Fastest Known Time

Fastest Known Time on the Ice Age Trail, long-distance runners, thru-hikers, Jason Dorgan, Annie Weiss, Ice Age National Scenic Trail

Annie Wiess (l) and Jason Dorgan (r). In 2007, trail runner Jason Dorgan set the first FKT on the Trail by running it in 22 days and 6 hours. In 2018, trail runner Annie Weiss broke the record and clocked her time at 21 days, 18 hours, and 7 minutes.

By guest writer, Rachele Krivichi

Since the late ‘90s, trail runners have been documenting their fastest trail runs under the moniker “FKT,” which stands for Fastest Known Time. The title implies that a person has run or hiked the trail faster than everyone before them. The tradition of FKT was started on the major hiking trails out west. However, in the past decade, a few runners have brought it home to the Ice Age Trail. In 2007, trail runner Jason Dorgan set the first FKT on the Trail by running it in 22 days and 6 hours. In 2018, trail runner Annie Weiss broke the record and clocked her time at 21 days, 18 hours, and 7 minutes. Mammoth Tales volunteer Rachele Krivichi spoke with both Jason and Annie to get their insights on accomplishing this challenge.

Rachele Krivichi: Why and how did you decide to run the trail? Did you have previous trail running experience?

Jason Dorgan: I started ultra-distance events in ‘94. It went from 50 miles to 100 miles, to Iron Man as I kept getting into the next thing. I started reading about Appalachian Trail runs and I was impressed by them. I knew I didn’t have time to do that kind of length, though. So, I started thinking why not try the Ice Age Trail? I realized no one had ever really tried to run it before. It was in my backyard, so I figured I’d better try to use it.

Annie Weiss: I participate in a lot of ultra-distance events, anything up to 100 miles. But running the Ice Age Trail, which was my husband’s idea, is the longest I’ve run. We had hiked a lot on the Holy Hill segment and got inspired to try the entire Trail. My goal was to essentially break the women’s record and then underneath it all I also wanted to break Jason’s record. There were days when I would run up to 75 miles, but we knew on average I had to do 50 miles a day to hit the record.

RK: What did you hope to accomplish by running the entire Trail?

AW: I’ve run Wisconsin races and I’ve run races out west and it really blows my mind how many runners, novice to pro, have never heard of the Ice Age Trail. So, mostly I wanted to bring light to the Trail. At first I wanted to promote it within the running community. But after I started, I was amazed by how many 9-13 year old girls followed along as I ran. I’ve done more talks with that age group since running it. I wasn’t trying to inspire that age group, but it was cool how that came out of it!

JD: Mostly, I wanted to experience the whole trail. I knew there would be sections that were more rugged than I’d previously thought. In addition, I also wanted to make my run into a fundraiser. I ended up raising about $15,000 for the Trail. It was kind of amazing how well I got the word out, because this was before Facebook. I ended up being interviewed and was on TV all across Wisconsin.

Jason Dorgan First Fastest Known Time on the Ice Age Trail, Ice Age Trail Alliance

Jason Dorgan followed by a cadre of friends –Dave Sarocka, Roy Pirrung, Peter Wadsack, Brenda Bland, Kevin Radel, Vince Varone, and Ann Heaslett – who joined him for his final leg, a run through Potawatomi State Park, on his way to the Eastern Terminus of the Ice Age Trail. Photo by Tim Yanacheck.

RK: What did you learn about yourself in the process?

JD: I learned that it was possible for me to come back after hitting the low point. I had a plan to finish in three weeks. But sometimes, every step was painful, and I would need a pep talk from someone in my crew. So, the mental part of it was, “Yeah, this hurts, but I gotta push through it.” The last week was probably one of the easiest parts to do. I even felt like I could have run a few more days. But mentally, I was done. A week later I ran the Ice Age 50, the race down in Whitewater. But after that I took two months off from running.

AW: I think running the Ice Age Trail was a really good learning experience in being alone. Yeah, I might have had a runner with me sometimes, but I had so much alone time overall. So, I learned how to be with myself. I also learned that, even though my pain tolerance is already pretty high, I can handle more than I previously thought.

