Trail News

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A New Mudbrook Wetland Bridge And Boardwalk Provide Spectacular Views (And Dry Feet)

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Photo: Libby Stupak

The newly constructed Mudbrook bridge midway between Plummer Lake Road and Deer Fly Trail offers a spectacular view of the wetland in the Mudbrook floodplain, and provides a solid and dry passage through the area. It replaces a bridge and rickety boardwalk conglomeration that has traversed the combination of wetland and beaver dams and which was well beyond “end of life”. The main bridge on the old route was a Wisconsin Conservation Corps project built 30-40 years ago. The connecting boardwalk was constructed and reconstructed many times, and was highlighted by sections of boardwalk built on top of older sections as the land sunk or the beavers got more active. The new route in a new location includes boardwalk built 36 inches above the current water level. The total structure is 192 feet long, with a 24-foot bridge span and 168 feet of connecting boardwalk. There’s a handrail on one side, kick plate on the other. A technique used for the first time locally involves resting the legs on steel “pans” resting on solid ground in the bottom of the wetland. 

Finish The Mudbrook Trail At June 16 Trail Improvement Day

We have a new bridge across Mudbrook Creek. The MSC team has come and gone, but there is some finish work to complete, and we can finish the new trail section at our June 16 Trail Improvement Day. It will be a great way to brush up on your tread construction skills, and if you’ve never done it, it will be a great way to learn a very useful skill. There will be other odds and ends to attend to as well.

Meet at 9 AM at the Obey Interpretive Center and we’ll proceed to our project area from there. We’ll have a tailgate party at the conclusion, but bring your own water, a snack for mid-morning, and the usual bug repellent and work gloves. Long pants and socks are important to keep ticks at bay. Please register by clicking on the yellow bar below.

Register for June 16 Trail Improvement Day

Blue Hills Regional Trail Maintenance Day Re-Re-Scheduled For Thursday, June 21

We will get another stab at our (now infamous) Blue Hills Trail Improvement Tour on Thursday, June 21. Join the crew that will head north and tackle the Blue Hills Beast and get some trail mowed, trimmed, cleared of trees, and other general maintenance work done. If you’ve been following along, this project has been sidelined twice so far, but this time is sure to please everyone.

Meet at 7:30 AM at the Obey Interpretive Center near New Auburn to organize our car-pooling and make sure we don’t lose anyone. We’ll head to Murphy Flowage from there, arriving at 8:15. Bring a lunch, as we’ll work into the afternoon before returning. Also bring water, snack, insect repellent, work gloves, and be sure to dress appropriately. Please register for this event by clicking on the yellow bar below.

Register for June 21 Blue Hills Tour

Trail Detour on Harwood Lakes Segment

A short detour has been created in the Harwood Lakes Segment, midway between County Highway E and Deer Fly Trail. The 0.27-mile detour is very rough and was created to bypass an active logging project that has caused a trail closure at that location. Watch flags closely and take care with footing,

The route is flagged with white and lime-green streamers and has been lightly brushed out, but no tread construction has occurred or is just beginning. There are yellow arrows marking the beginning and end. Don’t attempt to follow the old route.

Specifically, the detour is on Atlas Map 16f, and between mile 169.7 and 169.4 on the Guthook Guide App.

The detour will be gradually improved into the permanent Ice Age Trail route.

This information is also posted at:

At Last! May Has Arrived

Trout Lillies along Chippewa River on IASNT, May 6, 2018

Finally, it is May, and the old proverb, “be careful what you wish for” may apply if you look at the trail opportunities that lie in store this month. Not counted is the hike we already had on May 1 for the Natural Resources Foundation of Wisconsin, and our own Sunday Hike on May 6. We all hope to see you at one of the following opportunities to contribute this month, but even if these are not your thing, know that the trail is in generally good shape and awaiting your visit. Lots of wildflowers are popping up, and whether you fancy bloodroot, hepatica, trout lily, wood anemone, trillium, wood violet, spring beauty, or whatever pops up next, the window for these annual beauties is small.

Image: Trout Lilies along Chippewa River on Ice Age NST, June 6, 2018

Chapter Meeting is Monday, May 21

Chippewa Moraine IAT Chapter members will meet on Monday, May 21 at 6:30 PM at the Chippewa Falls Public Library for its regular bi-monthly chapter meeting. These meetings allow chapter volunteers to get together to review and enhance the various projects ongoing and planned. It is a valuable check-in, and an opportunity to learn about what is happening both locally and trail-wide. Please join us!

