April 2013 Trail Dispatch

Ice Age Trail Dispatch

April 2013

Join the Spring Trail Cleanup on Saturday, April 20

It's time to take on the trail in earnest! Join our spring trail cleanup event on Saturday, April 20. 

We left off our maintenance last fall with the trail in relatiavely good condition, but wintertime brings a variety of maintenance needs, including downed branches and trees. It's also a good time to take a good look at tread and other factors undistracted by relentless vegetation management needs.

On Saturday, April 20, we hope to assemble a large crew and break up into tactical groups to scour the trail and get it in tip-top shape for spring hiking and especially the Chippewa Moraine 50K the following Saturday. Around 300 are registered to run in the long or short race, and if they encounter unexpected trees and branches, it may not be a pretty sight. If nothing else, we'll prevent what might become a permanent detour around a downed tree in their path.

So get on board, get out and enjoy early spring on the trail, and help us pick up branches and clean up trees. We're meeting at 9:30 AM at the Chippewa Moraine Center, and you can stay for just the morning or into the afternoon if you wish. It is important for you to let us know you are planning on coming (and for how long), so we have a good idea how to make your day worthwhile.

Bring water, lunch, and your favorite tick protection (we're sure to see a couple).

Chapter Awards To Be Presented At IATA Annual Conference At Nearby Dresser

Some of us are off to the Ice Age Trail Alliance Conference at nearby Dresser. One of the highlights will be presenting our chapter's In The Mud awards to Nancy Schuster and Steve White. Each year, each chapter has an opportunity to recognize the key efforts by its most active members, and we've never missed this opportunity to say thanks and recognize hard work.

Nancy is our chapter's treasurer, and has been serving with impeccable professionalism in that capacity for several years now. Pretty much no one knows what's involved in doing that job, but let me tell you that it is far more than just taking money to the bank. There are lots of records to record, report on, make monthly reports to Cross Plains, and keep the rest of us within budget (which she, by the way, takes the lead in drafting). All this from a person who started here just because she had already hiked all the hikeable sections of the trail!

Steve has played a major role for many years in selecting, organizing, and leading the Sierra Club's late fall Ice Age Trail hike. He's an active chapter member, but in his Sierra Club role he attracts a different audience and introduces them to the trail each year. When Rick Kark started this hike back in the mid 1980's, it seemed like a wild idea: pick the last possible decent weekend of the year and plan a big hike. Throwing fate to the wind (heck, we can't even count on good weather in the best of seasons), the hike has been a favorite through rain, snow, and beautiful warm fall days. Thanks, Steve, for keeping the tradition alive!

The headline speaker for the event is Juan Martinez, National Geographic Emerging Explorer. His mission is to inspire others by focusing on the transformative values of nature rather than formidable environmental concerns. He'll be speaking on Thursday evening at 7 PM. While registration in general has closed, you can attend this event without registering for the Alliance conference (although you need to register online to attend this free presentation if you're not registered for the conference).

The conference always sends participants back charged up and ready to tackle the challenges of the trail. Keep it in mind for next year if you can't go this year.

The full schedule and registration information is online.

Ice Age Trail University

There's a great training opportunity right here at Camp Nawakwa on April 27-28. You may still be able to register for the Camp Chef training being offered. We're especially interested in having people who may wish to help in the kitchen at the September trail building event here take this training so they will have been oriented to the food safety and sanitation requirements that the IATA follows in the interests in keeping everyone healthy. Other sessions, on Crew Leadership and Skills, Chainsaw Safety, and First Aid & CPR may also have openings. You can get details online.

Chippewa 50k UltraMarathon Trail Run

This trail run, beginning and ending at the Chippewa Moraine Interpretive Center on Saturday, April 27, will have its largest attendance ever. The organizers appreciate our participation in keeping the trails open and runnable, and have made contributions to the chapter, for which we're always grateful. If you're interested in seeing the activity, stop by (but be prepared to walk, as the cars stretch on and on).

If you'd like to help, note our spring cleanup workday a week earlier, on Saturday, April 20. Another fun opportunity is to help at the Chippewa County Tourism Council's aid station on Hwy M, providing snacks and liquids to the runners. Several chapter volunteers in the past have helped out with this activity, and if you're interested, please email the chapter. The shifts are broken down into two hours or so, so if you want to see the action up close and meet the runners, volunteer for a turn at the aid station.

Companion Guide Trail Segment Field Editors Needed

The Companion Guide is being revised and re-imagined as the 2014 Guidebook, but the usual tasks of checking out segments of the trail and verifying or updating the nuts-and-bolts of the segment is always necessary. The request is out for field editors to field check these segments, perhaps here or perhaps in other parts of the trail you'd like to become familiar with. 

If this interests you, contact Gary Hegeman, 414-217-7626 or by email.

Who uses the Ice Age Trail?

Did you know that about 1.25 million visitors use the Ice Age Trail each year? Or that the economic impact is estimated at 1,481 full time equivalent jobs serving those visitors, which translates into lots of money spent by visitors. These and other conclusions are the result of a year-one report of a multi-year economic study of the trail users conducted by Economic Development Partners, and the report is available to download. There are lots of interesting bits of information about our visitors, as well as recommendations by the consultants as to what the IATA can do to better serve their needs. 

Sunday Hike Resumes in May

Our series of Sunday afternoon hikes will resume on Sunday, May 5. Is there a section you'd like to explore with a small group of friends? How about being the leader? 

Our Sunday Hikers meet at 1 PM on Sunday, May 5, at the Chippewa Moraine Ice Age Interpretive Center, east of New Auburn.

Where To Find Information

Here's where to look for IAT and IATA information:

IATA Information: http://iceagetrail.org/home

Chippewa Moraine Chapter Information: www.iatchippewa.org AND http://chippewamoraine.iceagetrail.org/home AND www.twitter.com/iatachippewa (subscribe!)

Calendar of Chapter and Alliance Events: http://chippewamoraine.iceagetrail.org/chapter-events

Chippewa Mammoth Trackers (informal hike announcements): http://groups.yahoo.com/group/MammothTracker

Hiking the trail: www.iceagetrail.org (check the options under the "Hike the IAT" tab). For Chippewa County: http://chippewamoraine.iceagetrail.org/hike-the-chapter

National Park Service Information about the Ice Age Trail: www.nps.gov/iatr/index.htm


The Ice Age Trail

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