Trail News

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Chippewa Moraine Master Plan Open House

The DNR is having an Open House at the Obey Interpretive Center from 4-7 PM this Tuesday, January 17. The purpose is to provide information about the Chippewa Moraine State Recreation Area Master Plan, now undergoing revision. DNR staff will share information about the upcoming planning process and public participation opportunities, and hear what issues the public would like to see included in the plan review. You will be able to see maps and information about the property, and have a chance to talk with agency representatives at the open house.

This is just a stage in the planning process, and no revised plan has been developed for presentation. Rather, it is for gathering concerns and ideas from the public about what should be included in the master plan, which will guide how the park is developed and used in the coming years. 

A questionnaire will be offered, as well as copies of the property analysis and participation plan.

The DNR has a webpage with much of the information available: There are links to the reports and maps on that page. You can sign up to receive emails about the planning process on that page. 

Chapter Election Results

The election results are in, and we have a slight rearrangement of officers for the coming year. In case you missed it, here are the results: President, Richard Smith; Vice President, Tony Schuster; Secretary, Diane Harp; and Treasurer, Nancy Schuster. In addition, Jerry Sazama is our Maintenance Chief. 

Heavy Winds Leaves Tree Snarls In Its Wake

Steve White studies snarled trees across Ice Age Trail, Harwood Lake Segment.

Heavy winds early in the morning of July 27 left nearly 100 trees down across the trail or in tangled knots, causing some temporary closures and very difficult hiking in the Harwood Lake segment. The damage was most severe in an area near the Deerfly Trail. Small groups of volunteers were able to wield chainsaws and hand saws and untangle the mess and leave the route generally passable within 10 days. Thanks to a lot of effort, the entire mess was cleaned up over a span of about 3 weeks.

Our recent experience with storm damage has brought to light where you can find trail condition postings on the Ice Age Trail Alliance website, When you want to check the trail status in a particular area, especially if its away from home, go to the interactive map. To open the map, click on “FIND the TRAIL” in a bright yellow box on the right side of the page. When you get to the map, be sure to check the box for Trail Conditions under the map, then zoom into the area of your destination. Or you could bookmark the page: In addition to Trail Conditions, you can choose to highlight Parking areas, Trail Stories, and suggested hike Itineraries. 

Trail Safe!

A new safety initiative from the National Park Service offers participants online self-study videos that examine the objectives taught in the Park Service Operational Leadership training. It’s an approach that focuses on the mindset needed to work safely, not a cookbook on how to use a tool. Take a look at the NPS IAT website and scroll down to the Trail Safe! feature to find the link. Start at the beginning and complete the Training Verification Roster back at the Trail Safe! home page, and you’ll receive a pin and other info from NPS. Also be sure to keep track of your time spent and report it to the chapter to be sure we capture your volunteer hours. Questions about the series can be directed to Dan Watson.

Two New Trail Segments Opened

Spectacular New Trail Added in Camp Nawakwa Area

Spectacular is not too strong a word to describe the beautiful new segment of trail created and opened at September’s IATA Mobile Skills Crew trailbuilding event. The segment passes by several lakes and ponds and winds up, down, and around stunning terrain, to give awesome views of Picnic Lake and a large tamarack bog and lake. The scene is especially gorgeous right now, as the leaves are so colorful, so don’t hesitate to get out on a sunny day and check out the new trail.

You can start a 2.75 mile hike either at County Highway E (just south of Camp Nawakwa’s entrance road), or at Deer Fly Trail. You can also start at County Highway E and walk about 1.5 miles and return. Off-road parking is available at either trailhead.

In addition to touching up the ½ mile segment built last season, a completely new 1 mile segment was completed. The remaining 1.25 miles was re-blazed to modern trail signage standards.

Addition to Chippewa River Trail Removes Road Walk

ColdCache Sites Newly-Designated in Chippewa County

ColdCache is an IATA program that interprets geologic features along the trail. It’s a variation of geocaching, where participants search out hidden sites and find and interact with a small box located there. In the case of ColdCaching, there is no box or other visible marker. Instead, the participant finds and identifies the target glacial feature, and answers some questions on a website about it.

While the ColdCache program has been in operation for several years, now five sites have been identified in Chippewa County and included in the list of Cache locations on the ColdCache web site. You can find that site on the Ice Age Trail web site

The five sites in Chippewa County are:

1. Chippewa Trifecta - the location, overlooking Dumke Lake, where the ice-walled lake plain ends and a deep glacial riverbed is clearly visible, cutting through the lake-bottom sediments, all perched hundreds of feet above the Dumke Lake surface below. 

--Access from 180th St (Townline Rd) or Lot on 260th Ave (Rattlesnake Hill Rd).