RK: What did you learn about the Trail?

AW: There are a lot of segments of the Trail that I had never run before that I really enjoyed. I was thoroughly impressed with the West Bend segment. It made me wonder why there isn’t a race there. I also learned there are a lot of road segments but that the Trail is really well marked. There were three occasions where I got turned around, but otherwise I had no problems. The volunteers really do a good job in maintaining the Trail.

JD: In hindsight, I realized how much effort it takes to maintain the trail. Before I started running, a chapter coordinator in the Northwoods heard about my run and warned me there was a place where the bridge was out. He made a temporary bridge with logs so I could run across it without getting soaked. I learned that nothing happens without the chapter, they’re so intimate with what’s in their area. It’s a small group of people that really make the Trail happen.

RK: How have you been shaped by the experience of running the Trail? Did it change you?

JD: It strengthened a lot of my core values. I’ve come to realize that, even though I ran this thing, I didn’t do it alone. Nothing is possible alone. I personally had a lot of good support. My overall philosophy of life is that you’ve gotta give back and help people. Even though it looks like a person accomplished something alone, all by themselves, that’s not a true perception.

AW: It proved to me that I like competing against myself. I’ve gotten into a stage where I don’t want to compete against other people; I’d rather just enjoy my time with them. So, this was a different kind of competition

Annie Weiss, FKT, fastest known time on the Ice Age Trail

Annie Weiss is radiant in her proud moment. She and her crew, Kevin Cannaday and Ryan Norton, reached the Eastern Terminus on September 30th at 12:56 am. Annie set the new Fastest Known Time record of 21 days, 18 hours, and 7 minutes, besting the previous record by 11 hours and 53 minutes. Photo by Brian Frain.

RK: How have you engaged with the Trail (or Alliance or chapters) since your run?

AW: My husband and I belong to the Ice Age Trail Alliance. We also plan to participate as Field Editors for the 2020 guidebook because they don’t have as many volunteers in the northern part of the state. So, we wanted to help up there. I’m also doing a few different presentations for different chapters in the next few months. I love doing that kind of stuff.

JD: I was on the board for six years and I’ve been doing the Mobile Skills Crew events since 2008. I had also been to the 2006 annual conference before running the Trail, and now attend almost every year. Also, I maintain and mow a 2.5-mile section of Trail near Verona. I also joined the Yellow Blaze Club to help support and fund the Trail. So, that’s how I give back now.

Rachele Krivichi is a writer, artist, and outdoor lover from Wisconsin. Her work has been seen in Wisconsin Gazette newspaper, Temporary Art Review, and Culturaal blog, based in the Netherlands. In 2016 she finished her first book, a study of camper and recreational vehicle culture. She recently moved to Minneapolis, but Wisconsin and the Ice Age Trail are some of her earliest loves.

Jim Staudacher Looks Back: 40 Years After the First Thru-hike

Ice Age Trail, Ice Age National Scenic Trail, Ice Age Trail Alliance, James Staudacher, first thru-hiker on the IAT, 40th Anniversary of thru-hike

Trail blazer, James (Jim) Staudacher, the first person to thru-hike the Ice Age National Scenic Trail. Here he is along the Ice Age Trail in the Chequamegon National Forest, Wisconsin, July 1979. Photo courtesy of Jim Staudacher.

Article by guest writer, Bill Polacheck

For James (Jim) Staudacher, the inspiration for the journey of a lifetime came from the very first Ice Age Trail Guidebook, On the Trail of the Ice Age, written by Congressman Henry Reuss and published by the Milwaukee Journal in 1976. The guidebook captured the imagination of then 17-year-old Jim and he began researching the geography of the ice age in Wisconsin.

Two years later, he took a summer backpacking trip to Isle Royale National Park and decided that he wanted to be the first person to walk the entire Ice Age Trail route.

