Three New Miles of Trail in Dane County!

Ice Age National Scenic Trail, Ice Age Trail, Mammoth's Back Preserve, Valley View Segment, Reconnect, Mobile Skills Crew Events 2021
A crew of swampers pile brush in an effort to clear the corridor for a new section of Ice Age Trail along the Cross Plains Segment. Photo by Dave Caliebe.

Despite the sweltering heat and violent weather, two new Ice Age National Scenic Trail sections are open after a five-day Mobile Skills Crew Reconnect event. The efforts of 86 volunteers, donating 1,852 service hours, created a new path through Mammoth’s Back Preserve and more off-road hiking along the Valley View Segment. Each section is a work in progress and will require continued restoration. But, it is hard to overstate the value of three newly opened miles of Ice Age Trail in Dane County.

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Mammoth’s Back Preserve (along the Cross Plains Segment)

We had a good showing of first-time Mobile Skills Crew volunteers. With them came the opportunity to share the wealth of knowledge our experienced members possess. Under the direction of Eva Ballering, Ice Age Trail Alliance Land Steward, brand new swampers piled brush faster than their sawyers could cut it. This lightning speed resulted in a new 1.1-mile section added to the Cross Plains Segment at Mammoth’s Back Preserve. As a bonus, there’s an additional .3-mile loop trail. Crews painted and placed trail signage from Stagecoach Rd, across the field, to HWY P, and constructed a 147-foot-long boardwalk in a low-lying stretch of field road. This was a dynamic project, and the team (old and new) came to conquer! Let’s welcome back the newcomers when the brush piles are torched this winter!

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A 400-foot-long boardwalk rises above the mud and guides hikers along the Valley View Segment. Photo by Dave Caliebe.

Valley View Segment Extension

If boardwalk building were an Olympic event, the Valley View Segment team would win gold this year. Experts convened from across the state to drop 400 feet of boardwalk in this suburban swamp. They instructed newcomers in the woodworking skills foundational to so much of our Trail. In total, this segment grew by 1.6 miles, cut through wetland, woods, and along Timber Lane, a welcome reprieve from the road walk!

Ice Age Trail Alliance, Ice Age National Scenic Trail, Ice Age Trail, Mobile Skills Crew (MSC) events 2021, Reconnect Events 2021
A sawyer makes quick work of the undergrowth along the Trail corridor. Photo by Eva Ballering.
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A volunteer crew fastens decking boards to 400 feet of boardwalk frames. Photo by Patrick Gleissner.

To everyone who helped make this event a success, a special thanks to:

  • Robert and Catherine Beckman for the use of their land in transporting materials to the work site. A great deal of time and energy was saved thanks to their generosity.
  • Tom Wise for his expertise and use of his machinery.
  • Crossroads Coffeehouse for their hot coffee and refreshing iced tea.
  • Gary Brunner for allowing us to place Ice Age Trail on his land.
  • Plastics Ingenuity for allowing us to camp on the top of their hill.
  • The Tornado for staying just far enough away from base camp.
  • Ed Spoon and Bob Kaspar for their excellent leadership as Crew Leader Managers.
  • The Strikeforce Team for their speed and efficiency in removing downed trees blocking the Cross Plains Segment.

The success of these projects was made possible through funding from the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources Friends Grant and the Dane County Chapter and their local fundraising efforts.

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86 Volunteers

1,852 Volunteer Hours

547 total feet of boardwalk

3 miles of Trail

Up Next:

August 25 – August 29, Ringle Segment, Marathon County (Registration open.)

Join us in Marathon County, August 25 – 29, to take our first run at Ringle this year! We will construct boardwalk and reinforce tread starting at Mole Brook Road, in order to set the stage for the intended final project in October.

Event Details and Registration, Here.

Ice Age Trail, Ice Age National Scenic Trail, Reconnect, Trail Improvement Days

See our full schedule upcoming events here: 2021 Reconnect Events.

Generous Sponsors of the 2021 Mobile Skills Crew Trailbuilding Season include:

Duluth Trading Company REI