Blue Hills Trail Improvement Day CANCELLED

Once again, we’ve had to CANCEL the Blue Hills project day on May 22. We hope to reschedule soon. 

We will venture northward on Tuesday, May 22 to lend a hand in the Moose Ear section of the IAT in the beautiful Blue Hills. Our plan now is to meet at the Obey Center at 8:15 AM on Tuesday, May 22, and head north in consolidated cars due to the distance, access, and parking area available. Whether you were signed up for the first try at this project, or are now finding that you can join us on this day, please register again (please click on the yellow button) so we know what personnel and tools we need to assemble. This project will last into the afternoon, so please bring a lunch, water, and insect repellent. 

Register for Blue Hills Day May 22

Cal Kraemer


Cal Kraemer died on Monday, 4/17/2018 at the age of 88. The Leader-Telegram obituary is linked below. The funeral service is at 11 AM Monday, April 23, at 11 AM, at Trinity Methodist Church in Chippewa Falls.

Cal was a regular volunteer on the Ice Age Trail and at our chapter events along with his wife Donna Kraemer since 2002. In 2006, the chapter chose him for the "In The Mud" award for his volunteer service. 

Shortly after the chapter obtained the DR field and brush mower, Cal stepped forward to adopt the section of trail from Firth Lake to Hwy CC, and mowed it frequently for many years. It is a difficult section of trail to mow, and takes multiple days to do it. It includes an extensive stretch through shoulder-high hayland along the edge of open farmland. Often Donna joined him for moral support and to clear the branches that would hinder the mowing. Not limiting themselves to just mowing, they took on other tasks on their section, including minor adjustments to the trail route when required. On one occasion they hauled in posts and marked a section of trail where logging had left it unnavigable. After health concerns dictated that he turn in his mower keys, Cal continued to volunteer in other ways until one day he announced that he was ready to resume mowing, which he did for another two years. In later years, Cal would always come to the Parade of Colors to offer his services driving hikers to their starting points, while Donna would offer refreshments. When they couldn’t help at a recent MSC project, they turned out to check things out and bring a load of cookies.

Register NOW for Harwood Lakes / Mud Brook Project

A small trailbuilding event has been announced for June 6-9 with a focus on replacing the Mudbrook bridge and boardwalk. In addition to the structures, an unknown amount of new tread may also need to be constructed. This is an IATA Mobile Skills Crew project, and will include the usual MSC features: food and campsites are provided at no cost, learn as you work under the eyes of experienced MSC leaders, lots of camaraderie and entertainment capping off a day of hard work.

The event is identified as the Harwood Lakes Segment project, and registration is now open. The catch is that due to the circumstances caused by much of the activity being on a boardwalk and bridge, the registration is capped at 40 participants. Registration is open, and the spots are filling up fast — and the event has not even been publicized yet! If you were planning to work on this event, or are interested in joining the fun and learning about bridge construction or trail building, you’d best register ASAP!

Harwood Lakes MSC Info & Registration

Help IATA Win $5000!

Our members and friends demonstrated that they were as facile online as on foot in 2016 as they voted online and helped the Ice Age Trail win the grand cash prize in the Michelob Ultra challenge. A slimmed-down version of that contest has arrived and everyone can once again vote for IAT as their favorite trail. It’s the Gear Junkie’s “Fastest Known Time” contest. One of nine “Iconic Trails” will win $5000, and all will win something. You can win something, too (a guided hike, a pair of trail shoes). Like the last contest, you can vote early and often - daily if you wish, and even get bonus votes each time you upload a photo taken on the trail. We’re up against stiff competition, but  thanks to your persistence, we did it last time. Vote often between now and May 31.

Look for the link on the first page to share the contest with your facebook and twitter friends. 

Snowshoe Hike Provided Unique Look at Moraine Topography


A nice turnout enjoyed great weather and snow conditions for our first Family Snowshoe Hike on Feb. 24. Participants and volunteers numbered 48 for this first-time event. Thanks to the staff at Chippewa Moraine and our co-sponsor Mayo Clinic Health System, as well as our dedicated volunteers for making the event happen. Special thanks to Carol and Ted Hakala and Rod Gont for laying out and marking the route in advance, and Christine Tharp at Mayo.  It was great fun seeing all the kids navigating in the snowshoes, and the scenery was extraordinary.

Snowshoe Hike Photos