance, Ice Age National Scenic Trail, Mobile Skills Crew Project, Walla Hi SegmentDespite rain and challenging conditions, our third MSC event in 15 months at Walla Hi County Park was a great success. Hardy volunteers, 79 in total, helped create and open for business a new, signature section of the Ice Age National Scenic Trail.

Over the course of three and a half days and 1,908 volunteer hours, a little over a half-mile of spectacular new trail, one that beguiles the imagination, emerged from within a 15-foot wide trail easement. Slab Hill – the steep pitch that rises 47% over 80 linear feet – will forever be a focal point for trail users. Telling of the skill and dedication of the builders are found in the subtleties – trail drainage dips, well-crafted tread, thoughtful trail signage, and the scores of invasive plants eradicated.  Continue reading

Cross Plains Will Soon Host a New Segment of Ice Age Trail

Ice Age Trail Alliance, Ice Age National Scenic Trail, Cross Plains Conservancy, Mobile Skills Crew event

Sandstone rock outcroppings will soon be given their due. Corridor clearing for new Ice Age Trail will highlight these lovely landscape features. Photo by Dave Caliebe.

Trailbuilding Event & Celebration
Cross Plains Segment
August 8 – 12, 2018
Dane County
Project Area Map [PDF]

Light the Candles for a mile of NEW Ice Age Trail, the 50th anniversary of the National Trails System Act, and the 60th birthday of the Ice Age Trail Alliance!!!

It’s not often we get to rub shoulders with the folks who will benefit most directly from our efforts. Yet, trailbuilding in collaboration with a Trail Community affords us this opportunity. Week-long, we’ll gather with residents of the Village of Cross Plains, sustainable farming practitioners, outdoor retailers, elected officials and other trail enthusiasts from near and far to celebrate the splendor and diversity of Wisconsin, the Ice Age Trail, and the soul shaking experience of all stripes of people of all ages and all walks of life coming together over the span of 60 years to make real a shared vision for long distance hiking, conservation, and community. 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

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

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

Collaboration Yields New Ice Age Trail

Ice Age National Scenic Trail, Ice Age Trail Alliance, Bloomer High School Senior Class

The Bloomer High School Senior class spent a day giving back to their community through their trailbuilding efforts. Photo by Dave Caliebe.

Entire tomes of poetry have been written about picturesque autumn days such as the ones enjoyed at last week’s Mobile Skills Crew event. But the heart of the story lies in the collaboration the Ice Age National Scenic Trail enables. Continue reading

The Northwoods Are Calling: Crisp air, colorful trees, and trailbuilding!

Ice Age National Scenic Trail, Ice Age Trail Alliance, Mobile Skills Crew, MSC Mammoth

Spring arrived early enabling a hardy group of volunteers to clear corridor and grub out stumps in anticipation of October’s MSC event. Photo by Dave Caliebe.

The trees of the Northwoods are beginning to turn red and gold and, as we say good-bye to summer, a new beginning lies ahead for the Firth Lake Segment of the Ice Age National Scenic Trail.

Due to the expansion of an All-Terrain Vehicle trail in the Chippewa County Forest, to ensure a non-motorized experience for users of the Ice Age Trail, we are building a newly designed 1.7 miles of improved Ice Age Trail. Change can be a good thing. Continue reading

348 Feet of Boardwalk in 3 Days?

Ice Age National Scenic Trail, Ice Age Trail Alliance, Clover Valley MSCConstruct 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

Help Build Sustainable Trails in Walla Hi!

Ice Age National Scenic Trail, Ice Age Trail Alliance, Walla Hi County Park, Mobile Skills Crew Program

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

Volunteers Open 1.7-mile of Trail

Ice Age National Scenic Trail, Ice Age Trail Alliance, Ringle Segment, Mobile Skills Crew Event

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

Volunteers “Amp Up” the Lake 11 Project

Ice Age Trail, Ice Age Trail Alliance, Mobile Skills Crew Lake Eleven Project

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

Help Open New Trail in Marathon County!

Ice Age Trail Alliance, Ice Age National Scenic Trail, Northland College, Mobile Skills Crew project

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