By Eva Ballering, Land Steward at the Ice Age Trail Alliance
While we feel like explorers as we hike the Ice Age Trail National Scenic Trail, it is important to remember the people whose footsteps we follow. The dedicated and inspiring volunteers of the Ice Age Trail Alliance make the Ice Age Trail the national gem that it is. Each year, we recognize our most esteemed volunteers. One award, the Trail Steward of the Year, recognizes volunteers for their outstanding contributions to trail management and development.
Outdoor spaces are everyone’s right to enjoy without being subjected to danger, suspicion, and violence. The tragic events in recent weeks, resulting in the senseless deaths of black Americans, exposes a challenge to our mission that goes well beyond the Trail.
Simply, we are appalled.
Note: Updated 5/27/2020
A hike on a favorite segment of Ice Age National Scenic Trail offers mood-boosting fresh air and sunshine and provides a respite from the uncertainty around us. The Ice Age Trail is a perfect place for slowing down, gathering your internal resources, and gaining clarity.
It’s also important, while we are out exploring the Trail, that we remain respectful of the fact COVID-19 is still in our midst. It’s important to help stop the spread of the virus and help flatten the curve with considerate and responsible behavior.
Some days feel like they take FOREVER to get here. This year, Saturday, June 6, National Trails Day, is one of those. We’re marking its arrival by joining together and taking Mammoth Steps on behalf of the Ice Age National Scenic Trail.
This day will be among the first opportunities for Ice Age Trail Alliance volunteers to get back to doing what they love best: creating, supporting, and protecting the Ice Age Trail.
It’s a day to reconnect with the Trail from which they’ve been apart during the last few months.
Imagine…if they photographed the best features of the Ice Age Trail along the way: the expansive views, tread unfurling ahead, and ephemerals peeking up from the forest floor.
Imagine…a snapshot of the Ice Age Trail, in its entirety, as it looks on a single day!
This vision could become a reality with your help.
We have 120 Ice Age Trail segments waiting for you to enjoy, camera in hand and eyes finely-tuned for beauty, as part of our National Trails Day celebration on Saturday, June 6.
Try the trail of the Ice Age today,
nature’s glacial destruction display.
Hike the terminal path
of the cold weather wrath
where Wisconsin held fast in the way.
From the Sturgeon Bay calm of its shore
to the Falls of St. Croix and their roar,
it’s history’s trail
through nature’s travail
that would alter forever earth’s lore.
It’s adventure that fits to a “tee”
spirits yearning for splendor to see
— whether done end to end,
or by segment, or bend —
time remembered as all it can be…
…amid features of rock to exalt
in the bluffs and the cliffs by default
now natural beauty
derived from the duty
of becoming a mineral vault.
Limericks are the answer! These short, silly poems offer a much-needed dash of humor to an otherwise uncertain situation.
Try your hand at writing an Ice Age Trail inspired limerick, (or two, or more) and enter them into our contest (in honor of National Poetry Month).
Your limerick could be an ode to mosquitoes, permethrin, ticks, yellow blazes, eskers, or kettle lakes! (Or wherever else your inspiration is found!)
They’re easy enough to write – get the kids involved!
As you turn your face to the sun and head out on a hike, be on the look out for these woodland beauties:
Help Flatten the Curve:
Hike Responsibly, if You Choose to Hike: Continue reading
The Ice Age National Scenic Trail is open (except where it crosses federally owned land in the Chequamegon-Nicolet National Forest).
Reopening does NOT extend to restrooms, campsites, towers, shelters, playgrounds, nature centers, headquarters, contact stations, and concession buildings. These facilities remain closed until May 26, 2020. Continue reading
Please note, voting is based on location and the Ice Age Trail Alliance is being featured in the Madison/Southern WI market which means Fitchburg, Janesville, Lake Geneva, Madison, Pleasant Prairie, Racine, and Sun Prairie. However, if you live outside these urban areas, you can select one of these stores to be your Target store at which point, the Ice Age Trail Alliance becomes one of your voting options.
We’re asking our supporters, especially those of you who live in the urban areas listed above, to help us make the most of this incredible opportunity. Every vote counts to help us receive a portion of the available Target funds as we continue our mission to create, support, and protect the Ice Age National Scenic Trail.
“Thousands of tired, nerve-shaken, over-civilized people are beginning to find out that going to the mountains is going home; that wildness is a necessity.”
~John Muir, environmentalist and author of Our National Parks, 1901
The Ice Age Trail Alliance’s highest priority is the health and well-being of our staff, volunteers, and hiking community during the rapidly evolving health concern of the Coronavirus/COVID-19. Continue reading
Join a chapter-led, Full Moon hike near you on March 7th, 2020! Continue reading
We are humbled and inspired by the 500+ donors who helped us surpass our $50,000 Challenge Match. Your collective generosity ranged from $5 to $5,000 and came from 17 different states showing the impact the Ice Age National Scenic Trail has on communities close by and those far afield.
Your support inspires us, underpinning all we do, as we work to create, support, and protect the Ice Age Trail. We look forward to doing justice to your donations by improving the Trail, foot-by-foot and acre-by-acre. Continue reading
For those of you who like to do your shopping from the comfort of your living room, 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.
The Ice Age Trail Alliance is proud to participate in #OptOutside with our partner REI, Inc. #OptOutside takes place on Black Friday (November 29th) and encourages people to take a hike!
Here in Wisconsin, the day after Thanksgiving is also the heart of the nine-day gun deer-hunting season. Keeping this in mind, we have set up 14 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
There can be a lot of details to navigate when you hike the Ice Age Trail in Wisconsin’s fall and winter seasons: hunting season dates, trail closures on private property, and public lands where the Trail is open and hunting is also allowed.
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. Continue reading