“I wanted to achieve this as a personal rite of passage but also to promote the sport of hiking which was just becoming popular in the 1970s,” recalls Jim. The first step to realizing his dream involved contacting Reuss’ office to secure permission. “I was a nervous 19-year-old on that fall day in 1978 when I met Rep. Reuss at his Milwaukee office,” says Jim. “He received me graciously and asked me why I wanted to hike the trail and why I thought I could succeed in such a physically demanding endeavor. I answered awkwardly, and probably less coherently than I wanted to, but my enthusiasm was unmistakable.”

A week after the meeting, Reuss contacted Jim and gave him permission to attempt the first complete hike of the trail in the summer of 1979. He also assigned one of his staff members, Sarah Sykes, to assist with details of trip planning. Sarah and Jim decided that he would document and informally survey the existing route of the trail, make suggestions to improve the route, and providing descriptions of the ice age features found along the trail. Reuss’ office would provide maps and postage for re-supply packages as well as reimbursement for long-distance phone calls.

Ice Age Trail Alliance, Ice Age National Scenic Trail, James Staudacher, First thru-hiker, 40th Anniversary of first thru-hike

Campsite along Ice Age Trail in Point Beach State Forest, Wisconsin.  May 1979. The tent certainly added to Jim’s pack weight. Photo courtesy of Jim Staudacher.

Jim accepted the challenge and on May 14, 1979, the 20-year-old drove from his suburban Milwaukee home up to Sturgeon Bay, signed in on the trailhead ledger, and began his adventure. He set off following tentative routes that he changed as he traveled, all the while knowing he had to be back by August to start his junior year at Marquette University. Not only did he not have the benefit of a GPS system, but his clothing was also low tech. Except for a new Gore-Tex parka, he was outfitted with what he could find in his closet– wool shirts, blue jeans, cargo pants, and heavy hiking boots. Without the benefit of modern water filters, Jim struggled to find drinkable water and when he did he carried as much as he could. That water, along with food, pushed the weight of his pack up to 45 pounds. Fortunately, Jim wrestled in high school and quickly adjusted to the heavy load.

He re-supplied his food rations at small-town post offices along the way. Sarah communicated with Jim via postal service and payphone calls and mailed the food so that it would arrive just in time. Since he was on a college student’s budget, Jim’s food consisted of grocery store basics like mac and cheese, Pop-Tarts, granola bars, and Rice-A-Roni.

Adding to his pack weight was his SLR camera which he describes as a “monster” compared to today’s cell phone cameras. And where today he might have taken thousands of digital photos, back then he only took about a hundred and many of those shots are blurry.

Some of those blurry shots include pictures of a tornado he spotted after a line of storms blew through west of Madison near Cross Plains. Jim says he wasn’t afraid at the time.

“Maybe I was naive but I didn’t feel that vulnerable,” he recalls.

Jim with his 45-lb pack surveying the glacial sand deposit, Northern Kettle Moraine State Forest near New Fane, Wisconsin, May 1979. Photo courtesy of Jim Staudacher.

He did experience fear, however, about 130 miles north of Cross Plains at his campsite east of Stevens Point in the Kronenwetter swamp. Hot, tired, wet and covered with wood ticks, he decided to build a fire in order to fling the ticks into the flames. As he scraped the ticks with a knife, four to five wild dogs appeared and immediately approached him. The leader of the pack bared his teeth and tried to grab his ankle. In fear of his life, Jim defended himself with a piece of firewood left behind by hunters and ended up killing the alpha male. At that point, the rest of the pack retreated.

“I pitched his broken body far into the swampy woods, not wanting the other dogs to return,” Jim says. “I spent that long night sitting by a huge fire, dirty, scared, angry, and knowing that the next morning I had to pack up and walk through the very swamp from whence they came.”

One of the greatest tasks Jim faced was measuring the total length of the trail. The guidebook estimated 600 miles but he logged 1,006 miles on his hike. About 40% of those miles were on the road, although back then many of the gravel roads were barely distinguishable from the trail itself. He hiked through parks, county forest land, and miles of abandoned railroad tracks. In Waukesha and Washington Counties, the trail guided him through rows of brush and woods in the midst of open farmland. (Today, he notes, the trail has been rerouted in these areas due to the transition to fence-to-fence farming as well as urban sprawl.)

