April 2002 Trail Dispatch

Ice Age Trail Alliance
Chippewa Moraine Chapter

Ice Age Trail Dispatch

April 2020

Change is on the way

In Case It Wasn’t Obvious . . .

Unless you just completed a 6-week through-hike, a few things should be obvious; but to be clear, we’ll restate them here.

  1. Spring has arrived, the snow is (mostly) gone, water has begun to appear in the ponds and lakes, and the spring wildlife is proceeding as if nothing is peculiar with the world. All very reassuring, to be sure.
  2. The Ice Age Trail Alliance has suspended all volunteer activity until at least May. That includes meetings, hikes, and workdays.
  3. Our volunteers have been asked to not undertake any volunteer activity on the land. Stay at home.
  4. The general public is taking advantage of the trail as a way to get out of the house and enjoy some fresh air and extreme social distancing. That includes some of our volunteers, who have been hiking and taking notes or photos of work to be done in the future. But if you go to hike, don’t be surprised to find more downed trees or other minor issues (along with the usual high water and muddy sections of trail).
  5. The Obey Interpretive Center is not open until at least the end of April; the Ice Age Trail Alliance Annual Conference has been cancelled; the annual ultramarathon has been cancelled; the Outdoor Adventure Expo in Minneapolis has been postponed.
  6. The state's Stay-at-home order defines going for a walk in a park as essential activity, as long as it is “close to home” and “in your community”.
  7. Our chapter’s May 3 hike has also been cancelled. Other May activities are on hold until we get further information.

If you’re anxious to get out and go for a hike, see the Ice Age Trail Alliance’s page on all things related to using the trail during these uncertain times. There is a wealth of good information there.

Go directly here if you want more explanation of our organization’s policy, especially on volunteer activity.

Spring Fever

Volunteer Hours

While volunteer work on the trail is not currently being tallied, work at home can be. Happily, this coincides with the frequently overlooked time for reporting volunteer hours for January - March. Chances are you don’t have many to report, but you may have some lingering hours for October - December that didn’t get turned in. Either way, spend some time tallying them and forward them in as soon as possible. Our volunteer report will be sent in in the coming week.

For a handy form that you can use to gather your records, just download one of these two pages: for Word or for Excel. You can fill in the digital form and email it in, or print it out and send it some other way.

Don’t forget to keep track of the time it took you to compile the report and put it on your April-June page.

Rotten Ice

Spring Trail Survey

In anticipation of a gradual resumption of our trail maintenance activities later this spring, our trail maintenance coordinator, Jerry Sazama, will be making arrangements directly with individuals for projects. When you are comfortable resuming this type of volunteer activity, let Jerry know directly

In the meantime, any reports of issues needing attention, such as trees down, trail structure failures, etc will be appreciated. Send a description and location information to Jerry. A photo is very helpful, and the location on the trail. The Guthook or Mammoth Tracks mobile app is very useful for that. It will tell you what mile point the problem is at. Another option is the Hiker Resource Map on the Ice Age Trail website after you get back home. You can put a point on the map, and then click on the tag to discover the latitude and longitude, which you can include in your report. If your camera is so enabled, your photos may also contain latitude and longitude information.

As a matter of fact, this might be a great time to get up to speed on how to use the Hiker Resource Map and the Mobile app.


Trail Safe!

Another great volunteer activity that is available right at home (and a good investment for your future activity on the land) is the series of videos in the Trail Safe! series. Check it out, and spend some quality time learning how to work safely. (Be sure to tally your time spent.) 

If you think the training presenter looks vaguely familiar, that’s because the series is presented by Dan Watson of the Ice Age National Scenic Trail National Park Service headquarters. Dan is planning to visit our chapter in the near future to talk about some current issues and will be more than delighted if you have questions for him that have arisen from watching the series. The series has now been adopted by many other trails and parks in the NPS system, so Dan’s a celebrity.

The training isn’t about how to open a saw, or how not to cut off your finger when closing a saw. Rather it is an approach to safety that analyzes human behavior.