Trail News

A Walk Through Time

January 2024

Volunteer Activity: Work with School Groups at Obey Center

View of Obey Center at Chippewa Moraine

The Obey Center will be open from 9:00 - 3:00 throughout the year on Wednesday thru Sunday. The staff will host classroom groups on Wednesdays and Thursdays as scheduled. Rod Gont is looking for people to volunteer with the classroom groups throughout the school year. These visits run from 9:00 to 2:00. Time is allotted for lunch. Rod needs one volunteer with each school group to work with Jeanette in the Obey Center while he is working with the students outside.

Volunteer work includes:

1. Staffing the front desk: greeting non-school visitors and answering their questions, selling IATA and park merchandise

2. Help Jeanette with the Exhibit Search. Students are divided into 3-person teams. They receive a worksheet. They have to travel to different stations within the displays and look for answers to questions. The volunteer has an Answer Key for the worksheet, and they check the students answers after they complete a station.

3. A volunteer may be scheduled to lead a hike.

Email or call Dave Hladilek if you are interested in volunteering. If you volunteer, Rod will contact you to find out when you are available.

Contact Dave Hladilek at or call him at 715-967-2800. Dave needs to do a background check because you would be working with school children. He needs your name, email, and phone number.

NOTE: Volunteers for the Ice Age Trail need to have a signed Volunteer Agreement from the National Park Service. If you do not have a volunteer agreement, you will need to get one from Dan Watson at the Wisconsin office of the National Park Service. See the article below for instructions on getting the agreement.

Ice Age National Scenic Trail Is Now A National Park

Unit Status Achieved! over photo of Firth Lake Segment trailhead
The Ice Age National Scenic Trail is now an official unit of the National Park Service!

The change in status was announced by National Park Service Director, Chuck Sams, during a press call with Wisconsin Senator Tammy Baldwin. (The North Country Trail and New England Trail were included in the status change and are also now units of the National Park Service.)

Attaining unit status has been a goal of the Ice Age Trail Alliance for decades. Many, many people—Alliance leadership, board members, volunteers, and supporters—have championed the cause. And at last, your voices were heard. So, thank you.

Unit Status is Important Because…

It recognizes the work of volunteers like you, who donate their time to the Trail.
It opens up new funding opportunities for the Trail.
It levels the playing field: now the Ice Age Trail, North Country Trail, and New England Trail will be treated the same as other National Scenic Trails and National Parks.

As Tammy Baldwin said of the unit designation, “the Ice Age Trail and North Country Trail officially joined the ranks of the most iconic landmarks in the United States.”

So, here’s to the Ice Age Trail—an official unit of the National Park Service. And here’s to you. Thanks for everything you’ve done to make the Trail what it is. And for everything you’ll do to get it closer to completion.

Chapter Annual Meeting Report

The Annual Meeting took place on Monday, November 20th at the Chippewa County Courthouse. Reports were given on our well-attended hikes and various presentations that were held, our busy trail maintenance season (which included the big cleanup of winter damage on 5 segments in Rusk and Barron County, construction of a new bridge at Brunet Island State Park, and a half mile reroute at Horseshoe Lake, and many other projects), and the updating of our blazing from Firth Lake thru Chippewa Moraine (to meet new IAT standards). Our chapter hiking challenge patches (CHIP off the old MORAINE) have been popular and we have sent out 99 patches this year.
Entrance to Obey Center

Vicki Christianson has been re-elected to another 2 year term as Chapter Coordinator. Tom Kolb has been re-elected to another 2 year term as Chapter Treasurer. All other officers will be up for election in 2024.

The Financial Report was given, and the Proposed 2024 Budget was presented and approved. The Chapter is donating $5000 (out of $20,000 needed) to keep the Obey Center open during the 2023-2024 school year. The Alliance is also donating $5000. Earlier in July, the DNR scheduled the Obey Center to be closed from Oct. 2nd to May 15th. With the donations from our chapter and the Alliance, the Obey Center is able to remain open and hold their classroom programs for schools in the Chippewa Valley.

Camp Nawakwa Update

View from Camp Nawakwa
Over a year ago, the Northwest WI Girl Scout Council announced the sale of Camp Nawakwa in NE Chippewa County. The Ice Age Trail travels through the camp on the south side of Picnic Lake. A non-profit group was formed on November 14, 2022, called Our Nawakwa, with the goal of purchasing Camp Nawakwa and continuing its purpose as a place for youth to be engaged with the out-of-doors.  They have a Board of Directors and working committees. They have engaged community youth partners, and designed a business plan to become financially sustainable. Their offer to purchase of the camp has been accepted, and they are proceeding with a fund-raising campaign. They will take ownership in early January. We have been partnering with the Girl Scouts at Camp Nawakwa, and will continue to do so with Our Nawakwa.
You can find Our Nawakwa on Facebook. Their website is You can email them at

Ice Age Trail Crew - Projects for 2024

two trail maintance volunteers with mower and string trimmer

The calendar is out for IATA trail projects for 2024.
Go to: for information on the upcoming trail events.
Ice Age Trail Crew was previously known as Mobile Skills Crew, or MSC for short.

Chainsaw and First Aid Training

Chainsaw Training:

For those of you who are interested in taking chainsaw training, four training opportunities are scheduled for 2024. These will fill up fast, so sign up as soon as possible.

To learn more about becoming a sawyer/swamper, go to: There are some changes posted on the page, so check it out even if you are already certified.

Training Dates and Places:

April 27-28 Interstate Park
May 18-19 Samsel Sawmill (Waushara County)
Sept. 21-22 NPS Cross Plains
Sept. 28-29 Kettle Moraine State Forest (Waukesha County)

If you are previously certified for chainsaw, but need to renew this year; or you are new to chainsaw training, please check out the page on the Ice Age Trail Website: Calling All Sawyers and Swampers!

You will need to complete the Chainsaw Training Application. People have already been sending applications in, so you should take care of this as soon as possible to get on the list for the scheduled trainings.

2024 Volunteer Agreement Links

Check out the new links for renewing your Volunteer Agreements. Please use the new links here for the Volunteer Agreement and the email address for sending it in to Dan Watson.

All volunteers need to have a completed Volunteer Agreement for the National Park Service each year in order to participate in our trail improvement days or to volunteer at events. There is a new form on the Alliance Website.

To access the new Volunteer Agreement, here is the link: Please fill out the fillable form and email it to:

NOTE: Fill in all the required boxes. The fillable boxes are on everything except the signature line. You can type your name and date in the date box next to the signature line. Save the document to your computer and then send it to Dan Watson as an attachment. Or print off your completed document, sign it, and mail it to Dan Watson. Dan’s address is on the directions page that comes with the form.

When you send in the Volunteer Agreement to Dan Watson, he will sign it and return it to you. Please print a copy for yourself or save it in your files. Email us at to let us know that you have received your new signed Volunteer Agreement.