Averaging 15-20 miles per day, Jim finished his solo hike on July 29 in Interstate State Park in Taylor Falls, Minnesota. Jim still has slides of his hike as well as his journals, topographic maps, backpack, and leather boots. But more than that, he has his memories of the summer of ‘79.

“I was looking for adventure, and I found it,” Jim muses. “It set me up for the rest of my life.”

Bill Polacheck is a teacher and writer living in the Milwaukee area. An avid environmentalist, he enjoys hiking, biking, and kayaking, and challenges himself to find beauty in the world around him on a daily basis. Follow him on Instagram @bill.polacheck.

Summer Storm Clean-Up Efforts Underway: You Can Help!

Ice Age Trail Alliance, Ice Age National Scenic Trail, Old Railroad Segment, Summer Storm, Langlade County

Old Railroad Segment, Langlade County. BEFORE and AFTER. More clean-up efforts to yet to come. This initial work (by a dedicated volunteer and certified sawyer) is a great start to getting the Trail back into shape.

Shear winds and tornadic activity ravaged the North and Central regions of Wisconsin on July 19 and July 20, 2019.

The areas hit the hardest by the storm were Polk, Langlade, and Waupaca counties. Hundreds of trees are down all along the Ice Age National Scenic Trail corridor. In a conservative estimate, well over 127 miles of Ice Age Trail was drastically affected by the storm.

The Ice Age Trail Alliance and its Chapters have been busy assessing damage. Small crews are already out on the Trail tackling the most immediate areas of need, however, more hands will help make light work of what will is shaping up to be a BIG job.

If you’d like to wield a handsaw or clippers, or otherwise help remove debris from the Trail, please register at the link below. In order to effectively organize crews and equipment, we’d like to know which county you’d be willing to travel to and which days of the week or weekend you’re available.

Ice Age National Scenic Trail, Ice Age Trail Alliance, Langlade County, Old Railroad Segment, Summer Storm

Old Railroad Segment, Langlade County, BEFORE.


Ice AgeTrail Alliance, Ice Age National Scenic Trail, Old Railroad Segment, Langlade County

Old Railroad Segment, Langlade County, AFTER.

Summer Storm Trail Conditions

Ice Age Trail Alliance, Ice Age National Scenic Trail, Volunteer Chapters, Trail Conditions, Storm Damage

Summer storm damage. The northern tier of Wisconsin was hit by terrible storms with shear winds and tornadic activity, July 19, and July 20. Photo by Jason Pursell.

Summer Storm = Big Damage

Shear winds and tornadic activity ravaged the North and Central regions of Wisconsin this past weekend, July 19, and July 20, 2019. Expect to see a significant number of trees down along the Ice Age National Scenic Trail corridor.

Please exercise caution and common sense if you are considering a hike on any segment north of Highway 10, especially if you are planning to go anytime in the next two weeks. Areas where damage has been reported along the Ice Age Trail include (but are not limited to) the following: Polk, Barron, Langlade, Portage, and Waupaca counties.

Please know our dedicated volunteers, Seasonal Trail Crew, and partner agencies like the County parks and the Department of Natural Resources are busy assessing the damage and are taking the necessary steps to begin the safe removal of fallen trees and other debris.

Please be patient. This damage will not be cleaned up quickly – the damage is simply too extensive and severe – and clean-up efforts will continue through the Fall (and beyond) in the hardest hit areas.

Please note: The Department of Natural Resources has reported damage at the following State Parks which host the Ice Age National Scenic Trail:

Hartman Creek State Park – Portage & Waupaca County (hosts the Hartman Creek Segment)

Note: The family campground is closed at Hartman Creek State Park due to damage and downed trees from severe storms on Saturday, July 20. The family campground will remain closed through Thursday, July 25. Other areas of the park may also be closed due to storm damage, and visitors should use caution. (updated 7/20/19).

