Trailbuilding & Stewardship Event

Ice Age National Scenic Trail, Ice Age Trail Alliance, Trailbuilding and Stewardship Event, Gibraltar Rock, Mobile Skills Crew Season
A crew burns brush piles to restore a remnant prairie along the Gibraltar Rock Segment in Columbia County. Photo by Kevin Thusius.

For the fourth year running, we plan to torch eastern red cedar and other undesirable woody plants to restore a wonderful remnant prairie along the Gibraltar Rock Segment of the Ice Age National Scenic Trail.

Already, many pockets of native prairie species are thriving where trees have been removed and seeds are exposed to sunlight. With every push to restore native prairie we also push to revitalize the beautiful views of Wisconsin’s unique topography and waterways.

This special Leap Day event is a twice-in-a-decade type of experience, don’t miss out!
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Ice and Stalwart Volunteers!

Ice Age Trail Alliance, Ice Age National Scenic Trail, Boardwalk construction, Mobile Skills Crew events 2020
We’re befriending ice to set 22 bridge abutments beneath 8 inches of ice and through 30 inches of cold, dark water to support what will become a 577-foot-long boardwalk elevated 6 feet. Photo by Kevin Kuhlmann.

Wednesday, February 5th, through Saturday, February 8th, we embark on the most complex boardwalk construction project in Alliance history.
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Thank You!

Ice Age Trail Alliance, Ice Age National Scenic Trail, Year-End Thank You, $50,000 Challenge Match

A father-daughter duo hike the Jerry Lake Segment of the Ice Age National Scenic Trail. Photo by Jessica Featherstone

We are humbled and inspired by the 500+ donors who helped us surpass our $50,000 Challenge Match. Your collective generosity ranged from $5 to $5,000 and came from 17 different states showing the impact the Ice Age National Scenic Trail has on communities close by and those far afield.

Your support inspires us, underpinning all we do, as we work to create, support, and protect the Ice Age Trail. We look forward to doing justice to your donations by improving the Trail, foot-by-foot and acre-by-acre. Continue reading

Trailbuilding Results: Audacious. Sustainable. Inspiring.

Ice Age Trail Alliance, Ice Age National Scenic Trail, Ice Age Interpretive Site

A volunteer helps build a brand new portion of the Ice Age Trail on the Cross Plains Ice Age Interpretive Site Thursday on the second day of the five-day Mobile Skills Crew event. (Photo by Cameron Gillie-www.aroundwisco.com)

165 volunteers over the course of 3,751 hours helped create audacious, sustainable, inspiring results! 

The physical highlights – sandstone outcrops, windswept views for miles, a glacial story carved in stone, timber retaining walls, a 48-ft Bridge, two elevated boardwalks, and thousands of feet of artfully crafted trail wending harmoniously with and across the landscape – will surely be appreciated for generations to come.

Less apparent are the quiet keys to success; your dedication, your selfless teamwork, and the way in which you cheerfully stuck with what must have felt, at times, like thankless, but no less important, tasks.

Thank you!  We are grateful for all you did to create a masterful new section of the Ice Age National Scenic Trail!

As we head into the July 4th weekend, there is much to celebrate! Bring your friends and family out to this new section of Trail and show them what a force for good and a collaborative spirit can create!

Download a Project Outcomes map to get a better sense of where the progress is being made for this multi-year project.

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Volunteer Spotlight – Gerald “Buzz” Meyer

Buzz immersed in a good-natured story. Anyone who’s worked with Buzz or accepted a shuttle from him knows he’s a masterful storyteller. Photo by Jo Ellarson.

Article by guest writer, Erika Cannaday

Gerald “Buzz” Meyer’s commitment to the Ice Age National Scenic Trail started with an article in the Star News. One bright morning, in 1990, while paging through the paper, he read about a hike on the Timm’s Hill Trail. While it wasn’t part of the Ice Age Trail, it would become a National Scenic Side Trail. The event was a fundraiser for the High Point Chapter. He decided to participate and set out gathering sponsors, raising somewhere between $50 and $100. After a few years of minimal commitment, he was asked to help out at one of the Chapter’s trail improvement days. Ten years later when Bob Rusch, the Chapter’s volunteer coordinator stepped down, Buzz took on the role he’s now held for nearly twenty years. Continue reading

Announcing IATA Photo Contest

Ice Age National Scenic Trail Jerry Lake Segment Taylor County Chippewa Moraine

A glimpse of boardwalk along the Jerry Lake Segment of the Chippewa Moraine in Taylor County.
Photo credit: D. Caliebe

We Need Photographs of the Ice Age National Scenic Trail!

