Late July 2014 Update

Ice Age Trail Dispatch

Late July 2014

Lend Your Support to Making the IAT a “Unit of the National Park System"

Sometimes a couple of words make all the difference, and this is one of them. 

Sometimes you get a chance to help make a difference, and this is one of them as well.

The Ice Age National Scenic Trail needs your letter of support today. 

Congress is (FINALLY) considering a bill that will make the IANST a full-fledged “Unit of the National Park System”. You ask, hasn’t it been all along? Well, as a matter of fact, it has not. That meant it did not qualify for a number of opportunities that other parks, trails, and monuments received, chiefly funding. Tom Gilbert, the original and recently retired Superintendant of the IANST said this was a critical next step for the IAT and made it his parting campaign for the trail. It didn’t happen under his tenure though, but it may actually happen now.

Senator Baldwin has co-sponsored S. 2293, the National Scenic Trails Parity Act, which gives National Park “Unit” Status to the Ice Age, North Country, and New England National Scenic Trails. The first important hearing has just been held on July 23, but public comments are welcomed until August 8. Senator Baldwin has requested written support for her bill, and that’s where we come in!

Write a letter to the National Parks Subcommittee of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee and email it to David Brooks at the Senate Energy Committee. He’ll see to it that it is entered into the record.

One of the big differences comes in the opportunity for the IAT to compete for funding when special programs are offered. Recently, our proposals ranked at or near the top, but were disqualified at the last minute because of the technicality that we were not a full fledged “Unit”. This really needs to change in order for the IAT to reach its full potential. We’d join three other trails that already have this status, including the iconic Appalachian Trail.

So fire your letter off (via email) and express how you feel it’s time for the IANST to have full “Unit” status as a member of the National Park System and attain eligibility for the funding so sorely needed to enable the IAT to realize its full potential and the intent of Congress when it designated it a National Scenic Trail.

If you don’t mind, please send a copy of your letter to Ice Age Trail Alliance Executive Director Mike Wollmer so that IATA can track support for the proposal.

Coming Up: Corridor Planning Open Houses

Remember that we have two public open houses to explain to the public the corridor that is being proposed for the Ice Age Trail from Cornell to Taylor County, and you’re invited to attend and/or help at one or both.

Here’s the schedule:

Saturday, Aug. 2 — Cornell Open House — Hike at 10, Open house from 12-3 — Cornell High School

Thursday, Aug. 7 — Stanley Open House — Open house from 5-8 — Stanley High School

We’re still looking for greeters and supporters at both events, and hike hosts and shuttle drivers for the Cornell event. If you live in or near the affected area, your participation is even more important. Interested? Email us.

Sunday Hike: Sunday, August 3

Our next Sunday hike will be on Sunday, August 3 at 1 PM. Meet at the Obey Interpretive Center at the Chippewa Moraine, and join hikemeister JoAnn Parks on an afternoon ramble. It’s a good chance to get reconnected with the woods and trail if you’ve been hiding out during the height of bug season. Late season flowers are blooming, frogs and toads are hopping, and colorful berries and fruits are appearing. Don’t forget the insect protection, water, and a snack.