Preventing Tick-borne Illnesses

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With warm weather enticing hikers into Wisconsin’s wild spaces, it’s a good time to consider how to prevent tick-borne illnesses while recreating outdoors. Tick-borne illnesses typically first cause flu-like symptoms and usually can be treated with antibiotics if caught early. Untreated, they may cause serious health problems, including death in rare cases. Information on tick-borne illnesses and tips to prevent tick exposure can be found below.

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2022 Trail Steward of the Year: Gerald “Jerry” Pfeifer

Ice Age National Scenic Trail, Ice Age Trail Alliance, Trail Steward of the Year, Jerry Pfeifer, Gerald Pfeifer
Dave Caliebe, Trail Manager for the Ice Age Trail Alliance (right), congratulates Gerald "Jerry" Pfeifer, winner of the Trail Steward of the Year award for 2022. Photo by Cameron Gillie.

The Trail Steward of the Year award recognizes a volunteer whose work contributes in an extraordinary manner to Trail management and development.

These contributions include:

  • Strengthening landowner and/or partner relations;
  • Trail layout, design, and construction;
  • Significant trail maintenance and stewardship efforts.
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2022 Spirit Stick Caretaker: Debbie Krogwold

Ice Age Trail Alliance, Ice Age National Scenic Trail, Spirit Stick Award, Debboe Krogwold
Debbie Krogwold, Portage/Waupaca County Chapter Coordinator, receives the cherished Spirit Stick award; one of the highest honors bestowed by the Ice Age Trail Alliance. Photo by Cameron Gillie.

Debbie Krogwold inspires the entire Ice Age Trail Alliance community with her passion for the Ice Age National Scenic Trail. Her long-time dedication has encompassed a wide range of activities: Trail maintenance and promotion as well as the nitty-gritty details of chapter administration.

The Ice Age Trail Alliance’s Spirit Stick award symbolizes long-term dedication and service to the Ice Age National Scenic Trail and is presented to only one recipient per year. The Spirit Stick nominees must exhibit a passion for the Ice Age National Scenic Trail that has become a way of life; lead by example and inspire those around them; and carry out their service in a spirit of cooperation, optimism, and enthusiasm.

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The Student Conservation Association is hiring an Ice Age Trail work crew!

Photo by Cameron Gillie.
Photo by Cameron Gillie.
A partner organization, the Student Conservation Association (SCA), is hiring an Ice Age Trail work crew for the summer!

This is a great opportunity for those starting out or considering a career in the outdoors.

Crew members will spend their summer with a team of like-minded peers, gaining hands-on training and developing trailbuilding and leadership skills. And they’ll be working in some of the most scenic locations Wisconsin has to offer, right along the Ice Age National Scenic Trail.

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Farewell to Brad Crary, Special Projects Coordinator

Brad Crary assisting with food prep at an MSC Event. Photo by Cameron Gillie.
Brad Crary assisting with food prep at an MSC Event. Photo by Cameron Gillie.
On Friday, April 1, after 14 years with the Alliance, we say goodbye to Brad Crary. Many of you know Brad from his years coordinating project support for scores of large-scale MSC events. He was a fixture at basecamp, managing logistics big and small: setting up the tent, assisting with food prep, and ensuring coffee was ready first thing in the morning. No matter the hour, he wore his trademark smile.

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Welcome Claire Finucane as our new Property Steward!

Claire Finucane, Property Steward
Property Steward Claire Finucane
I am excited to start my journey as the Property Steward for the Ice Age Trail Alliance. Growing up in the Madison area afforded me countless weekends to enjoy the Ice Age Trail. The Gibraltar Rock Segment is a favorite: I can always count on a beautiful sunset view.

I grew up on a small hobby farm where I raised chickens, goats, and a pony. Our family spent a lot of time hiking, camping, skiing, and days on Rock Lake, immersed in and enjoying Wisconsin’s incredible scenery. You can still find me enjoying all four seasons: hiking, camping, swimming, hammocking, skiing, or kayaking.

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7 Reasons for Newbies to Attend the Ice Age Trail Alliance Annual Conference

Ice Age Trail Alliance
The Ice Age Trail Alliance 2022 Annual Conference and Membership Meeting is Thursday, April 21 – Sunday, April 24, 2022 in Stevens Point, WI.

