Part of the Ice Age National Scenic Trail’s beauty is its ability to shepherd hikers through the varied landscape of Wisconsin, including hard-to-get-to or otherwise inaccessible places. Thanks to 88 volunteers donating 2,185 service hours, a new segment winds through the Ice Age Trail Alliance-owned Rice Lake Preserve.
This less-than-a-mile-long gem in Marathon County offers passage through a tranquil white cedar swamp, now hosting an 873-foot-long boardwalk. Well-crafted tread – more than 1,500 feet of it – traverses the hemlock-and white-pine-dotted eskers rising from the forest floor.
For a few years, the Preserve rested comfortably along County Y, interrupting a nearly 29-mile road walk by offering a Dispersed Camping Area (DCA). Then, in 2020, with generous donors and a matching campaign led by Prairie Springs: The Paul Fleckenstein Trust, the Preserve’s acreage expanded, protecting 2,620 feet of lake and creek shoreline. With this additional land came the opportunity to build new Ice Age Trail. The segment gleams with bright yellow blazes, and stepping stones cross the valley floor connecting two eskers. Crews also left the land in better shape, removing hundreds of pounds of junk from the property’s old dump piles.
For making this project possible, special thanks to:
- Prairie Springs: The Paul Fleckenstein Trust for the financial support to permanently protect the Rice Lake Preserve and help build the Trail.
- Judd S. Alexander Foundation for funding the event and project priorities.
- The friends and family of Barbara and Jerry Larson for the financial support of the more than 800 feet of boardwalk.
- The Marathon County Landfill for providing a basecamp and disposal of refuse cleaned up from the Preserve.
- Gail Piotrowski and Central Moraines Chapter members, especially Rick and Karla Larson for all of their time, commitment, and hard work.
- Matthew and Maggie Christians for providing gallons and gallons of drinking water for the project, along with pitching in whether in the swamp or in the kitchen!
- Steph Hoff for doing a swell job as Crew Leader Manager.
- All the Crew Leaders who led crews throughout the week.
- Debbie Krogwold and Mary Retzke for keeping everyone well-fed and happy.
- Lisa and Paul for welcoming us into Lisa’s @ Lakeside for a delicious buffet dinner.
- Anyone who carried lumber for the project, which was everyone.
Come enjoy this jewel – the result of volunteers’ dedication and hard work.
LaBudde Creek Segment, Sheboygan County
August 18 – 21, 2022
Join us. Help provide hikers with an additional mile of new Trail through a recently acquired State Ice Age Trail Area protecting the LaBudde Creek watershed in Sheboygan County. This project will extend the segment, connecting County Road MM with Ridge Creek Road. We will also have crews engaged in trail maintenance all along the segment and capable hands will build a boardwalk on the Walla Hi Segment.
Generous Sponsors of the 2022 MSC Trailbuilding Season include: