The enormous rain storm which spread across the southern portion of Wisconsin on August 20, 2018 and caused flash flood conditions, followed by a series of tornadoes across Marquette, Green Lake, Fond du Lac, Dodge, Sheboygan, and Manitowoc County on August 31, 2018, damaged SOME portions of the Ice Age National Scenic Trail.
Consequently, there are a few things to know:
The Lakeshore County Chapter quickly formed crews of sawyers to clear the Ice Age Trail which winds its way through the Kettle Moraine State Forest – Northern Unit. The Parnell Segment near Butler Lake was hit hard and was cleared this past weekend (September 8 & 9). The Trail is passable, although its beauty is a bit compromised in some sections with trees snapped in half.
Marquette County was hit both by flooding and tornadoes. You’ll see evidence of wind damage as you hike the John Muir Segment and the connecting routes. UPDATE: Hwy 22 JUST reopened through the Village of Montello which is part of a road walk. Day-hikers may still need to locate alternate routes to the John Muir Park as some county roads may still be underwater.
For those individuals thru-hiking the Ice Age Trail, we recommend taking the Western Bifurcation route. See Atlas pages 53f-W through 60f-W (versus Atlas pages 53f-E through 59f-E).
UPDATE: Some Columbia County roads north of Portage are under water, particularly County F just north of Hwy 33.
Please take the following precautions before setting out on a hike:
ONE: The best BOOTS-ON-THE-GROUND knowledge comes from chapter members of our Volunteer Chapters. These are folks committed to maintaining their segments and are in touch with what is happening out on the Trail in their area. Please contact them prior to setting out on a hike in one of these hard-hit areas:
TWO: Please check the status of TRAIL CONDITIONS at the ONLINE TRAIL MAP. Please check the Trail Conditions box to see what’s what.
For example, while not storm related, it’s a Trail Condition you’ll want to know about: a temporary Trail re-route in Langlade County. You’ll also want to know how important it is to stay on the Ice Age Trail while hiking on the Bear Lake Segment.
THREE: Check 551wi.gov for a list of roads and highways which may yet be affected by the flooding, especially roads in Marquette and Columbia Counties.
Stay safe and have FUN!