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.

What We’re Doing

We’re building a mile of new Ice Age Trail on the contours of a burly hill overlooking Black Earth Creek, with long, leaf-off views east to the terminal moraine and west deep into the Driftless area. Satellite projects to continue work done during April’s Crew Leadership and Skills training, and in June at IAT-U, may also spring up as time and talent permit. NOT TO MENTION, we’re throwing the hootenanny of the season Friday and Saturday with planned events, presentations and a community dinner Friday with seating for 300 – and you are most cordially invited! See details below.

All Abilities and Talents Welcome

As with all Mobile Skills Crew events, no experience is necessary and there’s a role for volunteers of all ages and abilities…bring the whole family!

Training is provided by certified volunteer crew leaders and all participants get free meals and (for those working with us for multiple days) a free place to pitch a tent.

Registration

To help us plan this event with your needs in mind, please visit our online registration page and register by Monday, July 30th.

Schedule

Your participation is welcome for any part of the event or the entire week.

Work begins on Wednesday, August 8th and concludes Sunday, August 12th. Trail stewardship activities begin each day around 8:00 am and typically wrap up between 4:00 pm and 5:00 pm each day except for Friday when work will end at 3 pm, and Sunday when the work ends at noon.

Project Team members will be on site by noon on Monday; if you are interested in arriving early, please call Special Projects Coordinator, Brad Crary at 262-370-2995.

Ice Age National Scenic Trail, Ice Age Trail Alliance, Ice Age Trail Days60th Celebration & Community Dinner

All volunteers for this event, regardless of when you work during the August 8 – 12 timeframe are invited to the 60th Anniversary Celebration and farm-to-table dinner on Friday, August 10th.

Volunteers who sign up to work on Friday will automatically be signed up for the festivities on Friday evening.

If you are not working during the day on Friday, but would like to attend the dinner, please email Brad Crary (brad@iceagetrail.org) to express your desire to attend Friday’s dinner.

The farm-to-table dinner is a ticketed event and your name will need to be on the guest list in order to attend.

If you would like to have friends or family join you for the community dinner, they will need to purchase a $25.00 ticket to the event. They may get their tickets here.

Checking In at Base Camp

Volunteers should report each day at the Volunteer Check-In Station across from the Fire Station, 1501 Bourbon Road for registration and assignments (click here for driving directions). Base Camp (also the location of the camping area for those spending a night with us) is at 4409 Rocky Dell Road, Cross Plains, WI (click here for driving directions). Watch for yellow “Ice Age Trail Event” signs as you arrive in the area. Morning and evening meals will be served at Base Camp and lunch will be in the field.

What to Bring

  • Dress for variable weather — even in August extra layers for warmth is advised.
  • Bring sturdy hiking or work boots (no tennis shoes) and leather work gloves.
  • A long-sleeve shirt and pants are recommended for trail work.
  • Bring a day pack, water bottles, sunscreen and a hat. A rain jacket is a good idea.
  • If camping, bring a headlamp, tent, sleeping gear, and toiletries.
  • Bring a lawn chair; you’ll appreciate having it to relax around the fire in comfortable clothes at the end of the day.
  • Ticks or black flies may be numerous so bring your preferred insect and tick repellent.

Questions?

Please contact Brad Crary (262-370-2995) or the IATA office (800-227-0046).

We hope to see you soon!

Happy Trails,

The Cross Plains Segment MSC Project Team

Note: Header photo by Dave Caliebe.

Generous Sponsors of the 2018 Mobile Skills Crew Season:

Ice Age Trail Alliance, Ice Age National Scenic Trail, REI Co-Op, Corporate Partners, Shop local

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

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

Crew Leadership and Skills Training is Now Open!

Ice Age Trail Alliance, Ice Age National Scenic Trail, Crew Leadership Training, Mobile Skills Crew Season 2018

Crew Leaders actively participate and provide hands-on training while leading their crews.     Photos by Cameron Gillie of ThePinholething.com

Applications are being accepted!

How do you engage 1,200 volunteers and steadily raise the bar of an award-winning trail program? With terrific volunteer leadership!

Attendance at this training requires a short application which can be found here. Applications are due by March 31 and will be reviewed shortly thereafter, with admittance confirmation issued by April 7. (Completed applications should be emailed to Tim Malzhan, Director of Trail Operations.) Continue reading

A Force of Nature Leads the Way

Ice Age Trail Alliance, Ice Age National Scenic Trail, A Force of Nature, REI Corporate Partner, Pat Witkowski

A Force of Nature: Pat Witkowski. Photo by Joanne Ellarson.

