Ice Age Trail in Langlade County getting ready to expand
For decades, the Ice Age Trail Alliance and its many volunteers have worked to build a 1,200-mile-long trail that highlights Wisconsin’s landscape formed by glacier retreat.
Today, there are more than 600 miles of marked trail. But in between those segments, the trail detours onto the sides of roads.
Nearly 60 miles of the Ice Age Trail runs through Langlade County.
The five different segments wind around rivers and lakes, over hills, and travel along the edge of the Summit Moraine.
The southern end of the Kettlebowl segment ends on Sherry Road off Highway 64 east of Antigo.
From there, the next trail segment doesn’t start until the Plover River Segment at the Marathon and Langlade County borders.
“That’s a 25-mile road walk. So we’re trying to fill the gap or get an off-road trail on the map for hikers and get them off the road,” said Joe Jopek. He’s the Ice Age Trail Alliance’s Langlade Chapter coordinator and a long-time volunteer.
The Ice Age Trail Alliance has secured land between the Kettlebowl and Plover River Segments.
Last week, Jopek says Antigo City Council unanimously approved using part of the land at the old landfill for parts of the trail.
Together that will fill the gap between the two segments and get the Ice Age Trail another step closer to permanently protecting the entire route.
“When we started in 1973 it was just a man’s dream that he wanted to have a long-distance trail that comes from the Green Bay Peninsula all the way down to the Janesville area and then back up to the Madison area, up to this area, and then turns west towards the St. Croix area following the moraines of the last ice age,” said Jopek.
Jopek warns people to be patient. It will still be a couple of years before all the trail work in the area is done.
The Ice Age Trail is one of 11 National Scenic Trails in the country.