Enhance Biodiversity Through Seed Collecting!

By Eva Ballering, Land Steward at the Ice Age Trail Alliance
Ice Age National Scenic Trail, Ice Age Trail Alliance, Prairie, Sunset, Summer
A blooming prairie in summer: insects buzz from flower to flower, enriching themselves on sweet nectar. Thick leaves rustle loudly in the hot humid air. Purples and yellows blend together at the horizon. Photo by Eva Ballering.
Following the phenology of the season can be one of life’s greatest pleasures for prairie enthusiasts. With the late summer burst of color, in its final hurrah for the season, the majority of plants start to wind down and prepare for winter. Although this is a notable event, the prairie has been busy all season.  By the time the prairie is in full bloom, many species have already taken their turn to flower, attract pollinators, and produce seed.

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Mammoth Beauty Celebration!

Ice Age Trail Alliance, Ice Age National Scenic Trail, Mammoth Steps, National Trails Day, Lodi Marsh Segment, Dane County
A mother and son enjoy a spring saunter on the Lodi Marsh Segment in Dane County. Photo by Joshua Fager.
Imaginehikers safely sauntering along the entire Ice Age National Scenic Trail from end to end in a single day!

Imagineif they photographed the best features of the Ice Age Trail along the way: the expansive views, tread unfurling ahead, and ephemerals peeking up from the forest floor.

Imaginea snapshot of the Ice Age Trail, in its entirety, as it looks on a single day!

This vision could become a reality with your help.

We have 120 Ice Age Trail segments waiting for you to enjoy, camera in hand and eyes finely-tuned for beauty, as part of our National Trails Day celebration on Saturday, June 6.

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Spring’s Woodland Beauties

Ice Age Trail Alliance, Ice Age National Scenic Trail, Woodland flowers on the IAT, Refuge in uncertain times, COVID-19, pandemic
Hepatica blooms along the Gibraltar Rock Segment of the Ice Age Trail. Photo by Nazan Gillie.
It’s a pleasant surprise to find small, dainty wildflowers peeking up through rough, brown leaves scattered across the forest floor. Such delicate beauty after a stark, frozen winter. Their emergence is a less a lesson about timing and patience, than it is of hardiness. They barely wait for a thawing earth before they surface and each year, it seems, their hardiness is tested as they endure one last snowy lashing of winter.

As you turn your face to the sun and head out on a hike, be on the look out for these woodland beauties:

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Give Forest Bathing a Try!

Ice Age National Scenic Trail, Ice Age Trail Alliance, Forest Bathing, Shinrin-Yoku, Milwaukee River SEgment
Along the Milwaukee River Segment of the Ice Age Trail. Photo by Cameron Gillie.
The term “forest bathing” may bring up some odd images and a few questions, but in Japan, forest bathing, called “Shinrin-yoku” in Japanese, is a leisurely visit to a forest. Shinrin means “forest,” and yoku means “bath.” So Shinrin-yoku means bathing in the forest atmosphere, or taking in the forest through our senses. The aim of forest bathing is to slow down and let ourselves become immersed in the natural environment around us. Continue reading

Celebrate Spring with a Hike!

Ice Age Trail Alliance, Ice Age National Scenic Trail, Spring Hikes, Chapter-led hikes

Bring your tribe hiking on the Ice Age National Scenic Trail.                                                         Photos by: Luke Kloberdanz, James Mills, Cameron Gillie

As the snow melts, trees bud out, and wildflowers begin adding a glimmer of color to the Trail, chapter-led hikes begin populating the Ice Age Trail Alliance calendar in earnest.

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Be a Nature Princess … At Any Age!

Ice Age National Scenic Trail, Ice Age Trail Alliance, Force of Nature, Trailtessa Retreats

Be Fanciful. Be a Force of Nature. Be a Nature Princess…at any age! Make a crown, dust off your boots, and come explore the wild kingdom on the Dunes Segment of the Ice Age National Scenic Trail. Photo by Woodland Dunes Nature Center staff.

Be Adventurous. Do Princesses climb trees and get dirty? Absolutely. This program, inspired by the children’s book, “Do Princesses Wear Hiking Boots?”, is designed to be a royally good time, packed with opportunities to get out and get messy. Continue reading

Backpacking the Ice Age Trail

We’ve hit our group-size limit for this event. We hope you’ll join us next time!

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Join us for a 4-day backpacking trip in one of the most pristine sections of the Ice Age Trail – the Chequamegon National Forest. This outing is a collaboration of the Ice Age Trail Alliance and the Verona Ice Age Trail Community.

Trip Details

Dates: Monday, September 18th – Thursday, September 21, 2017 (departing at 7:30 a.m. from the Old County Road PB park & ride in Verona) Continue reading

Cross Plains Celebrates the Ice Age Trail

The Cross Plains Segment shows off its best summer look. Photo Credit: Lou Ann Novak

In 2017 the Village of Cross Plains became one of eight Ice Age Trail Communities. This designation is more than a sign on the highway and a ribbon cutting. It is an invitation to use the Ice Age National Scenic Trail to celebrate the local culture, history, landscape, and businesses.

This July 14 and 15 the Village, in collaboration with the Cross Plains Chamber of Commerce, and the Ice Age Trail Alliance’s Dane County Chapter, will be taking up the invitation to celebrate! Continue reading

Get Out & Give Back – May 20th & 21st

Trail Happenings!

Photo by Dave Caliebe

GET OUT: Hikes

Boost your happiness; immerse yourself in a healthy dose of nature (vitamin Green!).

Dane County Chapter, Cross Plains Segment: Birding Hike

Early spring mornings are the time to see and hear migrating and newly-arrived birds of the woodlands, savanna and prairie habitats along the loop in the highlands above Cross Plains. Bring binoculars; hike leader will help identify avian friends! Continue reading

Explore the Kettle Moraine

Ice Age National Scenic Trail, Ice Age Trail Alliance, Parnell Segment Northern Kettle Moraine State Forest

Photo credit: B. Bednarek, Parnell Segment, view from Parnell Tower

Did you know, world famous glacial landscape features are within an easy drive from your front door?

This might not seem like such a big deal until you consider that walking across the high ridge of an esker, or peering down into a kettle lake is a bit like time travel, giving you a peek into how the landscape of Wisconsin was formed.

Conveniently, the almost 30,000 acres of the Northern Kettle Moraine State Forest contains some of the most stellar glacial remnants of the last Ice Age. In fact, this region was formed as two tongue-shaped ice sheets collided, creating a valley of ice some 10,000 years ago. As these huge sheets of ice melted, the meltwater cascaded into crevasses carrying sand, gravel, and boulders, depositing them along the way. This is what shaped the rolling ridges and deep kettles – large crater-like depressions – that make up the topography of this beautiful forest. Continue reading

Explore a Trail Segment Near You!

Ice Age National Scenic Trail John Muir County Park

A trail flows through a sea of wildflowers in the John Muir County Park.
Photo credit: K. Mcgwin

Trails do not just magically appear in the woods or along a ridgeline for our hiking pleasure. It might seem like it as we take a stroll down a long, shaded path, with a glimpse of it unfolding ahead of us. Most of us don’t spend a lot of time thinking about how a trail is constructed or the dedicated hours of design and layout (about a 100 hours) involved for every mile of trail, not counting the hours dedicated to the actual building, mile per mile, of trail.

In fact, most of us have a limited knowledge of exactly how many miles of trails exist in our country, not thinking perhaps beyond the trails in our own county or state parks, or the few mountain trails we’ve hiked, in Colorado, perhaps. It turns out, according to the American Hiking Society, there are 200,000 miles of trail throughout the United States. Continue reading