Report of 2021 Activities

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Thank you to all for putting your trust in me to take over from Richard’s capable hands.  A huge thank you to Richard Smith for all his help in training me in on all the tasks of a chapter coordinator.  He got me all set up with the various programs and taught me how to use them.  He was always happy to answer my questions whenever I called which was often.  Thank you very much, Richard.

In December, Jerry Sazama and I met with Matt Hanson,  the County Forester, and we walked Harwood Lakes to discuss the upcoming logging project which is scheduled for 2021, 2024, 2027, and 2030.  The greatest effect to the trail took place in the summer of 2021.  Logging took place from east of the heron rookery to the start of the horse trail.  This included the 2021 logging plus a corridor along the trail through the 2024 logging.  This will create a visual barrier for the clear cut in 2024.  The logging was completed and the logging road was graded by the county afterwards.  There was also a select cut of hardwoods near the horse trail.  Lots of shuttles took place in the spring and early summer as people came to hike Harwood Lakes prior to the logging project.

Also in December, we met with Patrick Gleisner from the Alliance.  We walked sections of our segments in regards to future projects.  These included the flooding reroutes at Picnic Lake and Horseshoe Lake, the bridge at Picnic Lake, the boardwalk at Firth Lake and potential DCA sites, and the upcoming logging route among others.  Later in April, we met with Patrick and with Dave Caliebe to look at potential DCA sites at Firth Lake and to flag a potential reroute at Horseshoe Lake.  In June we met with them again and flagged future trail at the Otter Lake Esker and east of Kim’s Crossing.  We identified 3 potential DCAs on the Firth Lake Segment.  We also hiked the potential future extension of the Chippewa River Segment with Mike Rivers.  This would bring hikers from Cty Z to Hwy 64 through the hills south of Cty. CC.  All of these projects have been sent in to the National Park Service for approval.

December is also when we first met with Richard Erickson, the shop teacher at Cornell High School, to discuss our signage project.  During the spring, students from the HS shop program stained and routed signs for all of our segment trailheads.  Another student painted the first coat of yellow paint for the lettering on most of the signs before school came to a close.  The Blazettes met in the summer to complete the painting of the lettering.  In September, the new signage was installed in time for the Mammoth Challenge in October.

In the spring we resumed leading hikes with a limit on participants due to Covid.  I led a hike with the 7th grade After School students in April.  We held our First Sunday Hike and led a hike for the Natural Resources Foundation on the Chippewa River Segment in May.   In June we had the National Trails Hike on the Harwood Segment.   Mayo Hospitals was not holding events this year which included the Snowshoe Hike in February and the Solstice Hike in June.  The Girl Scout Council worked with us to plan a Solstice Hike at Camp Nawakwa for girl scouts.  We had a full roster of scouts scheduled, but had to cancel due to thunderstorms that evening.  In August and September, we had the First Sunday Hikes on the Chippewa Moraine Segment.  We also hosted a Hike for Hunger with the Bohemian Hall which was well attended by families and raised money and food for the local food pantries.  Thank you, JoAnn Parks, for taking the lead on our monthly hikes. 

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I did Ice Age Trail presentations for the Think Outside program.  I presented to the 4th Grade at Cornell Elementary in May.  In September, I used the Think Outside program for a presentation at the Chetek Library.  In October I presented at the Obey Center with the 5th Grade from Bloomer.  JoAnn Parks, Sherry Jasper, and Barb Flom led 4 hikes with the students throughout the day.

Throughout spring, summer, and fall our Corridor committee has been meeting with Mary Tano and Eric Gabriel of the National Park Service via Zoom to finalize the 100+ page document for the Corridor Plan.  This plan has been approved and we are moving on to the next phase of the plan to establish trail in place of the connecting road between Cornell and the Taylor County line.  This is the culmination of work that was begun back in 2003.

October brought a repeat of the Mammoth Challenge.  This year hikers were challenged to hike 41 miles and visit 3 Trail Communities.  The Strive On app was updated for the event.  We offered two hikes during the event.  We had 42 hikers participate in the Parade of Colors Hike on October 2nd on the Chippewa Moraine segment and 54 hikers participated in the Hike & Meet Monty on October 9th on the Chippewa River Segment.  Most of the hikers on the 9th were scout troops and local scout families who had never hiked the Ice Age Trail before.  Thank you to all our chapter volunteers who assisted with these two hikes.

The Obey Center reopened at the end of June after being closed for over a year due to Covid.  We resumed merchandise sales at the Cornell Visitors Center in May and at the Obey Center when it reopened.  Merchandise sales have been brisk.

All the information on our trail maintenance work is in Jerry Sazama’s Trail Report, but I would like to conclude by thanking our core group of volunteers who make all of that work possible.  Your talents and dedication to our chapter trails and the Ice Age Trail as a whole are much appreciated. 

 

Vicki Christianson
Chapter Coordinator