Are you a recently-joined member of the Alliance? Long-time member who has never attended? Working on a section-hike or thru-hike of the Ice Age Trail? Enthusiastic hiker eager to learn more?

Our conference schedule includes many things you may be interested in: a long-distance hiking seminar, presentations from thousand-milers, special interest sessions ranging from ice age geology to trailbuilding 101, a screening of the documentary about Emily Ford, “Breaking Trail,” guided hikes, and a keynote presentation from record-setting hiker, Jennifer Pharr Davis… to name a few.

Still not sure? Here are a 7 more reasons you may want to attend!

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Welcome Sarah Driscoll as our new Philanthropic Coordinator!

Sarah Driscoll, Philanthropic Coordinator
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I am overjoyed to join the Alliance team as the Philanthropic Coordinator. As an avid hiker, I am grateful to support the Ice Age National Scenic Trail.

Like many other nature enthusiasts, I spent much of my childhood outside. Every summer, I camped with my family and explored the nine acres of prairie surrounding my home. As an adult, I enjoy outdoor activities, especially camping and fishing with my husband, Bryce, hiking throughout the state, and simply sitting around campfires with my friends.

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We’re hiring: AmeriCorps VISTA member!

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Position Description

As the 1,200-mile-long Ice Age National Scenic Trail winds through Wisconsin, it travels through remote regions of the state containing low-income counties. Yet, these areas also hold some of the state’s greatest natural beauty.

The AmeriCorps VISTA member will help create a bridge between the Ice Age Trail and the positive societal and economic impacts created when visitors visit and locals embrace the Ice Age Trail.

Activities will vary, but they will include assisting in outreach initiatives and cultivating a strong social media presence promoting the positive impacts the Ice Age Trail can have on local economies.

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Welcome a familiar face, Riley Dupee, as our new Field Operations Specialist!

Riley Dupee, Field Operations Specialist
Left: Riley wearing a hard hat --  important gear for staying safe, and looking cool. Photo by Riley Dupee. Right: Riley doing rockwork on the Trail at a Mobile Skills Crew event. Photo by Lisa Krueger.
Left: Riley wearing a hard hat -- important gear for staying safe, and looking cool. Photo by Riley Dupee. Right: Riley doing rockwork on the Trail at a Mobile Skills Crew event. Photo by Lisa Krueger.
Well Hi, Friends!

After a summer of interning with the Alliance Trail Program, I am officially part of the team as Field Operations Specialist. So, please stop calling and emailing Mike. You did it. I’m hired. Thank you!

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Welcome our new Director of Trail Operations, Chad DuChateau!

Chad DuChateau, Director of Trail Operations
Chad DuChateau
Greetings and Happy 2022

It is an honor to be transitioning into the Director of Trail Operations position with the Alliance. As a Wisconsin native, my passion and professional pursuits focused on outdoor recreation. The glacial Chain O’ Lakes of Waupaca provided my early education for what water, woods, and wildlife could do for my soul. Nature also fueled my studies at UW-Madison. Exploring lakeshore paths and Arboretum habitats, ultimately led to my degree in horticulture and natural resource management.

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Winter Hikes and More this December!

Winter beauty on the John Muir Park Segment. Photo by Alyssa Kohls.
Winter beauty on the John Muir Park Segment. Photo by Alyssa Kohls.
Our volunteer chapters are hosting winter hikes and snowshoeing excursions all month long!

Revel in the restful quiet of a snow-covered landscape. Feel the crunch of snow under foot, or snowshoe. Take advantage of leaf-off season to admire expansive landscapes of glacial features.

Hike under the full moon on the winter solstice, go for a festive jaunt with Santa, explore your favorite Segments of the Ice Age National Scenic Trail transformed into a winter wonderland.

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Welcome Winter with Trail Community Fun

Cross Plains 2019 Winter Solstice Hike. Photo by Cameron Gillie
Cross Plains 2019 Winter Solstice Hike. Photo by Cameron Gillie
As the air grows chilly and snow begins to appear in the forecast, it can be tempting to huddle indoors.

