Trail News

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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).

April Trail Cleanup Workday

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Our annual spring cleanup on the trail is planned for Saturday, April 22. It’s our annual chance to whip the trail into shape for spring hiking and especially the Chippewa 50K UltraMarathon, coming up on Saturday, April 29. Observations so far tell us that the wind in recent weeks has left a lot of branches and downed trees in its wake. We target the trail between Hwy E and Mudbrook on this day, but would love to do more with enough hands. 

Meet at 9 AM at the Ice Age Trail trailhead on the Deer Fly Trail. Bring a lunch and water, and dress for the season (wet conditions, ticks). Bring gloves, and a friend who hasn’t been along before. 

The trailhead is 2.6 miles south of County Highway M on Deer Fly Trail. See the map here for location.

If you plan to participate, please notify the leader, Tony Schuster by email, or call (715) 723-6114.

Thousand Miler Book Talk & Signing - Wednesday, April 26

A special presentation by Melanie Radzicki McManus, author of Thousand Miler— Adventures Hiking the Ice Age Trail, will be given at the Chippewa Falls Public Library as a warm-up event to the annual conference. The presentation will be at 6:30 PM Wednesday, April 26, at the Library at 105 W Central St, Chippewa Falls. 

McManus’s new book, which is being released on April 22, recounts her 36 day traverse of the IAT’s 1100 miles. While the list of “thousand milers” has increased by a few intrepid souls each year, those who carry that honor are definitely in an elite group. McManus not only did it in a very short time frame, but happens to be journalist, writer, and editor, so she put it all together in a book to whet the appetite and provide guidance to those who will follow in her footsteps, as well as providing an opportunity for those who will never accomplish the feat to share in the experience.

Annual Conference - April 27-28 in Chippewa Falls


We have a once in a lifetime opportunity to participate fully in an IATA Annual Conference right in Chippewa County this year, and our chapter is encouraging as many of our volunteers and trail enthusiasts to participate fully. In fact, we’re helping pay your way! You can learn more about the conference in Mammoth Tales (sent to all members) when yours arrives (it is in the mail), or you can read about it and register online -

The featured speaker on Friday evening at 7:15 PM is Dr. Eva Selhub, physician,author, and expert on the importance nature plays in our health and wellbeing. 

There are a variety of packages for you to choose from based on the number of days you can attend, and these packages include meals. Registration deadline is April 21. 

To encourage as many to attend as possible, after the conference, based on the number attending, the chapter will reimburse up to $50 toward your fees (specific amount to be determined later) as long as you are an active chapter member in good standing. 

Volunteer Opportunities at the Annual Conference

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You can volunteer to help at the annual conference by taking a shift at the registration table to welcome and orient new arrivals. We need volunteers for all shifts from 6:30 AM to 5 or 6 PM, Thursday, Friday, and Saturday. We need two persons per shift, and will break it into shifts. If you are interested, let us know which shifts you would like to cover (and recruit a friend to partner with to make it even more fun). If you don’t plan to attend the conference, pick whatever works for you. If you do wish to attend the conference sessions, take a look at the schedule online before committing to a particular block of time, and instead plan to help during a period that doesn’t interfere with what interests you on the program. Give us your general times, and we’ll build a schedule around it (sign up early and get first crack!).

If greeting old friends and new doesn’t excite you, then perhaps a day in the field will, and where better than on our own trail relocation project just west of Firth Lake. Plan to help with corridor clearing on Thursday from 8 AM to 4 PM and get your hands dirty!

Help Represent the Trail at the Outdoor Expo, Sunday, April 30

The annual spring edition of the Outdoor Adventure Expo will run from Friday through Sunday, April 28-30, in Minneapolis. The northwest chapters staff the exhibit each day, and the Chippewa Moraine Chapter will be on hand on Sunday, April 30. If you are in Minneapolis on Sunday, stop by and see us! Besides the exhibits from a variety of outdoor adventure organizations and vendors, everything at the adjacent Midwest Mountaineering store is on sale. There is a parallel series of presentations and films as well. Admission is free, and food is available for purchase on site.

We need volunteers to staff the booth on Sunday. If you can spend the day, and would enjoy talking with show-goers and exhibitors from across the region about the Ice Age Trail, we would love to have you on the team. For more information, call 715-933-0252 or email

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).