Mid-August 2011 Trail Update

Ice Age Trail Update

Mid-August 2011

In This Edition:

Trail Section Temporarily Closed: Deer Fly Trail to Co Hwy E

All Hands Needed to Reopen Trail on August 20 Work Day

Trail Section Temporarily Closed: Deer Fly Trail to Co Hwy E

Beaver activity has been hard on the trail between Deer Fly Trail and Co Hwy E. First, the beavers plugged a culvert and then built a dam on top of a dam to hold back the unusually high amounts of rainfall in recent weeks. The water flowing through and around the dam caused a wet hike along the dam's length.

Then on August 8, just as our efforts were getting underway to lower the water level, a 12 foot long section of dam and underlying earthen embankment washed out, leaving a 5 foot deep breach, continuing to flow with water. At that point, we posted trail closure signs at the trailheads on Hwy E and Deer Fly Trail, and posted the information on the chapter web site and the Ice Age Trail Alliance web site. (Check the link for pictures.)

Since then, we've been working to clear the culvert and restore water flow through it instead of through the breach. We'll be building a temporary crossing at our August 20 Work Day (see next item), and hope to be able to reopen the trail after the temporary crossing is stable. Eventually, we are looking at constructing a bridge across the chasm.

In the meantime, if your heart is set on hiking through that area, be advised that hiking from CTH E to Deer Fly Trail is not advised, but in-and-out hikes may be taken. The break is 2 ⅜ miles from CTH E, and ⅜ mile from Deer Fly Trail.

As it turns out, there is still another leaking beaver dam between Deer Fly Trail and the washout that is passable, but will also give you wet feet. It's at the rookery pond just a short distance east of Deer Fly Trail.

We're grateful to Chippewa County forestry staff for their cooperation and assistance in dealing with this problem.

All Hands Needed: Reopen Trail on August 20 Work Day

We hope to be able to re-open the trail between Deer Fly Trail and CTH E after our August 20 workday, but to do so, we need your help! 

Our plan is to create a temporary crossing across the washout by contouring the approaches and placing a series of large rocks that hikers can use to step on to stay dry and out of the mud. We'll also be doing other contouring to stabilize the bank to prevent further washouts. We can especially use volunteers who can help with lifting and carrying rocks and placing them, as it takes several people to carry each rock to keep the weight manageable.

For this workday it will be extremely helpful for you to have wellington-style wading boots. The water is not deep, but there is water flowing and the ground is mucky. If you don't have waders, we'll keep your feet dry with dry ground tasks. For more information, check the web site.

We'll meet at 9:30 AM at the Chippewa Moraine Visitor Center. Bring lunch, water, and your favorite mosquito strategy. As with all workdays, please RSVP your intentions regarding participation and whether you're coming for a full or half day. If you have a power drill, bring it along as well. Please RSVP via email to chapter@iatchippewa.org.