But don’t close the shutters till spring just yet!

Our Trail Communities are proving there are many opportunities to get out and into the festive spirit throughout the month. Venture out and enjoy the lights, the snacks, and the community at any of these upcoming events!

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Cyber Monday with Corporate Friends of the Ice Age Trail

A little love from Mother Earth along the Hartman Creek Segment of the Ice Age Trail. Photo by Jess Dodge.
A little love from Mother Earth along the Hartman Creek Segment of the Ice Age Trail. Photo by Jess Dodge.
Hiking the Ice Age National Scenic Trail is free. Hard to put a discount on that.

However, Ice Age Trail enthusiasts can still realize some Cyber Monday savings.

Hoping to upgrade your gear, get a new pair of hiking footwear, or get a gift for the outdoor-lover in you life? AND get some great deals?

Our corporate friends have you covered!

Find some great Cyber Monday discounts, and support the Ice Age Trail at the same time!

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Support the Trail Through Online Shopping!

Ice Age Trail Alliance, Ice Age National Scenic Trail, Gibraltar Rock Segment, Santa, Santa Claus, Winter, Holidays
You're not the only one who loves the Ice Age National Scenic Trail: Santa enjoys a hike or two as well! Consider supporting the Ice Age Trail while online shopping this holiday season and help protect the places you love.

This holiday season, consider supporting the Ice Age National Scenic Trail while buying gifts for the people you love!

There are several ways you can support the Ice Age National Scenic Trail this holiday season AND get all of your holiday shopping done. See a list of three ways you can shop online and support the Ice Age Trail below.

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Membership Will Look Great on You!

Get your exclusive knit cap.

Now’s a great time to become a member of the Ice Age Trail Alliance!

Your membership will support trailbuilding activities happening in 2022. It will also help with land protection efforts. Plus, it will also get you an exclusive Ice Age Trail Alliance stocking cap (while supplies last!).

Membership drive 2021, Ice Age Trail Alliance, Duluth Trading Company knit cap
Ice Age Trail Alliance, membership drive 2021
Ice Age Trail Alliance membership benefit, Duluth Trading Company knit stocking cap

For new members only! Colors may vary.

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16 Hikes During the Nine-Day Gun Deer Season

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Looking for an alternative to large gatherings and Black Friday shopping this Thanksgiving holiday? How about a stroll on the Ice Age National Scenic Trail! Photo by Joshua Fager.
The nine-day gun deer hunting season (November 20 – 28) spans the Thanksgiving holiday, a time when friends and family gather. It’s natural to want to introduce your loved ones to the Ice Age Trail, yet safe hiking options are limited. Keeping this in mind, we have 16 hikes to share with you where deer hunting is not allowed. Most of these options take place in or near Ice Age Trail Communities and are a perfect blend of natural surroundings and urban amenities.

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Enjoy October Hikes (and More) on the Trail!

Highland Lakes Segment. Photo by Cameron Gillie.
Highland Lakes Segment. Photo by Cameron Gillie.

We have lots of upcoming hikes and activities planned, making it easy for you to get outside, enjoy glorious fall color, and log your miles as part of the Challenge.

Get these events on your calendar and enjoy new levels of fun as you achieve 41 in 2021!

Friday, OCTOBER 1: 

Saturday, OCTOBER 2:

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Your Incredible Support Leads to Match Increase

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The response to the Ice Age Trail Alliance fundraising campaign to permanently protect property for the Ice Age National Scenic Trail in Langlade County was INCREDIBLE. In little over a month, supporters donated nearly $160,000—exceeding our initial fundraising goal way before deadline!

Your commitment impressed the trustees of Prairie Springs: The Paul Fleckenstein Trust so much they decided to increase their match from $120,ooo to $200,000! Thanks to your generosity and that of Prairie Springs: The Paul Fleckenstein Trust, the Alliance will be able to protect and preserve additional land across the state.

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Ice Age Trail Alliance Receives Prestigious National Award for Outstanding Volunteer Service

Ice Age Trail Alliance is the Recipient of 2020 National Hartzog Volunteer Group Award

Volunteers’ hard work and dedication not only builds, supports, and maintains the Ice Age National Scenic Trail, it also wins awards.