Potawatomi State Park – Door County (hosts the Sturgeon Bay Segment)

Straight Lake State Park – Polk County (hosts the Straight Lake Segment)

                Note: Straight Lake State Park is currently closed due to storm damage. (Call 715-483-3747 to learn when services will resume.)

Brunet Island State Park – Chippewa County (hosts the Chippewa River Segment)

Three Items of Note:

ONE: Hike at your own risk when hiking in any of the counties affected by the storm. Expect to see numerous trees blown down onto the Trail. It may not be safe to crawl over or under downed trees. Your hike may take longer and you may get lost. Blazes are likely to be missing. Water sources may be compromised.

TWO: Check our Trail Conditions. As chapter leaders assess the situation and have the time to report the level of damage, the condition reports will continue to offer substance and accuracy regarding the ever-changing conditions of the Ice Age Trail. Check Trail Conditions.

THREE: Call or email Chapter Coordinators of the region where you plan to hike. They will have the best boots-on-the-ground information about conditions on the Ice Age Trail in their county. Be advised, that in the short-term, they may be without phone or email due to the damage their communities may have sustained during the storms. Exercise patience and grace when interacting with these hard-working volunteers who are likely to be busy sawing down the trees covering the Trail. Connect with Chapter Coordinators.


10 Hikes Celebrate National Trails Day!

Ice Age Trail Alliance, Ice Age National Scenic Trail, Monches Segment, National Trails Day

Two friends smile in delight after spending the day together hiking the Monches Segment of the Ice Age National Scenic Trail. Photo by Brad Dagen.

National Trails Day is Saturday, June 1st, 2019 and there’s plenty to celebrate along the Ice Age National Scenic Trail.

Hikes That Go the Distance:

Explore new territory.

1. Chippewa County, Chippewa Moraine Segment: National Trails Day Hike

Celebrate National Trails Day in Chippewa County. Appreciate the beauty of the North woods as trees and flowers unfurl in late-spring. This hike, led by members of the Chippewa Moraine County Chapter, starts at 9:00 a.m. and is about 4-miles in length. Plan to meet new friends, bring your own water, insect repellent, and to complete the hike by noon.  (Chippewa Moraine County Chapter) Continue reading

Name Change and Special Pricing!

Name Change!

Our catchy name for the Ice Age Trail Alliance’s mobile app, Mammoth Tracks, has gone the way of the woolly mammoth! Guthook Guides, the company who created our app decided to switch things up. So, when the glacier melts, well, you go with the flow.

What was formerly Mammoth Tracks is now available as an in-app purchase in the new and improved version of Atlas Guides‘ offerings of Guthook Guides hiking apps. You can find the Ice Age Trail featured near the middle of the page.

Special Spring Pricing!

The deal starts Thursday, April 11th and runs through Sunday, April 14th.  Continue reading

URGENT. Call House Reps TODAY!

Please CALL or EMAIL your House Representative before TUESDAY, FEBRUARY 26th at 3:30 p.m.

Voice your SUPPORT for the S. 47 Natural Resources Management Act.

S. 47 is one of the most significant public land packages to enjoy bipartisan support in congress in recent history! It will create more than 1.3 million acres of wilderness out West, add three national park units and expand eight others. Continue reading

Changes for Mammoth Tracks App for Android Users


Update for Android users of the Mammoth Tracks – Ice Age Trail app:

Mammoth Tracks is now available as an in-app purchase for Android in the new and improved version of Atlas Guides’ hiking app called “Guthook Guides: Hike & Bike Offline”.

Here are some common questions and answers about the new app.

Q: I have the Mammoth Tracks – Ice Age Trail app on my Android phone. Can I still use it?

A: Yes, you can still use it, and it will have the same data as the newer app. However, this app will not be updated (other than the data) or supported in the future.

Q: I have the Mammoth Tracks – Ice Age Trail app on my Android phone. Can I transfer my purchase to the new Guthook Guides app? Continue reading

Announcing IATA Photo Contest

Ice Age National Scenic Trail Jerry Lake Segment Taylor County Chippewa Moraine

A glimpse of boardwalk along the Jerry Lake Segment of the Chippewa Moraine in Taylor County.
Photo credit: D. Caliebe

We Need Photographs of the Ice Age National Scenic Trail!

