August 2015 Trail Dispatch

Ice Age Trail Alliance

Chippewa Moraine Chapter

Ice Age Trail Dispatch

August 2015

Trail Improvement Day, Saturday August 15

The air is cooling, the bugs are thinning, and its time for a trail improvement day. We have a variety of tasks planned for August 15 including lopping, installing sign posts, fixing some stiles, etc. None of it is too strenuous, but all of it gets you out onto the trail at a beautiful time of year.

We’ll meet at 9:00 at the Obey Interpretive Center at the Chippewa Moraine. Bring your lunch and water, and have gloves, sturdy shoes, long pants, and bug repellant.

If you can join us, please email the chapter so we can plan for a great day.

Thanks to Area Methodists For A Big Helping Hand!

At the end of July our chapter organized a day full of helpful trail improvements and hosted a team of volunteers from area United Methodist Churches who chose to spend their volunteer day helping on the IAT. A total of 31 participants from the chapter and the volunteer group put in a great day on four teams and accomplished much!

One highlight is the extension of a bridge near the Deerfly Trail that could not previously be crossed without walking in muck due to intermittent beaver activity or spring rain and runoff. Many hours of advance preparation went into the project, which was assembled beautifully on site by the team on the workday. Another team repaired some sign damage and “hardened” the trail access point at Firth Lake, while another worked at Kim’s Crossing bridge and another bridge on a variety of repairs and upgrades. Finally, a finishing crew did some much needed general trail maintenance, cutting back encroaching branches and blackberry.

Though it was a lot of work to prepare for, and it occurred at a time of year we normally avoid heavy maintenance days, the project was a huge boost to the condition of the trail, and a large group of friends from the area got their hands involved and made part of the IAT their own. It was a great group, and we enjoyed working with them all, but one highlight was the rather international flavor of several of the volunteers. While digging post holes and reaching wet soil, one of the volunteers, Rev. Mensah of Chippewa Falls, recalled digging wells by hand in Ghana. We were also joined by IATA volunteers from as far away as Wausau who came to help lead the crews (thanks, Gail!).

Merchandise Gets A Face Lift

Our chapter merchandise display at the Obey Interpretive Center has received a face lift with more behind the curtain improvements planned by our new merchandise volunteer, Kate Lindsay. The shirts and sweatshirts and other items have been consolidated into one area along the wall (next to the beaver pond!). A new shelving unit handles the varieties of shirts and sizes, and other items such as books, pins, patches, etc. are displayed immediately above. Our stock has been refreshed, so you should be able to find your size readily, and most of the sizes are out for inspection, relieving staff of having to go into the back to fetch the right size and color. Kate’s also working on a tagging system to make accounting easier for the Obey Center staff.

Our chapter is grateful to the Obey Center staff for their participation in handling the sale of the items. The profits from the items we sell all support our local efforts to build, maintain, and support the IAT, locally as well as beyond. 

$27 for the IATA

You probably know that the State of Wisconsin has cut back its support for the IATA by $74,000 in the middle of our budget year, so it’s been suggested to members to send along $27 (or more) to the IATA to make up for the hole in the trail. What really helps is membership. If you are not currently a member, now is a great time to join. If you are a member, invite your hiking friends to join as well. Just sayin...

Trail Adopters Keep Trail Monitored and In Good Great Shape

We’ve organized a full slate of volunteers who periodically visit an “adopted” section of trail and take care of minor maintenance issues or report on more substantial work needs. It’s how we find out about vandalism, trees down, etc. Our great group of adopters tries to visit the trail two or three times during the year, and we’re grateful for their efforts. 

If you are a volunteer and haven’t visited lately, now is a great time to get out and check on the status of the trail. If you encounter something needing further attention, take a picture with your smartphone and email it to us! That helps us find it, assess what we need to deal with it, and determine the priority.

Coming Up

Looking ahead, please add these dates to your calendars:

Note: There will be NO Sunday hike in September.

Monday, Sept. 21: Chapter Meeting

Saturday, Sept. 26: Trail Improvement Day

Saturday, Oct. 3: Parade of Colors - Fall Hike on the Ice Age Trail