We are on the lookout for photos we can use in our publications. Right now, we have a 2020 edition of Ice Age Trail Guidebook in the works.

What makes the Guidebook so valuable, besides detailed segment-by-segment descriptions and maps, is the high quality, expressive photographs it contains. Most of the pictures were taken, not by professional photographers, but by trail enthusiasts who snapped the shot while out hiking! Each photo wonderfully captures the beauty of the trail experience. Continue reading

Government Shutdown and the IAT

Ice Age National Scenic Trail, Ice Age Trail Alliance, Government Shutdown, National Park Service, Volunteers in the Park insurance program

Snow covered boardwalk along the Plover River Segment, Marathon County. Photo by Rachel Roberts.

First the Good News:

The Ice Age National Scenic Trail remains open for hiking, snowshoeing, running, and backpacking. Please continue to enjoy the Ice Age Trail and the activities which get you outside and bring you joy.

Now, for the Not-So Good News:

Even though the Ice Age Trail itself is not closed during the government shutdown, ALL VOLUNTEER-BASED activities are suspended. Continue reading

Spectacular MSC Season Finale

Ice Age Trail Alliance, Ice Age National Scenic Trail, Langlade County MSC, Mobile Skills Crew event 2018

The rock work crew proudly gathers at the culmination of their efforts. Photo by Alaina Dedo.

The Mobile Skills Crew 2018 (MSC) season finale was a thundering conclusion to a successful season of Ice Age National Scenic Trail development, construction, and stewardship. The first-ever MSC event in Langlade County generated the most project hours in the history of all IATA events, and the most miles of new Trail opened in one fell swoop since such data has been reliably tracked. Continue reading

Mobile Skills Crew Trailbuilding Event – Old Railroad Segment, Langlade County

Register here

Overview:

This event is all-hands-on-deck & a HUGE opportunity! Please join us and help reroute and reimagine nearly 10 miles of the Ice Age Trail. This is the first MSC event to occur in the gargantuan tableau of Langlade County and promises to be fun for all.

No previous experience is necessary; training is provided by certified volunteer crew leaders. There will be roles for all ages and abilities. The IATA provides food, tools, and campsites free to all who volunteer.

See a map of the project area [PDF]

Schedule:

Your contribution is welcome for any part of the event or the entire project. Work begins on Tuesday, October 9, and concludes Sunday, October 14. Trail construction activities begin each day around 8:00 a.m. and typically wrap up between 4:00 and 5:00 p.m. On Sunday, work ends by noon.

What to Bring:

  • We recommend a long-sleeve shirt and pants for trail work.
  • Plan for variable weather – bring warm layers and rain gear.
  • Sturdy hiking or work boots (no tennis shoes) and leather work gloves.
  • Day pack, water bottles, insect repellent, sunscreen and a hat.
  • If camping, bring a headlamp, tent, sleeping gear and toiletries.
  • Consider bringing a lawn chair; you’ll appreciate having it to relax around the fire in comfortable clothes at the end of the day.

Special Notes:

We love dogs, but we ask that you not bring them to this event. Woolly mammoths are welcome.

Old Railroad Segment: North woods extravaganza!

Morning mist rises on one of the many lakes along the re-imagined Old Railroad Segment. Photo by Dave Caliebe.

A grand time of year to be in the north woods is when the sugar maple, oak, and aspen light up in fall colors and, at long last, the mosquitoes, gnats, and flies have had their final say for the season.

Beginning Tuesday, October 9th and continuing through Sunday, October 14th, please join us for the season-finale of the 2018 Mobile Skills Crew “Light the Candles” tour and help create a new, nearly 10-mile long, reroute of Ice Age Trail in Langlade County.

This event is all-hands-on-deck and a HUGE opportunity to elevate the hiker experience in the north woods. Continue reading

Mobile Skills Crew Trailbuilding Event – Cross Plains Segment, Dane County

Register here

Join supporters and staff as we celebrate 60 years of building, stewarding, protecting and promoting the Ice Age National Scenic Trail. Celebrate with us at Ice Age Trail Days in Cross Plains, which is both the headquarters of the Alliance and a designated Ice Age Trail Community focused on increasing awareness of the Ice Age Trail and the mission of the Alliance. If you would like to attend other events during Ice Age Trail Days, click HERE to learn more.

