2019 Ice Age National Scenic Trail Highlights

Ice Age Trail Alliance (IATA)


Technology — IATA used targeted ads for its Trailtessa Retreats and trailbuilding efforts, grew its social media following by 16% for a year-end total of over 30,000 followers, and introduced nearly 150,000 individuals to its work through a year-end video campaign. 

Programs — IATA held successful Trailtessa Retreats in partnership with the REI Force of Nature initiative. Over 650 women and girls explored the trail at nine events across Wisconsin, including a snowshoe hike, introduction to camping, summer picnic, fall colors hike, and two multi-day and night backpacking trips. IATA worked with schools and students of all ages for its youth education Saunters program, conducting service learning projects, day hikes, and a summer school program. IATA received funding from the National Park Foundation through Think Outside to expand Saunters in 2019-2020 by working with 2,000 fourth graders from 30 schools.


Land — IATA’s total number of properties acquired and (future) trail miles protected is the lowest in decades; however, successes were the variety of ways that land was protected in 2019. IATA acquired land in fee where it once held an easement; sold fee land and retained an easement on another property; and moved quickly to purchase a parcel within a couple months of being offered the property. NPS protected 40 acres of trail corridor land in Langlade County through the Land and Water Conservation Fund and in partnership for the Ice Age NST.

Signage — IATA created and installed a six-panel wayside exhibit at the historic Merrimac Ferry crossing of the trail on Wisconsin Department of Transportation land. IATA developed a template for You-Are-Here signage, being piloted in two counties, with four additional counties in the wings.

Planning Concurrent with the development of a USFS-IATA-NPS Memorandum of Understanding and with the development of a Trail Management plan, 47 miles of trail, including existing infrastructure, and 30 trail relocations, ranging from 200 feet to 3 miles in length, were assessed throughout the Chequamegon National Forest. Additionally, macro analysis is planned for new trail development in an area encompassing an additional 3,000 acres in the national forest.


Staffing — IATA created and filled two new staff positions: Field Operations Coordinator and Land Steward. IATA successfully piloted a “Seasonal Trail Crew” initiative by hiring and managing five young adults ages 18-25.

Strategic Plan — IATA began planning for a new strategic planning process. The current plan ends December 2020.  

Trainings — IATA held another year of Ice Age Trail University and Crew Leader Skills trainings.