Highlighting the Glacial Beauty of the Blue Hills Region

Images worth a thousand words: Glacial rock and water formations are scattered throughout this beautiful landscape in Rusk County. Volunteers took in the sights while walking the land and planning how to best route future trail to highlight and preserve these features. Photos by Dave Caliebe.

Over four days, 19 individuals methodically explored more than six square miles of remote Rusk County. Building on the trail layout event last October, we continued to narrow down the locations for future Ice Age National Scenic Trail. Our group sought ways to connect significant geological features of the area and avoid wetlands and logging interaction where ever possible.

An image of a group of people standing in a field. One man stands with his back to the camera and gives instructions to a dozen volunteers standing socially distanced from one another.
Dave Caliebe instructs the tight-knit volunteer group on the plan before they set to exploring the land over the next four days. Photo by Patrick Gleissner.

The first morning began with training: how to read the landscape, the proper use of a clinometer, and even practicing tying ribbon on trees. Then, in groups of three or four, volunteers traversed the woods looking for buildable and sustainable route options.

While hundreds of additional hours are needed to clarify route options, we’re moving closer to the new 17-mile section becoming a reality.

An image of a man hiking in the woods. He stares off to the right in momentary pause.
Don Smalley takes momentary pause on his route to ponder the best course to take. Photo by Patrick Gleissner.
An image of a man tying a red ribbon around tree.
Wendel Holl ties a ribbon around a tree, marking the path of future trail. Photo by Patrick Gleissner.

Up Next:

May 18 – 20, Montrose Segment, Dane County (This event is full.)
A new, 330-foot-long boardwalk will keep boots dry and the Trail open and accessible. Additional stewardship opportunities to enhance the Trail corridor will round out the event.

July 7 – 10, Jerry Lake Segment, Taylor County (Registration open.)
It’s time to replace the structures built over Sailor Creek with a heavy-duty Forest Service bridge. This small-scale bridge and boardwalk building event will be composed primarily of local chapter members and additional folks as needed. Register now.

Ice Age Trail, Ice Age National Scenic Trail, Reconnect, Trail Improvement Days

See our full schedule upcoming events here: 2021 Reconnect Events.

Generous Sponsors of the 2021 Mobile Skills Crew Trailbuilding Season include:

Duluth Trading Company REI