Overview:

This new-trail construction party in the Village of Cross Plains celebrates community and built-to-last camaraderie. Tread, signage, stonework and trail stewardship zones will be the focus of this shindig!

No previous experience is necessary; training is provided by certified volunteer crew leaders. There will be roles for all ages and abilities. The IATA provides food, tools, and campsites free to all who volunteer.

See a map of the project area [PDF]

Schedule:

Your contribution is welcome for any part of the event or the entire project. Work begins on Wednesday, August 8, and concludes Sunday, August 12. Trail construction activities begin each day around 8:00 a.m. and typically wrap up between 4:00 and 5:00 p.m. On Sunday, work ends by noon.

What to Bring:

  • We recommend a long-sleeve shirt and pants for trail work.
  • Plan for variable weather – bring warm layers and rain gear.
  • Sturdy hiking or work boots (no tennis shoes) and leather work gloves.
  • Day pack, water bottles, insect repellent, sunscreen and a hat.
  • If camping, bring a headlamp, tent, sleeping gear and toiletries.
  • Consider bringing a lawn chair; you’ll appreciate having it to relax around the fire in comfortable clothes at the end of the day.

Special Notes:

We love dogs, but we ask that you not bring them to this event. Woolly mammoths are welcome.

Mud, Rain, and Slab Hill

Ice Age Trail Alliance, Ice Age National Scenic Trail, Mobile Skills Crew Project, Walla Hi SegmentDespite rain and challenging conditions, our third MSC event in 15 months at Walla Hi County Park was a great success. Hardy volunteers, 79 in total, helped create and open for business a new, signature section of the Ice Age National Scenic Trail.

Over the course of three and a half days and 1,908 volunteer hours, a little over a half-mile of spectacular new trail, one that beguiles the imagination, emerged from within a 15-foot wide trail easement. Slab Hill – the steep pitch that rises 47% over 80 linear feet – will forever be a focal point for trail users. Telling of the skill and dedication of the builders are found in the subtleties – trail drainage dips, well-crafted tread, thoughtful trail signage, and the scores of invasive plants eradicated.  Continue reading

Cross Plains Will Soon Host a New Segment of Ice Age Trail

Ice Age Trail Alliance, Ice Age National Scenic Trail, Cross Plains Conservancy, Mobile Skills Crew event

Sandstone rock outcroppings will soon be given their due. Corridor clearing for new Ice Age Trail will highlight these lovely landscape features. Photo by Dave Caliebe.

Trailbuilding Event & Celebration
Cross Plains Segment
August 8 – 12, 2018
Dane County
Project Area Map [PDF]

Light the Candles for a mile of NEW Ice Age Trail, the 50th anniversary of the National Trails System Act, and the 60th birthday of the Ice Age Trail Alliance!!!

It’s not often we get to rub shoulders with the folks who will benefit most directly from our efforts. Yet, trailbuilding in collaboration with a Trail Community affords us this opportunity. Week-long, we’ll gather with residents of the Village of Cross Plains, sustainable farming practitioners, outdoor retailers, elected officials and other trail enthusiasts from near and far to celebrate the splendor and diversity of Wisconsin, the Ice Age Trail, and the soul shaking experience of all stripes of people of all ages and all walks of life coming together over the span of 60 years to make real a shared vision for long distance hiking, conservation, and community. Continue reading

Mudbrook Bridge Ready for Summer Hiking

Ice Age National Scenic Trail, Ice Age Trail Alliance, Harwood Lakes Mobile Skills Crew event, MSC

Volunteers working on the Harwood Lakes Segment of the Ice Age National Scenic Trail make phenomenal progress as they build a new bridge across the marsh. Photo by Dave Caliebe.

Sometimes the best person to summarize a project’s outcome is the boots-on-the-ground chapter leader who was involved with every aspect. Richard Smith offers this recap of the Harwood Lakes MSC event:

“The newly constructed Mudbrook bridge midway between Plummer Lake Road and Deer Fly Trail offers a spectacular view of the wetland in the Mudbrook floodplain, and provides a solid and dry passage through the area. It replaces a bridge and rickety boardwalk conglomeration that has traversed the combination of wetland and beaver dams and which was well beyond “end of life.” Continue reading

3,000 Feet of Hard-Won Tread!

Ice Age National Scenic Trail, Ice Age Trail Alliance, Ringle Segment, Mobile Skills Crew event,

Hard-won tread now winds through Marathon County along the rerouted Ringle Segment. Photo by Dave Caliebe.