We are on the lookout for photos we can use in our publications. Right now, we have a 2020 edition of Ice Age Trail Guidebook in the works.

What makes the Guidebook so valuable, besides detailed segment-by-segment descriptions and maps, is the high quality, expressive photographs it contains. Most of the pictures were taken, not by professional photographers, but by trail enthusiasts who snapped the shot while out hiking! Each photo wonderfully captures the beauty of the trail experience. Continue reading

We are hiring!

Photo Credit: Jo EllarsonThe Ice Age Trail Alliance is pleased to announce we are hiring a paid intern position for 2019.  This opportunity is based in our Outreach, Engagement & Education Program. The length of employment ranges from 7-8 months. Please read the position description linked below.

Currently, the Ice Age Trail Alliance seeks an intern to work side by side IATA staff and volunteers to introduce new and diverse audiences to the Ice Age Trail. The IATA recognizes and embraces the fact that we must engage new audiences and the next generation to be successful in continuing our mission of creating, supporting and protecting the Ice Age Trail. This intern position will build awareness of the Ice Age Trail and IATA to a diverse population engaging them through hikes, presentations and service learning events. This position will include a mix of field work, community outreach, and administrative duties, such as collecting, tracking and sharing data and stories, grant reporting, and updating various marketing platforms. We ask qualified applicants to apply by Friday, February 8, 2019.

Photo Credit: Jo Ellarson

We Did It! Thank YOU.

Ice Age Trail Alliance, Ice Age National Scenic Trail, Year-End Campaign 2018, $60.000 Challenge Match

We’re jumping for joy! A successful Challenge Match helps make the Ice Age National Scenic Trail a treasure for all generations to enjoy! Photo by Dineo Dowd.

Just WOW. Your generous support, and that of 530 Trail users from across the nation, joined together and exceeded the $60,000 Challenge Match. You gave through social media, check, and IRA’s. You shared the Match with friends and family. You generated more than $124,000 for the Alliance and ultimately the Ice Age National Scenic Trail. Continue reading

Government Shutdown and the IAT

Ice Age National Scenic Trail, Ice Age Trail Alliance, Government Shutdown, National Park Service, Volunteers in the Park insurance program

Snow covered boardwalk along the Plover River Segment, Marathon County. Photo by Rachel Roberts.

First the Good News:

The Ice Age National Scenic Trail remains open for hiking, snowshoeing, running, and backpacking. Please continue to enjoy the Ice Age Trail and the activities which get you outside and bring you joy.

Now, for the Not-So Good News:

Even though the Ice Age Trail itself is not closed during the government shutdown, ALL VOLUNTEER-BASED activities are suspended. Continue reading

Land Trust Accreditation Stakeholder Notification/Public Notice

Ice Age Trail Alliance, Ice Age National Scenic Trail, First Day Hikes. Hikes of 2019

Snow-covered thistles enliven a winter landscape. Photo by T. Knaack.

The land trust accreditation program recognizes land conservation organizations that meet national quality standards for protecting important natural places and working lands forever.

The Ice Age Trail Alliance is pleased to announce it is applying for renewal of accreditation. A public comment period is now open.

The Land Trust Accreditation Commission, an independent program of the Land Trust Alliance, conducts an extensive review of each applicant’s policies and programs. “The rigorous accreditation and renewal process ensures we’ve satisfied a specific set of criteria as a land conservation organization,” said IATA Executive Director Mike Wollmer. “As an accredited organization, the Alliance continues to demonstrate credibility with its current and future donors, partners, and supporters.” Continue reading

First Day Hikes and More!

Ice Age National Scenic Trail, Ice Age Trail Alliance, First Day Hikes, Hikes in 2019

A snowy hike along the Chippewa Moraine Segment. Photo by Melinda Hayes.

Start off 2019 strong with a heart-pumping hike and plenty of fresh air!

It’s easy to get your 10,000 steps with a hike on the Ice Age National Scenic Trail. Let the scenery renew your spirit and the crisp, winter weather invigorate your pace.

Give the gym a break on the weekends and mix up your routine. A whole-body workout is possible during Trail Improvement days. Besides the camaraderie of working alongside other trail enthusiasts, there’s the added bonus of knowing your ‘workout’ showed the Ice Age Trail some love. Continue reading

Wanted: Volunteer Field Editors

Ice Age Trail Alliance, Ice Age National Scenic Trail, Field Editors, Guidebook updates and revisions

Tony Schuster (and his wife Nancy) enjoys a fantastic day hiking on the Ice Age Trail as Field Editor for the Harwood Lakes Segment in Chippewa County. Tony and Nancy carefully walked the segment to make sure the reality of the Trail was reflected across all three hiker resources. Photo by Nancy Schuster.

Work has begun to update the Ice Age Trail Guidebook, the Atlas, and the Databook. The goal is updated, published versions by February 2020.

We’re looking for dedicated and enthusiastic hikers and lovers of the outdoors to volunteer as Field Editors. That means YOU!

Field Editors will be asked to:

  • Hike a selected segment or connecting route of the Ice Age National Scenic Trail,
  • Review and verify existing book info,
  • Submit a Field Edit Report providing any updated, corrected, or new information.

Continue reading

Online Shopping Benefits The Trail!

Ice Age Trail Alliance, Ice Age National Scenic Trail, AmazonSmile, Online ShoppingThe Holiday Season is in full swing…

For those of you who like to do your shopping online, from the comfort of your recliner, there are THREE ways to benefit the Ice Age Trail Alliance AND get your holiday shopping done!


For those of you who want to spend your money locally, then consider heading over to the Ice Age Trail Alliance store.

Grab a plush Monty the Mammoth for the littlest hiker in your life.

Right now, we’ve got a 60th Anniversary T-Shirts (men’s, women’s, youth) on sale and they are currently paired with their very own Monty the Mammoth. They are also being offered at a stocking stuffer pricing with a 2 for $12.00 deal! Continue reading

The Thousand-Miler Smile!

Ice Age Trail Alliance, Ice Age National Scenic Trail, Thousand-Miler, Section Hiking,

The happy, thousand-watt smiles of brand new Thousand-Milers fill the Alliance headquarters.      Photo by Jo Ellarson.

Lynn Williamson and Patrice Nicolet recently completed their thousand-mile journey on the Ice Age National Scenic Trail. Laughing, they remarked, “We’re still friends, too!” Williamson and Nicolet became Thousand-Milers by section hiking the Ice Age Trail. The Thousand-Miler Map and Checklist helped them plan and document their progress as they hiked the Trail in bits and pieces over a period of years.

You too can get started on your very own adventure, solo, or with a friend, or an entire passel of people. Winter is a great time to cozy up to a warm fire and to plan your hike. Will you hike it a segment (or two) or connecting route (or more) at a time? Will you choose to hike the entire Trail in one continuous, multi-day effort? The decision is yours. Continue reading

Twelve Black Friday Hikes: #OptOutside

#OptOutside. Get a dose of fresh air and hike off that extra slice of pumpkin pie. Photo by Dave Caliebe

#OptOutside. Get a dose of fresh air and hike off that extra slice of pumpkin pie.
Photo by Dave Caliebe

The Ice Age Trail Alliance is proud to participate in #OptOutside with our partner REI, Inc. In its third year, #OptOutside takes place on Black Friday and encourages people to take a hike! Here in Wisconsin, the day after Thanksgiving is also the heart of deer-gun hunting season. Keeping this in mind, we have set up 12 hikes where deer hunting is not allowed.

All of the following suggested hikes take place in Ice Age Trail Communities. These hikes represent a perfect blend of natural surroundings and urban amenities. Continue reading

How to AmazonSmile!

