June 25, 2013
Cross Plains, Wis. — The Ice Age Trail Alliance took another step toward its commitment to the Ice Age National Scenic Trail by purchasing the building that serves as its headquarters in Cross Plains, Wis.
The Alliance, the nonprofit arm of a federal-state-nonprofit partnership that administers the Ice Age Trail, was able to acquire the building on May 14 thanks to a generous lead gift from the Henry and Margaret Reuss family, long-time supporters of the Trail.
Since moving into the building in 2009, Executive Director Mike Wollmer said Cross Plains has proven to be a fitting location for the organization’s central office.
“The community here is incredibly supportive,” Wollmer said, “and we have made a commitment to Cross Plains with this purchase. The quality of the natural environment in this area also represents what the Ice Age Trail Alliance values as a conservation-minded organization.”
Many refer to Cross Plains as the “Gateway to the Driftless Area” because it sits at the edge of the glacier’s reach in the state. Thousands of acres of conserved lands protect the resulting bluffs and wetlands, some of which host the Cross Plains Segment of the Ice Age Trail. Black Earth Creek, one of many trout streams in the area, runs behind the office.
Director of Trail Operations Tim Malzhan also pointed out that the building is located on the Ice Age Trail, making IATA staff a readily accessible resource.
“We wanted to have the opportunity to interact with hikers and people interested in the Trail and offer them our assistance,” said Malzhan, “and now we have that. People stop by the office every day.”
Wollmer also noted that one central location has allowed for better efficiency in carrying out the IATA’s mission. A staff of 10 works out of the Cross Plains office. The organization’s two main partners – the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources and the National Park Service – have offices in nearby Madison.
The late Henry and Margie Reuss, whose family made the building purchase possible, were dedicated supporters of the Ice Age Trail. As a Wisconsin Congressman, Henry Reuss sponsored the legislation in 1980 that established the Trail as a National Scenic Trail. His 1990 book, On the Trail of the Ice Age, was one of the first guides to hiking the Trail. The Reuss family offered the gift toward the IATA building purchase to honor the memory of their parents and their family’s commitment to the Trail.
The Ice Age Trail Alliance is a nonprofit volunteer- and member-based organization established in 1958 that works to build, maintain and promote the Ice Age National Scenic Trail. One of only 11 National Scenic Trails, the Ice Age Trail is a thousand-mile footpath that highlights Wisconsin’s world-renowned Ice Age heritage and natural resources. Visit www.iceagetrail.org to learn more.
CONTACT: Mike Wollmer, IATA Executive Director, 800-227-0046, [email protected]