A 39-acre parcel of property in Langlade County will soon be home to a new segment of Wisconsin's Ice Age Trail, a hiking path that runs east from Interstate State Park in St. Croix Falls to Potawatomi State Park in Sturgeon Bay.
Family trustees of the Louise Selenske Estate sold the property late last year to the Ice Age Trail Alliance, which is based in Cross Plains. The property sits atop one of two moraines located in Langlade County, overlooking a landscape known in the area as Antigo Flats, according to an Ice Age Alliance press release. It's located south of Highway 64 at the intersection of Clover Road, just east of Antigo.
"This property serves as an anchor point for the (Ice Age) Trail in southern Langlade County," said Kevin Thusius, director of land conservation for the Alliance. The new trail segment will give visitors a chance to climb some hills that overlook Antigo and the landscape around it, and learn more about some of the geological features of the property. One of those features is a "glacial outwash plain," a flat area of land created by the sediment deposited by a glacier as it melts.
"The future Ice Age Trail segment will give area residents and visitors a unique and interesting outdoor experience, complemented by the natural features the property has to offer," Thusius said.
Most of the property is wooded, and plans are being made to create a trail segment through the parcel. The moraine edge gives visitors a view of the surrounding countryside and the city of Antigo. The property also has frontage along Highway 64, and trail developers see an opportunity for a scenic wayside and interpretive displays on the property.
The purchase of the land from the Selenske estate was made possible with financial support from the Alliance's Langlade County chapter and grants from the Federal Land and Water Conservation Fund and Wisconsin's Knowles-Nelson Stewardship Fund.
"The property will ... (guarantee) the public enjoyment of this beautiful place for years to come," said Ice Age Trail Alliance Executive Director Mike Wollmer. "We are thankful to the Selenske family, the National Park Service, the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources and our local trail chapter for the opportunity to collaborate on this project."
The parcel fits within the Langlade County Corridor Plan for the Ice Age National Scenic Trail, which was completed in 2010 and approved by the National Park Service and the state's Natural Resources Board in 2014.
The property is now open to the public, but those visiting the parcel should take care parking along Highway 64. A parking lot is planned for the site, but it's likely that it won't be completed until the end of this year or early 2016, Thusius said. Developing a trail on the property likely will take a year or two, he said.
The Ice Age Trail is one of 11 National Scenic Trails. It's managed by a partnership between the National Park Service, the state Department of Natural Resources and the Ice Age Trail Alliance. The total route is about 1,200 miles, but only 600 miles are developed as segments marked by yellow blazes. The rest of the trail is made up of unmarked connecting routes, usually along roads.