During a virtual ceremony on Wednesday, August 25, Ice Age Trail Alliance volunteers and staff were named recipients of the 2020 National Hartzog Award for Group Volunteer Service. Bestowed annually by the National Park Service (NPS), the prestigious George and Helen Hartzog Awards for Outstanding Volunteer Service recognize the “exemplary contributions” NPS volunteers make to their park and community.

In 2020, while most National Parks shut down and volunteer activities were stymied, the Ice Age National Scenic Trail remained open and its volunteers continued trailbuilding, maintenance, and support. In fact, a total of 1,499 Alliance volunteers spent nearly 53,300 hours on Ice Age Trail-related activities; all while adhering to mask-wearing and social distancing safety protocols.

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Protect Langlade’s Glacial Landscape!

Some of the most geologically significant land on earth exists right here in Wisconsin; Langlade County to be exact.

It’s an area where moraines once collided, resulting in amazing glaciation and hummocky terrain. It would be a hiker’s dream to traverse. But right now, the Ice Age National Scenic Trail currently runs along roads. With your help, this will change.

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The Alliance Welcomes a New Trail Program Intern

By Justine Kapitzke, AmeriCorps VISTA Communications Support Specialist
Ice Age Trail Alliance, Ice Age National Scenic Trail, Trail Program, Trail Intern, Intern, Riley Dupee
Trail Program Intern, Riley Dupee, poses outside of the Ice Age Trail Alliance office in Cross Plains. Photo by IATA Staff.
Riley knew from the start that she would be the perfect addition to the Ice Age Trail Alliance team. To be exact, when she read that we were looking for someone with office experience who is also comfortable sleeping in the woods overnight, her reaction was, “Yeah! That’s me!”

Growing up on a campground outside of Pardeeville, WI, Riley spent much of her childhood exploring the marshes and woodlands surrounding the campground. She has lived in other states but feels a special connection to Wisconsin. As she noted, “I didn’t find that attachment to the land anywhere else.”

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Meet Melissa Pierick

Ice Age Trail Alliance, Ice Age National Scenic Trail, Melissa Pierick, Director of Marketing and Community Relations
Melissa Pierick, Director of Marketing and Community Relations for the Ice Age Trail Alliance.

The staff and board of the Ice Age Trail Alliance are thrilled to welcome Melissa Pierick, our new Director of Marketing and Community Relations!

Melissa will work closely with staff in the Trail, Lands, and Philanthropy programs to improve specific program and cross-program advancement through marketing and outreach. She will implement short- and long-range initiatives associated with the strategic plan and other operational goals, especially those which maximize the Alliance’s profile, reputation, and image.

The members of the Communications staff peppered Melissa with a few questions, excited to learn more about her:

What excites you most about your new role? 

I am very excited to have the opportunity to help spread the word about this amazing National Scenic Trail that we are SO lucky to have in Wisconsin. I believe every resident in Wisconsin should know about it—even if they’re not hikers.

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Ice Age Trail Alliance Receives Hartzog Volunteer Group Award

By Dan Watson, Volunteer Coordinator, National Park Service – Ice Age National Scenic Trail

Ice Age Trail Alliance Headquarters in the Village of Cross Plains. Photo by Joanne Ellarson.
Ice Age Trail Alliance Headquarters in the Village of Cross Plains. Photo by Joanne Ellarson.
The Ice Age Trail Alliance won the National Park Service George and Helen Hartzog award for the Midwest Region – Volunteer Group Award out of 21 outstanding nominations submitted in recognition of 2020 efforts.

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Help Our Precious Pollinators!

Ice Age Trail Alliance, Ice Age National Scenic Trail, Ice Age Trail, Land Stewardship, Lands Program
Blooming butterfly milkweed provides nourishment for a monarch caterpillar. Photo by Kelly S. Anklam.
Project Wingspan, a conservation project with Pollinator Partnership, is looking for volunteers who are interested in collecting native seed in their areas to contribute to biodiversity for pollinators. This landscape-scale project expands from Wisconsin into Minnesota, Illinois, Indiana, Ohio, Michigan, and Arkansas. Continue reading