A Brilliant Finale for the 2020 Trailbuilding Season

Ice Age Trail Alliance, Ice Age National Scenic Trail, Ringle Segment, Marathon County, Mobile Skills Crew Project, Reconnect
A volunteer crew shovels rotten granite into a pile for distribution along soft tread. Photo by Dave Caliebe.
Like the witch-hazel flowers that dazzle in autumn as its leaves fall to the ground, the 2020 Reconnect Mobile Skills Crew Trailbuilding Season had a final flourish before settling in for winter. We all needed a bright spot this year, and Mother Nature provided plenty of brilliance during the Ringle Mobile Skills Crew (MSC) event. The weather, the leaves, the volunteers were perfect.

It was a much-needed respite from the unsettled “real” world. Bad news only came when your name was called to help move rotten granite. Continue reading

Hike Responsibly: 13 Things to Know

Ice Age Trail Alliance, Ice age national Scenic Trail, COVID-19, Hiking Responsibly
Bohn Lake Segment, Washara County. Photo by Dave Caliebe.
The weather is perfect: sunshine, a light breeze, blue sky. It’s ideal hiking conditions. However, our nation is in the midst of a COVID-19 pandemic. What’s a responsible hiker and Ice Age Trail enthusiast to do?

Help Flatten the Curve:  

  1. Stay Local. Limit travel to within your community (or county). If you do not live near an Ice Age Trail segment, please enjoy your local county or city parks, or your own back yard.
  2. Let Go. Set aside your Thousand-Miler goal, whether it was to section-hike segments, or to begin a long-distance, multi-day thru-hike.

Hike Responsibly, if You Choose to Hike: Continue reading

The IAT & Closing/Reopening of Public Land

Ice Age Trail Alliance, Ice Age National Scenic Trail, COVID-19, Closing of Public Land, Impact of Governor Evers' order on the Ice Age Trail.

What to Know Before You Go!

The Ice Age National Scenic Trail is open (except where it crosses federally owned land in the Chequamegon-Nicolet National Forest).

As of 5/01/2020, 34 of the 40 state parks, forests, and natural areas, previously closed, will now be reopened.

Reopening does NOT extend to restrooms, campsites, towers, shelters, playgrounds, nature centers, headquarters, contact stations, and concession buildings. These facilities remain closed until May 26, 2020. Continue reading

Summer Storm Trail Conditions

Ice Age Trail Alliance, Ice Age National Scenic Trail, Volunteer Chapters, Trail Conditions, Storm Damage

Summer storm damage. The northern tier of Wisconsin was hit by terrible storms with shear winds and tornadic activity, July 19, and July 20. Photo by Jason Pursell.

Summer Storm = Big Damage

Shear winds and tornadic activity ravaged the North and Central regions of Wisconsin this past weekend, July 19, and July 20, 2019. Expect to see a significant number of trees down along the Ice Age National Scenic Trail corridor.

Please exercise caution and common sense if you are considering a hike on any segment north of Highway 10, especially if you are planning to go anytime in the next two weeks. Areas where damage has been reported along the Ice Age Trail include (but are not limited to) the following: Polk, Barron, Langlade, Portage, and Waupaca counties.

Please know our dedicated volunteers, Seasonal Trail Crew, and partner agencies like the County parks and the Department of Natural Resources are busy assessing the damage and are taking the necessary steps to begin the safe removal of fallen trees and other debris. Continue reading

Trail Conditions

Ice Age Trail Alliance, Ice Age National Scenic Trail, Volunteer Chapters, Trail Conditions, Storm Damage

Tornado damage along County Highway F just north of the John Muir Segment in Marquette County. Photo by thru-hiker, Jason Pursell.

Trail Condition Highlights

Parnell Segment: 

The Parnell Segment near Butler Lake was hit hard during an August 31st storm which produced high winds and tornados and many trees were blown down. While the staff of the Kettle Moraine State Forest-Northern Unit have downplayed the extent of the damage, hiker reports (as recently as 11/02/2018) indicate the route is still extremely treacherous and it is exceedingly easy to get lost. The on-going IATA  recommendation is to avoid the Parnell Segment at this point in time.

Firth Lake Segment:

A portion of the Firth Lake Segment in Chippewa County has been closed by a private landowner. In order to bypass that segment, which extends from east of Firth Lake SIATA and Chippewa County Forest to about 1 mile west of Hwy CC, it is necessary to bypass everything between Hwy CC and Firth Lake. Continue reading