In August I ran 302 miles. At least half of those miles were on trails, many of them on the Ice Age National Scenic Trail. Over the 45 hours that I spent on my feet covering ground, strengthening my body and conditioning my mind, my thoughts often wandered toward the very concept of trails. Carved out of the forest and prairies, trails are not static, one-time projects. They are living, breathing entities needing to be maintained and loved, long after they are created. 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

2018 Regional Rallies – Save the Dates!

Ice Age National Scenic Trail, Ice Age Trail Alliance, Regional Rally, Regional Rallies

Regional volunteer chapter members gather to celebrate successes, share ideas, and benefit from collaboration. Photo by Brad Crary.

Each fall the Ice Age Trail Alliance hosts Regional Rallies to bring together volunteers from across the state for planning, training, and collaboration. These events are excellent opportunities to learn what it takes to create a world class hiking trail and get involved locally.

Participants will hear the latest updates from the Alliance, share chapter successes, and begin planning for 2018 local and regional events. Lunch is provided.

To see a map of all three Regional Rally locations, click here.

Saturday, November 3rd – Chippewa County
Sunday, November 4th – Waupaca County
Saturday, November 10th – Rock County

Schedule

Start: 9 am

Agenda (TBD)

Lunch: We’ll provide the fixins for a “build your own” sandwich bar, while the host chapter provides delicious desserts.

End: 2:30 pm.

Note: The local host chapter may arrange for a nearby hike, or enjoy the afternoon on your own for a fall walk.

Duff Bucket Challenge

We’re bringing back the Duff Bucket Challenge. The fall season is synonymous with decluttering. As you go through your house plumping sofa cushions and clearing off the tops of dressers, corral the small change you find into your Ice Age Trail coffee mug. Empty those coins into a Duff Bucket at a Regional Rally near you, and refill said mug with your favorite morning beverage. Feel virtuous as you settle into the camaraderie and conversation.

Highlight Your Chapter’s Successes with Photos!

As in previous years, we are hosting the ever-popular Chapter Exchanges. This year, we encourage you to highlight your successes with photographs.
Please send 3 – 5 digital photos to Brad Crary at Brad@iceagetrail.org. We will organize them by chapter into a digital presentation, so include your chapter name with the photos.
All photos need to be in Brad’s email box by Monday, October 29th.

Registration

Click the link below to sign up for the Regional Rally nearest you!

Saturday, November 3rd, Obey Interpretive Center at the Chippewa Moraine Ice Age Unit, 13394 County Highway M, New Auburn, WI 54757 (Chippewa County)

Sunday, November 4th, Iola Winter Sports Club, E398 County Road MM, Iola, WI 54945 (Waupaca County)

Saturday, November 10th, Milton House, 18 S Janesville St, Milton, WI 53563 (Rock County)

We hope to see at a Rally near you!

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

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

Cross Plains Celebrates the Ice Age Trail

The Cross Plains Segment shows off its best summer look. Photo Credit: Lou Ann Novak

In 2017 the Village of Cross Plains became one of eight Ice Age Trail Communities. This designation is more than a sign on the highway and a ribbon cutting. It is an invitation to use the Ice Age National Scenic Trail to celebrate the local culture, history, landscape, and businesses.

This July 14 and 15 the Village, in collaboration with the Cross Plains Chamber of Commerce, and the Ice Age Trail Alliance’s Dane County Chapter, will be taking up the invitation to celebrate! Continue reading

Make Friends, Raise Awareness

The Ice Age Trail staffs a food tent at the Wisconsin Farm Technology Days

Hiking at the edge of a pasture.
Photo credit: Rachel Roberts, IAT volunteer

Farm Technology Days  is our chance to feed the farmers who traditionally feed us.

Farm Technology Days (FTD) begins Tuesday, July 11th and runs through Thursday, July 13th. This fundraising opportunity, for the Trail, is about making friends, providing a crucial service, and raising awareness. It’s important to foster a friendly alliance within the farming community; numerous Ice Age Trail segments run alongside swaths of farmland.

While, fences make good neighbors, so does reaching out and being friendly. Let’s be neighborly. Continue reading

Get Out & Give Back – May 20th & 21st

Trail Happenings!

Photo by Dave Caliebe

GET OUT: Hikes

Boost your happiness; immerse yourself in a healthy dose of nature (vitamin Green!).

Dane County Chapter, Cross Plains Segment: Birding Hike

Early spring mornings are the time to see and hear migrating and newly-arrived birds of the woodlands, savanna and prairie habitats along the loop in the highlands above Cross Plains. Bring binoculars; hike leader will help identify avian friends! Continue reading

A Mammoth Invitation to Reimagine

Ice Age National Scenic Trail, Ice Age Trail Alliance, Mobile Skills Crew 2017

“The newly re-routed Ice Age Trail segment is designed to be an attractive walk. This initial 1.5 miles of trail will meander across rolling terrain filled with big oaks. These old trees create a dramatic over-story and help highlight impressive glacial features like large erratics and boulder fields,” stated Dave Caliebe, Trail Program Specialist. Photo by Tim Malzhan

Life’s transformative events might stew and brew for years until one day…poof; we turn around and find our very being has expanded in ways we could barely imagine.