How it works:

  1. Instead of going to, you will need to go to the AmazonSmile page which is:;
  2. Now, log in like you normally do when you log into your Amazon account;
  3. Right underneath the Amazon search bar you will see small orange text that says “Supporting: Name of the Organization”;
  4. If you hover the mouse over the “Supporting: Name of Organization” it will bring up the option to change the charity you are currently supporting, or give you the opportunity to select one. (This may also be an option from your account settings.);
  5. Amazon will offer you a rotating list of their “spotlight charities” and below that a search bar that says “Or pick your own charitable organization” here is where you can type in “Ice Age Trail Alliance”;
  6. Click on the “Select” button. Now you are all set to start shopping;
  7. Amazon gives 0.5% of the purchase price, of whatever you order, to the Ice Age Trail Alliance (for example, a $100.00 purchase earns 50 cents for the Alliance);
  8. Remember: in order for a charity or organization to benefit from any Amazon shopping you do, you must use the AmazonSmile portal.

The EXTRA good news is this:  AmazonSmile purchases benefit charities or organizations ALL year long…not just during the holiday season.

Celebrate Our Anniversary with New Gear!

Ice Age Trail Alliance, Ice Age National Scenic Trail, 50th Anniversary of the National Trails Scenic Act, 60th Anniversary of the Ice Age Trail Alliance

Snag a combo pack – Anniversary T-Shirt & Monty – and be a part of the national celebration!

On October 2nd, 1968 the National Trails System was created. This momentous occasion formalized the curation of America’s great hikes and critical points in human history. The National Scenic and Historic Trails were born.

On December 15th, 1958, a group of citizens came together and the Ice Age Trail Alliance was formed to create, support and protect what would become the Ice Age National Scenic Trail.

The Alliance has enjoyed a year of celebrating the 50th and 60th anniversaries by building new trail, reaching new groups, and protecting landscapes. We are continuing the celebration by offering reduced pricing on our 60th Anniversary T-Shirt  made by Seek Dry Goods. Continue reading

Trail Conditions

Ice Age Trail Alliance, Ice Age National Scenic Trail, Volunteer Chapters, Trail Conditions, Storm Damage

Tornado damage along County Highway F just north of the John Muir Segment in Marquette County. Photo by thru-hiker, Jason Pursell.

Trail Condition Highlights

Parnell Segment: 

The Parnell Segment near Butler Lake was hit hard during an August 31st storm which produced high winds and tornados and many trees were blown down. While the staff of the Kettle Moraine State Forest-Northern Unit have downplayed the extent of the damage, hiker reports (as recently as 11/02/2018) indicate the route is still extremely treacherous and it is exceedingly easy to get lost. The on-going IATA  recommendation is to avoid the Parnell Segment at this point in time.

Firth Lake Segment:

A portion of the Firth Lake Segment in Chippewa County has been closed by a private landowner. In order to bypass that segment, which extends from east of Firth Lake SIATA and Chippewa County Forest to about 1 mile west of Hwy CC, it is necessary to bypass everything between Hwy CC and Firth Lake. Continue reading

60 Successful Years!

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

Photos by Cameron Gillie of

The Ice Age Trail Alliance supporters, staff, and community members had lots to celebrate August 8-12 during our Ice Age Trail Days.

Ice Age Trail Alliance, Ice Age National Scenic Trail, Ice Age Trail, Ray Zillmer

Ice Age Trail Alliance founder, Ray Zillmer.

Beginning with the dream of a single individual, Ray Zillmer who, in 1958, envisioned the Ice Age Trail and established what would become the Ice Age Trail Alliance. Fast forward 60 years and the Ice Age Trail is one of only eleven National Scenic Trails in the United States and the Alliance its strongest advocate. Continue reading

Ice Age Trail Days

Ice Age National Scenic Trail, Ice Age Trail Alliance, Ice Age Trail DaysIce Age Trail Days 60th Anniversary Party!

Date: Wednesday, August 8 – Sunday, August 12

Location: Village of Cross Plains


  • Trailbuilding, August 8 – 12
  • Live music, exhibits, and farm-to-table dinner, August 10
  • Hikes and Workshops, August 11

Download a complete Schedule of Events [PDF]

Ice Age Trail Days event details HERE; grab your ticket for the dinner, hurry…limited seating