University of Wisconsion - Eau Claire




Trail Maintenance & Construction

15 hours

Community partner: Ice Age Trail Alliance
Supervisor: Vicki Christianson
Beginning date:
Ending Date:

Service-Learning Proposal Description


Briefly describe the project and the community need to be addressed.

Answer The Ice Age National Scenic Trail is a local treasure that is enjoyed for as many reasons as there are people using it. Locally, a 21 mile segment is located in northern Chippewa County, roughly from east of New Auburn to Cornell. A high-quality outdoor hiking trail requires regular maintenance and repairs to structures, tread, etc. to provide a safe hiking experience in a wilderness-like setting. The Ice Age Trail Alliance (IATA) is the volunteer organization that builds and maintains the trail, and it's all done with volunteers like you. The local chapter schedules regular monthly project days, usually on Saturday mornings, as well as special days as needed. Announcement and registration is handled via email mailing lists, and on the IATA website. The IATA also sponsors larger multi-day work projects from Spring to Fall around the state. Volunteers are provided with a camping spot and all meals on these large projects. Volunteers are covered by the National Park Service Volunteers in Parks program, which covers medical costs incurred due to injury on the job.


What is the mission of the agency or organization?

Answer The Ice Age Trail Alliance builds, maintains, and supports a thousand mile hiking trail tracing glacial formations across Wisconsin.


What skills are required for this project? 

Answer A variety of skills are used, depending on the project. However, what is common is an enjoyment of working outdoors in a wilderness-like setting with a small group. Carpentry skills are sometimes useful, general trail tools used include loppers, handsaws, ground scrapers, picks, shovels. Worksites are sometimes 1-2 miles from parking, involving walking on native surface paths on irregular terrain.


What are the objectives for the student learning and service?

Answer Students should learn about certain glacial features and how the landscape was formed by continental glaciation; how relatively simple modifications to the earth using modest hand tools can make wild places accessible to enjoyment by people with a wide range of abilities and ages; how working outdoors in a remote area enhances one's physical and mental health; and how a multi-generational group of volunteers can work together to build cherished community assets, and in so doing create community itself. More specifically, use of certain hand tools and trail building techniques, including vegetation, water, and trail user management will be learned.


What are the availability requirements for the student?

Answer Students need to be available for a full Saturday morning. Volunteers have flexibility as to which events they register for, but once registered we encourage that the student make their best effort to honor the commitment. Projects sometimes are rescheduled due to poor weather conditions. In addition to the monthly projects on Saturdays in fall and spring, there are occasional special days called during the week. A student would need to participate in multiple projects to achieve the needed hours.


Additional information (not required).

Answer Use this link to be included on email list for notices of trail project dates you can sign up for: