March 2017 Trail Dispatch

Ice Age Trail Alliance
Chippewa Moraine Chapter

Ice Age Trail Dispatch

March 2017

NPS Representative Dan Watson Will Speak at a Chapter Meeting on Monday, March 20

Our next chapter meeting will be held at 6:30 PM Monday, March 20 at the Chippewa Falls Public Library. Special Guest Dan Watson of the NPS will be on hand, and we will discuss our participation in all the April trail events happening in Chippewa County.

Dan Watson, IAT Volunteer Coordinator at the National Park Service in Madison, will be on hand to provide some updated training on handling medical emergencies and making the trip to the medical facility pain-free as far as the paperwork is concerned. He’ll review any questions we have on managing safety in the field, and then provide an overview of some of his experiences with the National Park Service including his experiences fighting forest fires in the west. It should be an interesting meeting and another opportunity to remember that we are all volunteers with the National Park Service, which celebrated its centennial last year.

The coming mini-MSC workdays (in April), our chapter workday(s) (in April), and the IATA Annual Conference (yes, in April) will provide lots of opportunities to get involved, get muddy, get connected, and get updated after wintering with other pursuits. Read on for more about these opportunities.

Chippewa Moraine Master Plan Final Open House

The DNR is having a final Open House at the Obey Interpretive Center from 4-7 PM next Tuesday, March 21. An earlier open house provide background about the master planning process and offered an opportunity to submit comments. 

This event is to give the public a chance to weigh in on specific options posed for the plan which will guide future development of the park. You will be able to see maps and information about the property, and have a chance to talk with agency representatives at the open house. Once the comments are gathered, the DNR will make final decisions on the plan and send it on to the Natural Resources Board for approval. 

The DNR has a webpage with much of the information available: There are links to five Planning documents showing the options for development in five different areas. 

The plan includes very limited additional primitive camping opportunities and a number of additional trails. Several of the trails loops connect to the Ice Age Trail. 

  Obey Interpretive Center

  13394 County Highway M

  New Auburn WI 54757


  Tuesday, March 21

  4 - 7 PM

April Trail Cleanup Workdays

Our annual spring cleanup on the trail is planned for Saturday, April 15. It’s our annual chance to whip the trail into shape for spring hiking and especially the Chippewa 50K UltraMarathon, coming up on Saturday, April 29. Observations so far tell us that the wind in recent weeks has left a lot of branches and downed trees in its wake. We target the trail between Hwy E and Mudbrook on this day, but would love to do more with enough hands. 

Meet at 9 AM at the Obey Center, or at 9:15 at the Deerfly Trail crossing. Bring a lunch and water, and dress for the season (wet conditions, ticks). Bring gloves, and a friend who hasn’t been along before. 

We have also scheduled an Earth Day workday on the following Saturday, April 22, in the event of inclement weather on the 15th, and to cover additional sections of trail east of Hwy E, especially those to be used on one of the Annual Conference hikes. This time we will meet at 9 AM at the Hwy CC parking area near Cornell. If you are overwhelmed by taxes on April 15, then you can celebrate on the trail on April 22!

Annual Conference - April 27-28 in Chippewa Falls

We have a once in a lifetime opportunity to participate fully in an IATA Annual Conference right in Chippewa County this year, and our chapter is encouraging as many of our volunteers and trail enthusiasts to participate fully. In fact, we’re helping pay your way! You can learn more about the conference in Mammoth Tales (sent to all members) when yours arrives (it is in the mail), or you can read about it and register online -

The featured speaker on Friday evening at 7:15 PM is Dr. Eva Selhub, physician,author, and expert on the importance nature plays in our health and wellbeing. 

There are a variety of packages for you to choose from based on the number of days you can attend, and these packages include meals. Registration deadline is April 21. 

To encourage as many to attend as possible, after the conference, based on the number attending, the chapter will reimburse up to $50 toward your fees (specific amount to be determined later) as long as you are an active chapter member in good standing. 

Volunteer Opportunities at the Annual Conference

You can volunteer to help at the annual conference by taking a shift at the registration table to welcome and orient new arrivals. We need volunteers for all shifts from 6:30 AM to 5 or 6 PM, Thursday, Friday, and Saturday. We need two persons per shift, and will break it into shifts. If you are interested, let us know which shifts you would like to cover (and recruit a friend to partner with to make it even more fun). If you don’t plan to attend the conference, pick whatever works for you. If you do wish to attend the conference sessions, take a look at the schedule online before committing to a particular block of time, and instead plan to help during a period that doesn’t interfere with what interests you on the program. Give us your general times, and we’ll build a schedule around it (sign up early and get first crack!).

If greeting old friends and new doesn’t excite you, then perhaps a day in the field will, and where better than on our own trail relocation project just west of Firth Lake. Plan to help with corridor clearing on Thursday from 8 AM to 4 PM and get your hands dirty!

Where to Find IATA and Chapter Event Information

The go-to place to find current information about all our chapter events and IATA events everywhere is the calendar at the IATA website, The Calendar link is at the upper right corner of the page, or bookmark To find our chapter-specific events, either choose Chippewa Moraine from the dropdown menu under Event Category and click the “Find Events” button, or just bookmark this button  ⬇︎

Chippewa Moraine Chapter Events

See you on the trail,

Richard Smith

Chippewa Moraine Chapter Chair


The Ice Age Trail

A Walk Through Time