History of the Trail

When our Portage County Chapter was Formed in 1983, we wanted to locate geological, historical, cultural, and archaeological features of the eastern towns of Portage County to aid us in locating areas for the County Ice Age Trail. We also, wanted to know if rookeries, endangered species, and big tree records were known in these towns as well as if public lands were available with in the form of county parks or hunting and fishing areas. Go Here for

Timeline of the Ice Age Trail in Wisconsin
~2.5 million years Span of Ice Age
years ago
The Wisconsin Glaciation
years ago
The late Wisconsin Glaciation
years ago
Green Bay and Lake Michigan Lobes begin to separate (although they had been thinning slowly for several thousand years)
1860 Geologist first link the formation of the Kettle Moraine to colossal ice sheets - Charles Whittlesey
1879 Thomas Chamberlin publishes "On the extent and significance of the Wisconsin Kettle Moraine"
Recent period of continental glaciation named for Wisconsin
Geology of Cross Plains-Verona-Middleton area first detailed by Frederick Thwaites
William Alden publishes "The Quaternary Geology of Southeastern Wisconsin"
Milwaukee Chapter of the Izaak Walton League acquires 850 acres in Kettle Moraine for recreation and conservation
State of Wisconsin begins acquisition of Kettle Moraine State Forest and volunteers from the Milwaukee Chapter of the Izaak Walton League begin construction hiking trails

Ray Zillmer of Milwaukee proposed the Ice Age Glacier National Forest Park along the entire length of the moraines of Wisconsin Glaciation. With continuous footpath so visitors could enjoy the glacial landscape.

Ice Age Park and Trail Foundation was established
Raymond Zillmer dies
National Trails System Act (16 U.S.C. 1241) passed by congress establishing framework for system of national scenic, historic, and recreational trails.
Congress establish the nine-unit Ice Age National Scientific Reserve to be administers by the National Park Service and State of Wisconsin. The 9 Reserve units are Two Creeks (Kewanee and Manitowoc); North Kettle Moraine Forest (Sheboygan); Cross Plains Terminal Moraine (Dane); Devils Lake (Sauk); Bloomer Moraine (Chippewa); St. Croix Falls Interstate Park (Polk) are part of the Ice Age Trail. Campbellsport Drumlin (Fond du Lac); Horicon Marsh (Dodge); and Mills Bluff Pinnacles (Monroe and Juneau) are not part of Ice Age Trail.
1975 Ice Age Trail Council was formed to coordinate work with local county chapters and public agencies
Congress recognized the Ice Age Trail and designated it a National Scenic Trail (NST). Segments certified before 1980 were recognized as National Recreation Trails.
Wisconsin legislature enacted law that the Ice Age NST should also be an Ice Age State Scenic Trail (Sect. 23:17)
Wisconsin Stewardship Program became law--acquisition of land in project areas (Sect. 23.09); matching funds (Sect. 23.293 4 & 5); participation of private groups and DNR (Sect. 23:175); non-profit organizations as IAP&T Foundation can receive grants (Sect. 23.096); ceiling of amount granted (Sect. 23.09 (2q) & (c.)). Administration of Stewardship grants is NR 51.
June of 1990, the Ice Age Trail Council and Foundation merged and became known as the Ice Age Park and Trail Foundation.
Memorandum of Agreement and Understanding between the National Parks Service (U.S. Forest Service); Wisconsin DNR (DOT); and ICe Age Park and Trail Foundation (County Chapters). There is a potential for 28 or more county chapters
1991-2001 Approval of County IAT Corridor Plans in Dane, Washington, Sauk, Columbia, Portage, & Waupaca Counties approved by their county park commissions and the state DNR board
14 National Scenic and Historical trails administered by NPS will receive 1.35 million from Congress, the NPS, $750,000; for the National Park Service Challenge Cost Share Program (grants) $600,000; and $500,000 for building the Chippewa Moraine Interpretative Center. Chippewa Moraine Visitor Center is open to the public.
The Northern and Southern Kettle Moraine to be joined together. Portage/ Waupaca County Ice Age Trail Corridor Plan (168 pages) was completed and approved by the DNR board and County Park Commissions.
The Conservation Fund, American Hiking Society and Land Trust Alliance awarded the IAP&T Fdn. three grants totaling $10,250 to work on land acquisition for the IAT. The new IAP&T Fdn. website went online.

Great addition to Lincoln County to ensure 7 miles of IAT.

Ice Age Park and Trail Foundation membership surpasses 4,000 members.
Congress appropriates federal Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCG) money for Ice Age Trail acquisitions for the first time
2000 Knowles-Nelson Wisconsin Stewardship Program begins, authorizing $3,000,000 per year for ten years for State Trail and Ice Age Trail Acquisitions
2000 Senator Kohl and Congressman Obey had put in the Federal budget 2 million of Land & Water Conservation Funds to WDNR for permanent IAT. NPS received $150,000 increase to its budget for IAT; it funded 2 staff positions.
2001 Congressman Dave Obey, Wisconsin’s 7 District received the “Ray Zillmer” award and Senator Kevin Shibilski, Democrat from Stevens Point received the “Friend of the Trail” award who worked to
increase funds for the Wisconsin Stewardship Trail.
There is continued effort to purchase permanent easements to complete and protect the Ice Age Trail.

Timeline for the Portage County Ice Age Trail Chapter