The reimagining of the Ringle Segment is one such transformative event for the Ice Age Trail.  Here, spring peepers chorus, wolves roam, trillium bloom, and rock, as all farmers, geologists, and trail builders know, begets rock.

For those who embrace bringing landscape stories to life, Ringle is a legacy event. Continue reading

A Phenomenal Kick Off to the 2017 MSC Season!

Ice Age Trail Alliance, Soul Shakedown MSC event, Ice Age National Scenic Trail

Brand new trail under construction on the Walla Hi Segment. Photo by Brad Crary

Whew! That’s one way to kick off the trailbuilding season.  2 days, 3 events, 146 volunteers, and 1,994 hours dedicated to enhancing the Ice Age National Scenic Trail.

Thank you to everyone who came out for the first Soul Shakedown of the year!

Ice Age Trail Alliance, Ice Age National Scenic Trail, Walla Hi Segment, Soul Shakedown MSC

Ground work has been laid for ongoing tread construction on the Walla Hi Segment.  Photo by Brad Crary

Continue reading

Voulez-vous Rendezvous?

Ice Age Trail Alliance, Ice Age National Scenic Trail, Winter Rendezvous 2017

Enjoying a winter wonderland during the Winter Rendezvous.
[Photo by David Caliebe]

It’s time for the Ice Age Trail Alliance Mobile Skills Crew Winter Rendezvous – a social gathering for anyone interested in volunteering for, hiking on, or learning more about  the Ice Age National Scenic Trail.

The 2017 trailbuilding season starter’s whistle is ready to blow; all that’s missing is you.

Please join us and choose from expanded Rendezvous options at beautiful Treehaven, a UW-Stevens Point facility near Tomahawk. Continue reading

Phenomenal Trailbuilding Accomplished at Dueling Mobile Skills Crew Projects

Ice Age National Scenic Trail, Ice Age Trail Alliance, Mobile Skills Crew Event 2016

Perfect fall weather created ideal working conditions for #TeamMerrimac and #TeamRibLake. Photo by Joanne Ellarson.

The 2016 Mobile Skills Crew “Stones and Ripples” tour ended in triumph at two project sites. Thanks to the combined efforts of 180 volunteers and a whopping 3,222 volunteer hours, a phenomenal amount of work was accomplished – and finished ahead of schedule.

A sense of community and collaboration formed between the two projects through a good-natured social media duel featuring each team’s creativity and trailbuilding skills. Continue reading

Mobile Skills Crew Season Finale

Ice Age Trail Alliance, Ice Age National Scenic Trail, Mobile Skills Crew Season Finale

Photo credit: Dave Caliebe

What to do when the best laid plans hit a snag? As all seasoned volunteers know…with eyes forward, you shift on a dime and give it all you’ve got!

The planned Storrs Lake project in Rock County is on hold for 2016, regrettably. This change of plans, therefore, enables us to finish what we’ve started, which we strive to do. This mindset led us to organize two Mobile Skills Crew events which will run concurrently from Thursday, October 20 through Sunday, October 23.

The Sauk County event (Merrimac Segment) will build 3,600 feet of tread that was corridor cleared at the August event. The Taylor County event (Rib Lake Segment) will focus on finishing up work began in May on the Timm’s Hill Trail Connector. (The Sauk County project will be the larger of the two events.) Continue reading

Bestow a High Honor

Award nominations are due!

Ice Age Trail Alliance, Ice Age National Scenic Trail, Public Award NominationsDo you like to be recognized for the time and energy you spend on a project?  If so, then you know how good it feels to bask in someone’s appreciation and words of praise (even if it feels as little embarrassing or awkward).

Now is your opportunity to turn the tables and heap a little admiration on someone else who has stepped up in a significant way in support of the Ice Age National Scenic Trail. Continue reading

A Little TLC – and Voila! – Beauty Revealed: Help Build the Ice Age Trail

Ice Age Trail Alliance, Ice Age National Scenic Trail, Polk County Mobile Skills Crew Projec

Sunset on Straight Lake
Photo Credit: Rita Fox

Huge volumes of molten lava gushed through a split in the earth’s crust a billion years ago, forming the exposed basalt rock outcroppings we see along the Straight Lake and Trade River segments of the Ice Age National Scenic Trail. Toss in a continent-sized glacier 10,000 years ago, four Mobile Skills Crew events five years ago, steady love from local trail maintainers and — voila! — a signature section of the Ice Age Trail, the gift we and countless others enjoy today. Continue reading

Successful Hands-On Learning!

