Thinking Beyond the Blaze: IAT-U

Ice Age Trail University, IAT-U, Ice Age Trail Alliance, Ice Age National Scenic Trail

Volunteers gather around to learn the finer points of tread construction from Tim Malzhan, Director of Trail Operations for the Ice Age Trail Alliance. Photo by Cameron Gillie.

Private citizens coming together to create a public resource is an astonishingly complex undertaking. The momentous scale of developing and stewarding the Ice Age National Scenic Trail  requires a shared vision for the Ice Age Trail and the skills and resources necessary to bring that vision to life.  It isn’t easy, but it happens one volunteer, one steward, at a time. It happens during Ice Age Trail University (IAT-U). 

IATA Mobile Skills Crew program logo

Project Details

Ice Age Trail University, IAT-U
Cross Plains Interpretive Site
Dane County
June 28 – July 1, 2018

View course schedule
Read course descriptions
Register for the project
See map of project area

What We’re Doing

IAT-U courses help foster the on-trail and off-trail skills necessary to advance the Ice Age Trail. New course offerings include Thinking Beyond the Blaze, Trail Layout & Design, Trail Maintenance & Stewardship.

Additional courses include Stonework, Tread 101, Rigging 101, First Aid/CPR and more. All participants receive free meals and (for those staying multiple days) a free place to pitch a tent.

Note: All sessions for both Chainsaw Safety courses are full.

All Abilities and Talents Welcome

As with all Mobile Skills Crew events, no experience is necessary and there’s a role for volunteers of all ages and abilities.

Training is provided by certified volunteer crew leaders and all participants get free meals and (for those working with us for multiple days) a free place to pitch a tent.

The IATA provides food, tools, and campsites free to all who volunteer.


To help us plan this event with your needs in mind, please visit our online registration page and register by Monday, June 25th.


Your participation is welcome for any part of the event. Classes begin on Thursday, June 28 at 8:30 am and conclude at 2:30 pm on Sunday, July 1st.

Please register for the classes in which you intend to participate, or the regional trailbuilding project running concurrently.

Checking In at Base Camp

Volunteers should report each day to Base Camp (Cross Plains Interpretive Site, 8075 Old Sauk Pass Road, Cross Plains, WI)  for registration, coursework, and trailbuilding.

  • Driving directions for Base Camp (also the location of the camping area for those spending a night with us).
  • Watch for yellow “Ice Age Trail Event” signs as you arrive in the area.
  • Meals will be served here along with classroom instruction.

What to Bring 

  • Note-taking materials for the classroom.
  • Dress for variable weather — even in June, extra layers for warmth is advised.
  • Bring sturdy hiking or work boots (no tennis shoes) and leather work gloves. A long-sleeve shirt and pants are recommended for trail work; mud boots, if you have them, may come in handy.
  • Bring a day pack, water bottles, sunscreen and a hat.
  • If camping, bring a headlamp, tent, sleeping gear and toiletries.
  • Bring a lawn chair; you’ll appreciate having it to relax around the fire in comfortable clothes at the end of the day.
  • Ticks will be numerous so bring your preferred insect and tick repellant.


Please contact Brad Crary (262-370-2995) or the IATA office (800-227-0046).

We hope to see you soon!
Happy Trails,

IAT-U Project Team