More than 12,000 years ago, an immense flow of glacial ice sculpted a landscape of remarkable beauty across Wisconsin. As the glacier retreated, it left behind a variety of unique landscape features. These glacial remnants are now considered among the world’s finest examples of how continental glaciation sculpts our planet.
The Ice Age National Scenic Trail is a thousand-mile footpath that highlights these landscape features as it travels through some of the state’s most beautiful natural areas. The Trail is entirely within Wisconsin and is one of only eleven National Scenic Trails.
But the Ice Age Trail is more than a path through the woods. It is a place for mental and physical rejuvenation, a place to unwind after a hard day and enjoy the landscape of Wisconsin. More than 1 million people use the Ice Age Trail each year to hike and snowshoe, to backpack, to disconnect and reconnect.
Behind the scenes, a vibrant community of volunteers across the state work to build and maintain the Trail, making it one of the country’s best hiking experiences.
– See more at: About the Ice Age Trail
Volunteering with the Waukesha/Milwaukee Chapter of the Ice Age Trail Alliance (IATA) was my introduction to working on the land — well, besides mowing the grass, raking leaves and caddying. Ken Neitzke was the chapter president when I joined the organization and he inspired me to begin my volunteer career. There I met Mike and Yvonne Fort and Marlin Johnson, Pat Witkowski, and many other wonderful people who taught me the value of hard work and dedication.
The leadership team at the IATA consistently draws an exceptional group of people including Kevin Thusius and Tim Malzahan, who have consistently, and painstakingly, stone by stone, built a trail worthy of the National Scenic Trail distinction.
I have always enjoyed working on IATA projects because they have clear goals, great organization, skilled leadership and warm camaraderie.
Now that the trail is pretty well established through Waukesha County, the chapter has expanded their vision, literally, to include creating “view sheds” on scenic stretches of the trail. This involves my favorite activity: cutting or “grubbing out” buckthorn. From late spring to late fall the “Monday Mudders” hit the trail wherever trail boss, Pat Witkowski sees a need to do some maintenance. I have joined them a few times this past year and you can check out the stories here, here and here.
The Ice Age Trail passes right by the Scuppernong Springs and this past year I have really enjoyed patrolling this stretch of the trail for downed trees.
I encourage you to join the Waukesha/Milwaukee Chapter of the Ice Age Trail Alliance (IATA) and participate in their workdays and social events.
See you on The Trail!