A narrow dirt trail through a field with a yellow Ice Age Trail sign.

New Ice Age Trail segment coming to Waukesha County after DNR land purchase

The property is located between the Lapham Peak and Southern units of the Kettle Moraine State Forest and will be open for hiking, snowshoeing, and other activities.

Knowles-Nelson Stewardship Program funds were used for the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (DNR) to acquire a 38-acre property in Ottawa, Wisconsin. New trail that will be built on the land will link to Ice Age Trail’s Waterville segment, eliminating a dangerous walk alongside a road, according to reporting by the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.

“We’ve seen this as a key property for more than 20 years,” Kevin Thusius, senior director of land conservation strategy for the Ice Age Trail Alliance (IATA), said in a release. “It is vital for the connection of the Ice Age Trail.”

About half of the 1,200 mile Ice Age trail is made up of marked trail, with the other half traversing along existing low-traffic roads. The Ice Age Trail Alliance is working with the DNR to turn as much of the trail as possible into blazed trail segments, but this has become difficult due to the increase in land prices.

The $582,000 price tag for the Waterville property was primarily covered by a grant from the Knowles-Nelson Stewardship Program. The program allocates $1 million for Ice Age Trail acquisitions per year. IATA had previously launched a campaign to fundraise for the project, reaching their goal of $60,000.

Future plans for this property include adding about one mile of new trail and a short interpretative loop trail, plus a new parking area.

“This is one of the most populated areas of the state, and the public lands in the area are receiving extensive pressure from outdoor enthusiasts,” Thusius said in the release. “This will give folks another recreational opportunity in the area.”

Featured image by Joshua Mayer, 2015.

Share this post

Team Knowles Nelson badge with a bird taking flight.

Thanks! We'll keep you in the loop about Team Knowles Nelson.