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Bids wanted for Ice Age trail project

By Jan Basina

Ice Age Trail Red Cedar Narrows State Trunk Highway 48 Underpass, Near Birchwood, Washburn County

There are only 11 national scenic trails in the United States, and Wisconsin is home to one of them: the Ice Age National Scenic Trail.

The trail is a 1,000-mile foot path that meanders entirely through the Wisconsin landscape. While enjoying magnificent panoramic views, the trail provides hikers access to some of the state’s most beautiful natural areas.

Created more than 12,000 years ago by an immense glacier that receded and left behind a variety of intrinsic landscape features, the Ice Age Trail is considered among the world’s finest examples of how continental glaciation carved our plant.

The trail route passes through 30 counties and is maintained by 21 local volunteer chapters. Each year, volunteers contribute tens of thousands of hours to forge new segments of the Ice Age Trail and tend to existing ones. The Ice Age Trail Alliance, a nonprofit and volunteer-based coalition, oversees organizing and supporting these volunteers. And volunteers are always needed.

But once in a while, the need arises for experienced tradesmen to handle a project- as is the case in Washburn County. Bids are wanted for the construction of a pedestrian trail and pass under the State Trunk Highway 48 Bridge at Red Cedar Lake Narrows, near Birchwood. Bids are due March 2 to the Ice Age Trail Alliance.

With more than 1,000 miles of trail, it is said that to hike the entire trail would take most people about three months, walking an average of 12 miles a day (no vehicles allowed). Walking, hiking, backpacking and snowshoeing are the preferred ways to visit the Ice Age Trail. Some segments also support cross-country skiing, and there’s a limited number of trails that allow snowmobiles and ATVs.

So whether you want to spend a day, a week, or a month exploring the Ice Age Trail, there’s plenty of hiking opportunities for all levels of adventure seekers.

Happy trails.

Jan Basina is a data reporter at The Daily Reporter. She can be reached at 414-225-1817.

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