Skip to content

Baldwin Delivers Upgraded National Park Service Designation, Additional Funding Opportunities to Ice Age Trail

Baldwin has been fighting for this upgrade and funding for Ice Age Trail and North Country Trail since 2014

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, U.S. Senator Tammy Baldwin (D-WI) announced a boost for Wisconsin’s Ice Age and North Country scenic trails, providing them improved management and access to additional funding. Since 2014, Senator Baldwin has called for this change, designating Wisconsin’s trails unit status under the National Park Service, to deliver additional federal resources to maintain and preserve these critical resources for Wisconsin.

“The Ice Age Trail touches countless communities in the Badger State, charting a path from the St. Croix River, through the heart of Wisconsin, and all the way back up to Door County. Along those hundreds of miles, local businesses, families, outdoor enthusiasts, and communities reap the benefits as visitors from all over come to enjoy Wisconsin’s great outdoors,” said Senator Baldwin. “I was proud to lead the charge to support both the Ice Age and the North Country scenic trails new designations, unlocking additional federal resources to ensure generations to come can better enjoy Wisconsin’s wilderness.”

Since 2014, Senator Baldwin has introduced the National Scenic Trails Parity Act, bipartisan legislation to grant unit status to three National Scenic Trails that are part of the National Park System (NPS), including the Ice Age and North Country National Scenic Trails, to improve management, establish administrative clarity, and grant access to additional federal resources.

Wisconsin’s newly designated trails have joined the ranks of existing parks along with the New England scenic trail, bringing the total number of NPS units from 425 to 428. The Ice Age, New England, and North Country national scenic trails, all previously established by Congress and administered by the National Park Service as part of?the National Trails System, are now also recognized as units of the National Park System. Joining this system will raise public awareness about Wisconsin’s national scenic trails and allow them to access more funding and programmatic resources of the agency that are limited to NPS units.

“This is truly momentous for the Ice Age Trail and its thousands of supporters and volunteers,” said Luke Kloberdanz, Executive Director and CEO of the Ice Age Trail Alliance. “Unit status gives the Trail, and its volunteers, the recognition it duly deserves. Make no mistake: the Ice Age Trail is world-class and the number of hours Alliance volunteers devote to it consistently rank among the top in all the National Park Service.”

The Ice Age National Scenic Trail?in Wisconsin is nearly 1,200 miles long. Its landscape of lakes, river valleys, gently rolling hills, and ridges?are reminders that just 15,000 years ago, during the Ice Age, much of North America lay under a huge glacier. The North Country National Scenic Trail?is expected to be a 4,600-mile continuous path when completed, crossing through Wisconsin in Douglas, Bayfield, Ashland, and Iron counties.

Senator Baldwin made the announcement Thursday with NPS Director Chuck Sams and Luke Kloberdanz, Executive Director and CEO of the Ice Age Trail Alliance. A full recording of that announcement is available here.