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.

Ice Age Trail Alliance, Ice Age National Scenic Trail, Merrimac MSC 2016

A crew tackles the initial phase required in building new boardwalk.
Photo credit: Dave Caliebe

In all, 118 volunteers lent themselves to one or more of the anchors for 2,835 hours. Four distinct IAT-U seminars offered a total of eight training sessions: Camp Chef, Property Monitoring; Chain Saw Certification; and First Aid & CPR. Hands-on learning extended to opening a 268-foot bridge and boardwalk. Over a third of a mile was cleared and prepared for construction and 18 rock steps and five walls were built.

Ice Age Trail Alliance, Ice Age National Scenic Trail, Beacon Award, Dolly McNulty

Dolly McNulty (in yellow), surrounded by friends and fans, was recognized by the National Park Service with the Beacon Award for her innovative ColdCache program which introduces youth to geologic features along the Trail.
Photo credit: Jo Ellarson

Thanks to:
• Linda Lynch and Riverland Conservancy for providing base camp, funding and assistance before the event
REI and the National Park Service for financial support
• Bob Thompson for drinking water
• State Assemblyman Dave Considine for touring the work site and getting to know the Trail and volunteers
Baraboo Hills and Lodi Valley chapters for snacks and help before and during the event
• Neal and Donna Meier for their tireless efforts with project support and running errands to keep the project moving forward
Village of Merrimac for use of the Village Hall for training sessions

To help plan and improve future trail projects, take time to fill out a quick survey with your thoughts!

Next up:
Cooler temps and the changing leaves of autumn welcome us to Polk County towards the western end of the Ice Age Trail. Join us September 14-18 near Luck to construct new boardwalk, fix up older boardwalk and open four new dispersed camping areas.