October 2013 Trail Dispatch

Ice Age Trail Alliance • Chippewa Moraine Chapter

Ice Age Trail Trail Dispatch

October 2013

All IATA Volunteer Work Must Be Suspended During Shutdown

We received word from IATA and the National Park Service that due to the shutdown, the NPS IAT office is closed along with the VIP (volunteer) program, which means no volunteer activity can take place. This is because when we do any work on the IAT, we are considered "volunteer employees" of the National Park Service, and are covered for medical costs and liability claims by the federal government. Without this protection, we would be personally liable for any costs relating to an injury that occurs while working on the trail, as well as in the event of an auto accident while working or in transit on IAT business. While we rarely experience such claims, I am currently processing just such a claim for medical treatment costs incurred while working on the trail.

It's not likely that this will go on forever, but 17 years ago it went on for several days and then happened again a couple of months later.

The MSC project in St Croix Falls this week has been cancelled.

If the shutdown has not ended by the weekend, our Parade of Colors Fall Hike will also have to be cancelled. You will know if the shutdown has ended, and therefore that the Parade of Colors can be held after all, by listening to the news. At this point, it is "on hold", awaiting further developments. 

The short story is that we have been directed by the NPS and the IATA, in no uncertain terms, to suspend all volunteer activity until the shutdown is over.

Parade of Colors Fall Hike: This Saturday, Oct. 5

Assuming the shutdown has ended, we will hold our annual Parade of Colors Fall Hike on the Ice Age Trail, on Saturday, Oct. 5. Don't miss this annual celebration of the Ice Age Trail at the Chippewa Moraine. As always, our volunteers (that could be you!) shuttle the hikers to their starting point, from 1 to 6 miles away. Hikers return to the Interpretive Center, enjoying the fall colors reflected in the 21 sparkling glacial lakes the trail weaves past. At their return, they're greeted with refreshments. 

Hikers can arrive and begin their hike any time between 9 AM and 11 AM. Participants may come individually, or as a small group of friends or family. They may choose to hike alone, or they can join with others and meet some new trail friends.

If you'd like to volunteer, let us know; there are still some slots available for volunteer drivers and hosts. Otherwise gather some friends you'd like to introduce to the trail and come join us as we take a walk through time.

October Trail Improvement Coming on Saturday, Oct. 19

We have a full plate of sign repairs and blaze painting to accomplish on our workday this month. If painting appeals to you, make a special effort to attend this event and learn how to paint that magic yellow stripe that guides hikers on their way. Wear appropriate clothing for painting, or for general trail work if you want to leave the paint brushes to others. Also bring water and lunch, wear sturdy shoes, and bring your favorite work gloves.

Please register for this work day so we know how many to plan for, by sending an email to: chapter@iatchippewa.org with your plans.

Remember that this event is contingent on the United States being back in business by Oct. 19.  

Coming Up: Full Moon Hike, Friday, Nov. 15

Mark your calendars and plan to attend the Full Moon Hike on Friday, Nov. 15. We'll take a short walk from Hwy E along the newly constructed trail to the new camp site. Along the way we'll be following the shore of Picnic Lake and get great views of the moonlit landscape. We'll have a fire at the camp site, serve refreshments (marshmallows, anyone?) and walk back. All in all, a pleasant amble on our newest trail segment, bathed in moonlight on a crisp autumn evening.

Mark the date for the Regional Rally, Sunday, Nov. 17

The former regional meetings have been re-branded as the Regional Rally and moved to Sunday, Nov. 17. The rally will be held near Weyerhaeuser, and will provide an opportunity to learn about trail issues and topics of concern to the northwestern chapters. Watch for more information coming next month.

See you on the trail,

Richard Smith, Chippewa Moraine Chapter Chair

The Ice Age Trail • A Walk Through Time