Massive undertakings are best tackled in small bites. Thanks to those who joined  us at the Ringle Segment Mobile Skills Crew event, that small bite resulted in more than 3,000 feet of new, hard-won tread anchoring phase two of the revamped Ringle Segment. In addition, a new Dispersed Camping Area opened along a 28.5-mile road walk in southern Marathon County. Continue reading

Mobile Skills Crew Event – Ringle Segment, Marathon County

 

Register here

Overview:

You helped open 1.7 new miles last year. This year, help take it further. Discover this “Landscape Crossroads” where ancient glacial drift meets ‘new’ Wisconsin drift – ephemeral ponds, boulder-strewn hillsides, and ice-walled lake plains harboring stones from hundreds of miles distant. This new section will be sure to inspire.

No previous experience is necessary; training is provided by certified volunteer crew leaders. There will be roles for all ages and abilities. The IATA provides food, tools, and campsites free to all who volunteer.

See a map of the project area [PDF]

Schedule:

Your contribution is welcome for any part of the event or the entire project. Work begins on Tuesday, May 15, and concludes Sunday, May 20. Trail construction activities begin each day around 8:00 a.m. and typically wrap up between 4:00 and 5:00 p.m. On Sunday, work ends by noon.

What to Bring:

  • We recommend a long-sleeve shirt and pants for trail work.
  • Plan for variable weather – bring warm layers and rain gear.
  • Sturdy hiking or work boots (no tennis shoes) and leather work gloves.
  • Day pack, water bottles, insect repellent, sunscreen and a hat.
  • If camping, bring a headlamp, tent, sleeping gear and toiletries.
  • Consider bringing a lawn chair; you’ll appreciate having it to relax around the fire in comfortable clothes at the end of the day.

Special Notes:

We love dogs, but we ask that you not bring them to this event. Woolly mammoths are welcome.

 

A Force of Nature Leads the Way

Ice Age Trail Alliance, Ice Age National Scenic Trail, A Force of Nature, REI Corporate Partner, Pat Witkowski

A Force of Nature: Pat Witkowski. Photo by Joanne Ellarson.

In August I ran 302 miles. At least half of those miles were on trails, many of them on the Ice Age National Scenic Trail. Over the 45 hours that I spent on my feet covering ground, strengthening my body and conditioning my mind, my thoughts often wandered toward the very concept of trails. Carved out of the forest and prairies, trails are not static, one-time projects. They are living, breathing entities needing to be maintained and loved, long after they are created. Continue reading

Collaboration Yields New Ice Age Trail

Ice Age National Scenic Trail, Ice Age Trail Alliance, Bloomer High School Senior Class

The Bloomer High School Senior class spent a day giving back to their community through their trailbuilding efforts. Photo by Dave Caliebe.

Entire tomes of poetry have been written about picturesque autumn days such as the ones enjoyed at last week’s Mobile Skills Crew event. But the heart of the story lies in the collaboration the Ice Age National Scenic Trail enables. Continue reading

The Northwoods Are Calling: Crisp air, colorful trees, and trailbuilding!

Ice Age National Scenic Trail, Ice Age Trail Alliance, Mobile Skills Crew, MSC Mammoth

Spring arrived early enabling a hardy group of volunteers to clear corridor and grub out stumps in anticipation of October’s MSC event. Photo by Dave Caliebe.

The trees of the Northwoods are beginning to turn red and gold and, as we say good-bye to summer, a new beginning lies ahead for the Firth Lake Segment of the Ice Age National Scenic Trail.

Due to the expansion of an All-Terrain Vehicle trail in the Chippewa County Forest, to ensure a non-motorized experience for users of the Ice Age Trail, we are building a newly designed 1.7 miles of improved Ice Age Trail. Change can be a good thing. Continue reading

348 Feet of Boardwalk in 3 Days?

Ice Age National Scenic Trail, Ice Age Trail Alliance, Clover Valley MSCConstruct a 348-foot-long boardwalk in three days? No problem! Volunteers quickly gained experience as they rotated between crews. This rotation gave everyone the opportunity to learn the necessary skills and to fill in seamlessly wherever someone was needed. Adding to the remarkable pace was the knowledge and previous experience of nine volunteers who had taken part in a boardwalk training earlier in the summer. The seeds planted at the boardwalk training visibly sprouted at Clover Valley and are emerging along the Trail. Continue reading