NPS should acquire land for Ice Age Trail
"More than fifty years since Ray Zillmer embarked upon the mission to create the Ice Age National Park in Wisconsin, the National Park Service has acquired only one parcel for the Ice Age National Scenic Trail. Meanwhile the NPS has successfully acquired thousands of parcels for other national scenic trails around the country," writes Drew Hanson, a self-employed land conservation contractor on his new blog Pedestrian View (pedestrianview.blogspot.com).
"About 500 miles of Ice Age Trail still need to be protected. To relocate unsafe connecting road-walk routes to off-road trail, to stay ahead of changing land uses and to allow the trail to take its rightful place among the great national scenic trails, the federal partner needs to have an active role in the protection of the nationally significant resources that are found along the Ice Age National Scenic Trail.
"The project is not daunting. Fewer miles and fewer parcels need to be purchased to complete the Ice Age Trail than were needed to complete the Appalachian Trail. Plus the Ice Age Trail has able partners, including, at least until recently, the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources, to hopefully continue to acquire other trail lands. So to get started, NPS needs a Focus Area.
"The trail corridor between the City of Madison and Village of Cross Plains would make an excellent Focus Area and starting point for NPS. This 10-mile segment contains a mere 20 parcels in need of protection. Located between Woods Road and Black Earth Creek, acquiring these 20 parcels would complete land acquisition along this segment and allow construction of a premier, off-road segment of national scenic trail.
"Resources of this proposed Focus Area include the 156-acre property already owned by NPS, a 174-acre property owned by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, a representative portion of the geologic region known as the Driftless Area, 500-million-year-old rock outcrops, a cave and portions of glacial moraines. There is strong public support for protection of these lands and the risk of private development creates urgency for protection."
Hanson concluded by asking Ice Age Trail enthusiasts to contact members of Congress and NPS officials and urge the agency to begin a land acquisition program for the Ice Age Trail.
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