Land Protection and Management

The Ice Age Trail is not yet complete. One step in completing the Trail, and one of our goals, is permanently protecting the land.

What does permanent protection mean?

Protecting the entire Ice Age Trail requires more than 1,000 land transactions to fill the current gaps in the Trail.

The Ice Age Trail Alliance is a land trust accredited by the Land Trust Accreditation Commission. This means we complete land transactions and own land and conservation easements that protect the Trail. We also work with our state and federal agency partners, counties, local communities and other land trusts to protect land for the Trail.

Tools for protecting the Ice Age Trail

With your support, we are able to use a variety of tools to secure permanent protection for the Trail. The Alliance protects the Trail by acquiring:

  • Land
  • Conservation easements
  • Trail easements

When land is acquired, we (or one of our partners) become the owner of the property. On a private property that hosts the Trail, an easement allows the landowner to keep ownership while protecting the route of the Trail and, in many cases, the land surrounding it.

The 3 land protection options above can take place as a purchase by the Alliance or as a donation or reduced-price sale. Donations and reduced-price sales are often tax deductible for the donor.

There are many other options for working with landowners to protect the Trail. We accept donations of real estate that help us meet our mission. Leaving land to the Alliance as part of an estate plan is another option for landowners.

Managing the land

Permanent protection of the Ice Age Trail also involves the responsible management of land that we own or hold easements on. We regularly manage and monitor our properties. This includes activities such as:

  • Building new Ice Age Trail, parking areas, dispersed camping areas and loop trails
  • Managing the impacts of invasive species
  • Monitoring properties that have easements
  • Marking property boundaries
  • Restoring native landscapes
  • Keeping properties clean of litter

We also coordinate with landowners who are doing this work on private property across which the Ice Age Trail travels. An example is the Swamplovers Foundation, which manages land that hosts a portion of the Table Bluff Segment in Dane County.

Are you a landowner interested in preserving your land?

We’d love to have you involved. If your land is on or near the route of the Trail, we may be able to work with you to protect the property. If the land is not near the Trail, there may be an opportunity for a donation that would benefit the Ice Age Trail and generations of its users.

For more information, please contact Director of Land Conservation Kevin Thusius at [email protected] or (800) 227-0046.