Trail News

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Parade of Colors Fall Hike, Saturday, Oct. 7

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Strike up the band for the Parade of Colors, which will be held on Saturday, Oct. 7. Celebrate the trail in all its glorious fall colors. Grab a companion, bring the gang, or just come and hike with a new friend. Choose your length from 1 to 6 miles, and chapter volunteers will shuttle you out to your starting point. Refreshments will await you upon your return to the Obey Center, or bring your own picnic lunch to enjoy there.

Thanks to everyone who has already signed up to drive, bake, greet, etc. We always need a full complement of chapter volunteers, and there’s room for more. If you can help, add your name to our list. 

It’s almost here, so sign up today!

     Parade of Colors Fall Hike on the IAT

        Date: Saturday, Oct. 7

        Time: 9 AM - 11 AM (Start Hiking)

        Meeting PlaceObey Interpretive Center at the Chippewa Moraine

        Location map

        RSVP: Not needed

        More InfoHere!

        What to bring: Hiking friends

Firth Lake Area Trail Relocation MSC Project - Oct. 11-15

Trail reroute area

Trail builders from around the region will converge for the Firth Lake Trail Relocation Project, Oct. 11-15. There’s a role there for you, regardless of your skill level. Of course we especially need trail workers, but lots of other support roles are also needed, from cooking to registration and more. Get full details and register online for a day or the whole period. Camp sites and all meals are provided to all participants. We’re excited to welcome the Bloomer High School senior class on Wednesday, 10/11, and especially need volunteers that day to work with the students. The chapter has arranged for some special surprises for evening programs, so stick around and camp if you’d like, and there’s some limited indoor bunk opportunities available as well.

If your schedule opens up at the last minute and you can spend all or part of a day, just go to the reception center on 250th Ave, about 2.5 miles west of Hwy CC, near Cornell (½ mile east of the Firth Lake trailhead entrance). Work begins at 8, so arrival by then is most easily accommodated. (Of course, if you plan to come, there’s still time to pre-register, and we’ll mail you full details on location, etc and have your lunch all ready for you.)

Horseshoe Lake Bridge Closed - use Reroute

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The bridge on the north side of Horseshoe Lake (0.1 mi west of 160th St/Townline Lake Rd) is closed due to flooding. Do not attempt to cross the bridge as it is extremely unsafe.

The trail has been temporarily rerouted north of the existing route on existing logging trails. The temporary route is in the process of being marked and improved. The route includes 100 yards of 160th St, part of which is under relatively shallow water. 

Download: Horseshoe Lake Bridge Reroute Map

Chapter Members Recognized at IATA Annual Conference

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Chippewa Moraine Chapter produced an impressive number of persons recognized by the National Park Service for volunteer service time. Those present to receive their awards Included (right to left) Steve White, Mary Skalecki, Diane Harp, Nancy Schuster, and Jerry Sazama (who received an especially prestigious award). Also awarded were Libby Stupak and Rosemary Kilbridge (not shown). 

Tony Schuster (“Purple Rain”) was knighted with full MSC honors, and Bruce France was awarded the chapter's “In the Mud” award (in abstentia). 

Congratulations and thanks to all from a grateful trail-user community.

Chapter Event Calendar Postcard

Our annual chapter trail event calendar has been mailed to members. For your reference, or if you are not a member, you can view it or print it out. You’ll find it under the VOLUNTEERS Tab (above).

Cold Cacheing in the Cold!

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Learn about glaciers by ColdCaching on Wisconsin's spectacular Ice Age Trail

Wisconsin program teaches about glaciers and the outdoors. 

By Jennifer Jeanne Patterson Special to the Star Tribune

FEBRUARY 24, 2017 — 11:02AM


Wisconsin’s ColdCaching program includes a self-guided GPS tour of glacial history for families at Devil’s Lake State Park.

My kids and I stood bundled up in 6-degree weather, wearing facemasks and snow pants while trying to work a handheld GPS along the Wisconsin Ice Age Trail in Devil’s Lake State Park. The land was barren, brown and peaceful — a typical winter landscape.

“I think we’re supposed to go that way,” 10-year-old Caleb said uncertainly, pointing, while 8-year-old Anna shivered beside him. Why didn’t I pay closer attention to the park naturalist’s instructions?

It’s said that the average American child engages in only four to seven minutes a day of unstructured play outdoors. I’ve come to realize that for our children to grow up caring about our planet, I need to fight my urge to hibernate and expose them to a winter wilderness that extends beyond the backyard.

Chapter Election Results

The election results are in, and we have a slight rearrangement of officers for 2017. 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