Dane County Chapter

Help Build and Maintain Ice Age Trail in Dane County

Like the other National Scenic Trails, the Ice Age Trail is built and maintained by volunteers. We can use your help – for a morning, a few days a year, or on a more regular basis. We rely on volunteers to help with prairie and oak savanna restoration (land stewardship) and monitoring, maintaining, mowing, and even building sections of trail in Dane County (trail improvement).

Work days are scheduled almost every weekend throughout the year. The work varies from season to season, and there is typically work for all skill levels. In addition, there are occasional large-scale, project-oriented events (e.g., building a new boardwalk).

See the IATA calendar for our upcoming work days and other events. You can “Narrow Your Results” from the online calendar left-side menu (Event Category – Select – Dane County Chapter, then Submit).

Email Groups: Tried out a work  day and don’t want to miss out on another? Contact Megan Schliesman ([email protected]) and ask to be added to the “stewardship,” and/or “trail building” email lists to receive work day notifications (typically 2+ messages per week throughout year for “stewardship”; “trail building” work days are seasonal–typically late spring through fall).  (Read more about stewardship and trail building work days and other ways to volunteer with our chapter! (pdf)

Other Information for Volunteers

First-time volunteers: If you are coming to a workday for the first time, read Helpful Information for Workday Volunteers (pdf) to know what to bring and what to expect. (During COVID-19 we are following social distance guidelines.)

If you’re joining us for the first time at an event and you are not an Ice Age Trail Alliance member, please fill out the fillable Volunteer Services Agreement Form and email it (along with any questions) to Dan Watson, ([email protected]).

Keeping Track of Your Time: We report volunteer hours quarterly to the Ice Age Trail Alliance and National Park Service. If you are volunteering on a work day, the work day coordinator will likely record this information, including your travel time, and report it. If you are in doubt, ask the work day coordinator. If not, or if you are doing other volunteer work for the chapter independently, please track your volunteer time (including any travel time) and report hours quarterly to our chapter volunteer hours reporter, Tess Mulrooney, [email protected]

Ice Age Trail Alliance information for volunteers, including IATA-sponsored training opportunities, links to volunteer time tracking sheets, and more.

Prairie Burns: March and April have fewer regularly scheduled workdays because this is burn season for the chapter’s many acres of prairie as part of our stewardship work. Training /experience is generally required to participate in burns. One source of training is the Wisconsin Prescribed Fire Council. The class volunteers should take is S130-S190, Basic Wildland Firefighter and Prescribed Fire Training.

Dane Drifter Hiking Award Program

Do you want to hike all of the Ice Age Trail in Dane County? Sign up to become a Dane Drifter! As a reward for completing all the county’s segments, you’ll receive a patch and recognition for your achievement. You can take as much time as you’d like to finish and enjoy the intrinsic rewards along the way.

Complete the registration form (pdf) and send in the small fee. The form includes additional details, as well as a log for recording your progress. Contact Gary at [email protected] for more information.

Ice Age Drift Newsletter

Check out the current and past issues of our chapter newsletter, the Ice Age Drift. 

The Dane County Land Fund

The Dane County Land Fund is a 501(c)(3) fund established to help us permanently protect and manage lands for the Ice Age National Scenic Trail in Dane County. Your donation helps with land acquisition to support the goal of “closing the gaps” between off-road sections of trail.  Donate.

Thousand-Miler WannaBes & Hikers’ Helpers

For those hiking the Trail through Dane and Green counties, contact Tess Mulrooney at [email protected] for “Trail Angel” assistance. Tess can also connect you with new hiking pals who are exploring the entire Ice Age Trail year-round, piecing together the dashed line one segment at a time.

Mower Sign-Out Pages

For trained volunteers only: before using, please sign out the Billy Goat mower, large DR mowers, or shoulder-mount brush cutters.

Contact Us

General email: [email protected]

Dane County Chapter coordinator: 

Bob Kaspar
3809 Anchor Drive
Madison, WI 53714
608 239-0168
[email protected]

Other 2020 chapter officers:

Co-coordinator:  Dave Lonsdorf, 608 212-1135, [email protected]
Secretary:  Megan Schliesman, [email protected]
Treasurer: James Luebke, 920 723-9591, [email protected]

Other key chapter contacts:

Trail Maintenance Coordinator: Ed Spoon, [email protected]
Land Stewardship Coordinator: Gary Werner, [email protected]
Email lists (to receive notification of workdays/chapter business meetings): Megan Schliesman, [email protected]
Volunteer Hours Reporting: Tess Mulrooney, [email protected]
Dane Drifter Hiking Award Program: Gary wensing, [email protected]
Trail Angel assistance: Tess Mulrooney, [email protected]