New Book Explains IAT Glacial Geology

The cover of Geology of the Ice Age is a collage of a map, a Wisconsin geological formation, and a floating ice field.

Just released, a new guidebook to the trail's glacial geology is available for purchase at the Chippewa Moraine's Obey Interpretive Center. 

The book features topo maps of the trail, annotated with glacial features and accompanying explanatory text. There are also longer articles on various ice age phenomena viewable along the trail, along with plenty of photos and illustrations.

You can also order the 8"x10" soft-cover book from the Ice Age Trail Alliance web site.

Copies purchased at the Interpretive Center cost $35, and member copies are $28. 

If you hike the trail, and are interested in glacial geology, you're going to want to have this book. 

Geology of the Ice Age National Scenic Trail

David M. Mickelson, Louis J. Maher Jr., and Susan L. Simpson

“A book with excellent site-specific glacial geologic illustrations and explanations. It will bring the geology of the Ice Age Trail and Ice Age National Scientific Reserve alive for hikers and non-hikers alike.”

—Kent M. Syverson, University of Wisconsin–Eau Claire

IATA Benefits From Your Online Shopping

If you play your cards right, each purchase you make online from selected stores will result in a little bitty contribution to the Ice Age Trail Alliance. And, if you use it to make a large purchase, little bitty becomes not so little!

So here's the deal: You've probably seen stores that give a donation to a local school based on the amount of your purchases. You just have to sign up or somehow tell them who the lucky school is. Now a similar program works for much of your online shopping, and the donation (from the merchant) can go to the Ice Age Trail Alliance.

It's pretty painless. For example, if you want to buy a computer program or whatever at, you'd enter Amazon with a referral code. Then from 0.5 to 1.5% of the sale is donated to IATA. The same idea works with many other online merchants.

Here's how to connect to GoodShop, where you can see how it works and notice the variety of merchants:

The link is also on the home page of our chapter web site.

Your New Old Hat

In case your treasured Ice Age Trail footprint hat has gotten grotty from wearing it hiking or doing trail work, you can easily renew it! Here's the secret:

Just wash it in cool water in your washing machine with other clothes. It might help to pretreat sweat stains with your favorite. Then air dry. The bill is really plastic inside, and the suede handles washing just fine. The footprints hold up through the wash. 

Voila! Your new Ice Age Trail footprint hat.

Three Women from Wisconsin Complete the Trail

by Ted Nelson


August 19, 2009 4:00 PM MST 

JoAnn in Waupaca County

View all 6 photos

     Jane Stoltz completed the trail on April 24, 2009

Ice Age Trail hikers Dawn Matott, JoAnn Parks, and Jane Stoltz from Wisconsinshow that adventure travelmakes ordinary people interesting travelers. These three ladies all have families and jobs and at first glance seem like normal human beings. However, there is one common element that unites these three that makes them unique. They have all hiked the nearly 1,100 mile Ice Age Trail in Wisconsin.

     Dawn and JoAnn in Sheboygan County

When thinking of adventure travelers one usually thinks of people like Sir Edmund Hillary and Tenzing Norgay or Stanley and Livingstone, but these three prove that it is not necessary to quit a job and spend seven months away from home wandering the world in order to have an adventure. These three did the trail over a period of years and hiked the trail in segments.

Dawn and JoAnn hiked together and finished the trail in June of 2008 taking five years to complete after starting in June of 2003. They planned to hike 200 miles a year. Jane started in 1993 taking a 28 mile hike that year. At first she had no intention of completing the trail, but she enjoyed it so much she and her friend decided on doing a weekend a year. A couple of years ago Jane decided she wanted to accelerate her pace and started to hike more than the weekend a year and finished the trail this last April.

Don't Park Overnight on County Highways

Backpackers and campers should be aware that you should not park overnight on county highway shoulders. If you do, your car will be towed away.

There are many places to park off the roadway which are available to hikers who need to park overnight:

  • The Chippewa Moraine Visitor Center on Hwy M
  • Circle Trail parking on Hwy M west of the visitor center
  • Rattlesnake Hill lot, on 260th Ave between Town Line Road and Plummer Lake Road
  • Hwy E, near Camp Nawakwa, by pulling far off the highway shoulder
  • Hwy CC at the Ice Age Trailhead parking lot
  • Hwy CC at the Perch Lake Fisherman’s parking lot 

Do not park overnight along Hwy M where the trail crosses (near the backpack camp site) as you are sure to be towed there due to the curve and lack of pull-off space.

Do not park overnight on Hwy Z for the same reason.

267th Ave for day use parking only.

Note that the Atlas and trail maps show parking at Plummer Lake boat landing on 167th St, but this is for day use only.