Ice Age National Scenic Trail, Ice Age Trail Alliance, Mobile Skills Crew Merrimac 2016

The new 24-foot-long bridge, with lengthy approach ramps, for a total of 268 feet of boardwalk, now spans Parfrey’s Glen Creek. Photo credit: Dave Caliebe

August is prime time for community festivals big and small, celebrating the heart of each locale. Last week’s MSC event in Sauk and Columbia Counties rolled out the big top, anchored by four heavyweights of the Ice Age Trail – stonework, trailbuilding, woodworking, and most importantly, learning. These four anchors held the big top sturdy through high winds and downpours. These four anchors play a key part, every day, along the Ice Age Trail, expanding the big top to include more volunteers and hikers. Continue reading

Taylor County Trailbuilding Event

Ice Age Trail Alliance Ice Age National Scenic Trail Mobile Skills Crew Event July 2016

Photo Credit: D. Caliebe – morning mist rising on Wood Lake

July is a month of celebrations. Picture puttering around the garden in the early hours of the day, or gathering with friends around a grill while enjoying the flicker of fireflies in the dusky hours of a long summer evening. On weekends, a great migration occurs as folks shuffle routines and voyage north to forests and picturesque lakes for peace of mind and adventure.

We hope you’ll join us for a mid-summer adventure of your own! Head North with us for our second Mobile Skills Crew project in Taylor County this year and fifth in the last 15 months; we’re tackling a whole lot of lumber, rock, and dirt across 50 miles of Taylor County. Continue reading

Thank You

The Alliance’s Annual Conference and Membership Meeting was a success on many fronts. Guided hikes at the Plover River, Underdown and Dells of the Eau Claire segments, despite being blanketed in a late spring snow, provided the opportunity to recharge and enjoy a saunter with Trail friends from far and wide.

The Conference also featured new opportunities including daily raffles, a live auction and the final act of the Duff Bucket Challenge. The combined generosity of donors and attendees was overwhelming.

We would like to thank our generous sponsors and Trail supporters:

REI        FAV High Res Fontana Logo in Green            CWO-Logo---for-Dark-background

JHenrySons_Logo_K                             ICF logo_2015_blue on white               wawanissee logo           

ALF logo

We also want to thank Dean Dversdall and Bob Lange for their donations.

These gifts and collective energy generated at the Annual Conference make hikes and experiences on the Ice Age National Scenic Trail a reality, forming stories that shape generations. Thank you to our donors, sponsors and attendees for making these experiences. Don’t take it from us, though…let members, hikers and friends of the Trail tell their story. Enjoy our first installment of Storytellers:

The songs “Happy” and “St. Louis” used with permission by Widespread Panic.

A new safety initiative for Ice Age Trail volunteers

In conjunction with the National Park Service, we are excited to share with you a new safety initiative designed specifically for trail volunteers called “Trail Safe!

Trail Safe! is a very unique safety initiative, based upon NPS Operational Leadership training, where the human factor of safety is explored. Topics include things such as Stress & Performance, Situational Awareness, Effective Leadership, and more. NPS Operational Leadership training is typically a 16-hour classroom commitment, which is impractical for all Ice Age Trail volunteers to attend. Trail Safe! explores all of the core learning objectives found in NPS Operational Leadership training, but is made available to you in a series of eight short, self-study videos. Individual Trail Safe! video lessons run between 18 and 40 minutes long, and the entire series can be viewed in just three hours from the comfort of your own home.

In many of the lessons you’ll see your fellow Ice Age Trail volunteers (or maybe even yourself) in the featured photos!

To access the Trail Safe! video series, go to the National Park Service’s website for the Ice Age National Scenic Trail. On the main page scroll down to the Trail Safe! feature and click on the link. From there you will be able to open and play all Trail Safe! lessons. Please watch them in numeric order from Lesson #1 through Lesson #8, as the learning concepts for each lesson build upon the previous lessons.

IMPORTANT: After viewing each Trail Safe! lesson, please be sure to go back to the main web page to complete the Training Verification Roster which is found at the bottom of the Trail Safe! page just below Lesson #8. Completing the Training Verification Roster takes just a few moments and gives you credit for having participated in this important training tool. Once you have viewed all eight lessons and submitted Training Verification Rosters for each lesson, you’ll receive a Trail Safe! pin and other job aids through the mail from the National Park Service.

Thank you in advance for participating in Trail Safe! and for helping ensure other volunteers learn about this important safety initiative. Specific questions about Trail Safe! may be directed to NPS Volunteer Coordinator Daniel Watson at daniel_watson@nps.gov.