Ice Age Trail Alliance Receives National Park Foundation Grant to Hire Wisconsin Conservation Corps (WisCorps) Crew
FOR ANTIGO TIMES
Earlier this year, the National Park Foundation (NPF) announced its fiscal year 2022 investment in service corps programs across the country. This grant program helps support the Ice Age Trail Alliance’s Trailbuilding and maintenance initiatives. For the next 12 weeks, a 5-person, young-adult crew from Wisconsin Conservation Corps (WisCorps) will be hard at work on the Ice Age National Scenic Trail. This new partnership with WisCorps represents the value the organization sees in one of Wisconsin’s premier National Scenic Trails.
Through its Communities and Workforce initiative, NPF supports service corps organizations, which engage young adults and veterans in projects that address climate change, disaster response, conservation, historic preservation, disaster response, recreation, and community needs. Service corps programs also provide on-the-job training for crew members, facilitate connections to parks, help inspire a sense of belonging, and create more opportunities for people from all walks of life to experience careers in the outdoors.
“The funding from NPF helps the Alliance complete Trail projects we were not anticipating finishing until next year,” says Ice Age Trail Alliance Director of Trail Operations, Chad DuChateau. The Alliance worked with WisCorps to hire a crew of young, future conservation leaders. Some specifically requested to be on the Ice Age Trail team. “Building trail is a special experience with a tangible outcome, which makes it uniquely appealing and rewarding,” he says.
“This crew will receive excellent, real-word experience and be mentored on future career paths. Crew members will also build a strong sense of community, which is an important aspect of these collaborative projects,” DuChateau says. They will work with Ice Age Trail Alliance staff and volunteers, county foresters, National Park Service and US Forest Service employees, and more.
For 12 weeks, the crew will help create and maintain Trail in areas, such as Langlade and Chippewa County, that will benefit most from a dedicated crew focused on accomplishing ambitious Trail projects. They will construct new Trail, build boardwalk, and conduct Trail maintenance activities.
“This crew will experience the full gamut of Ice Age Trail Alliance work,” says DuChateau. “They will have an immediate, lasting impact on the Ice Age National Scenic Trail in some of its most remote areas.”
“Service corps open the door to a world of opportunities to gain leadership skills and give back to national parks,” said Will Shafroth, president and CEO of the National Park Foundation. “The National Park Foundation and our partners are proud to support programs that make lasting positive impacts for both parks and people.”
The NPF is investing more than $4.1 million in service corps programs in fiscal year 2022, including support from Communities and Workforce program partners Carhartt, Winnebago and Winnebago Industries Foundation, and partners Nature Valley, Apple, REI Co-op, American Express, Free People, and Publix Super Markets. Additional funding is provided by The JPB Foundation, Annie and Kevin Parker, and many other donors. Select projects are also being leveraged with federal funds that were authorized and appropriated for the National Park Foundation under the 2016 National Park Service Centennial Act (PL 114-289).
Since 2018, including fiscal year 2022, the NPF has granted more than $15 million to over 180 service corps crews.
Learn more about the NPF’s efforts to inspire and diversify the next generation of park leaders and grow the capacity of park partners through programs such as service corps.
About the Ice Age Trail Alliance:
The Ice Age Trail Alliance is a non-profit, member and volunteer-based organization which conserves, creates, maintains, and promotes the Ice Age National Scenic Trail. For more information visit iceagetrail.org.
About the National Park Foundation:
The National Park Foundation works to protect wildlife and park lands, preserve history and culture, educate and engage youth, and connect people everywhere to the wonder of parks. We do it in collaboration with the National Park Service, the park partner community, and with the generous support of donors, without whom our work would not be possible. Learn more at www.nationalparks.org.
About Wisconsin Conservation Corps:
The Wisconsin Conservation Corps (WisCorps) mission is to develop leadership, self-confidence, and a strong work ethic in youth and young adults through the active stewardship of Wisconsin’s communities and natural resources. WisCorps, Inc. is a 501(c)(3) conservation corps headquartered in La Crosse, Wisconsin that engages youth and young adults in two areas: conservation projects and nature education. For more, visit www.wiscorps.org.
About the Ice Age National Scenic Trail:
The Ice Age National Scenic Trail is a 1,200-mile footpath contained entirely within Wisconsin. It traverses the state from St. Croix Falls in the west, to Sturgeon Bay in the east, going as far south as Janesville. One of 11 National Scenic Trails, the Ice Age Trail highlights the landscapes that were carved out by ancient glaciers, which happen to be some of the most beautiful areas in the state. Approximately 60% of Wisconsin residents live within 20 miles of the Ice Age Trail.
Working since 1958 to conserve, create, maintain, and promote the Ice Age National Scenic Trail. Please join or renew today at www.iceagetrail.org