Trail corridors sought for Langlade County|
|Langlade County’s moniker as the “County of Trails” could get another boost.|
The public has an opportunity to review and comment on a proposed corridor for the Ice Age National Scenic Trail through southern Langlade County that would connect the existing trail that comes from Lincoln County to the west and winds its way east and south to connect with Marathon County.
A draft corridor plan and environmental assessment for the Ice Age Trail delineates a 2- to 6-mile wide “preferred alternative” corridor in Langlade County within which the trail may be built. The plans also identify possible route options.
Depending on where the trail is built, the Langlade County portion of the completed trail, including the new section, could total approximately 74 miles. Currently, about 54 miles of the Ice Age Trail has been built within Langlade County.
The draft plan and EA were prepared by a group of partners who are working together to complete the proposed 1,200-mile Ice Age Trail across the state, including the Wisconsin Department of Resources, National Park Service, and Ice Age Trail Alliance.
The proposed Langlade County Ice Age Trail corridor is in south central portion of the county and extends east-northeast from the Marathon County line to an existing trail segment in the town of Evergreen. It lies just south of the city of Antigo.
The proposed corridor generally follows the undulating terrain of the Hancock, and Almond moraines, which formed approximately 20-30,000 years ago.
The corridor was intentionally designed wide to allow options for routing the trail, according to Pam Schuler, National Park Service Ice Age Trail manager.
“Securing lands for the trail is done only on a willing seller-willing buyer basis,” Schuler says. “This plan will serve to guide agencies and volunteer organizations as they work to obtain a permanent route for the trail.”
Support facilities such as food, overnight facilities, and parking for the trail will be provided by villages and cities and state and county lands located near or within the corridor.
Efforts to establish the Ice Age Trail have been underway since the 1960s through the volunteers of the Ice Age Park and Trail Foundation, known today as the Ice Age Trail Alliance. In 1980, Congress authorized it as a National Scenic Trail. The Wisconsin legislature designated it a State Scenic Trail in 1987.
When Congress authorized the Ice Age Trail, it only designated a general route for the trail. More specific routes are being identified and selected through a planning process in each county through which the trail passes. The plans identify a “corridor of opportunity” within which lands for the trail may eventually be acquired from willing sellers.
When completed, the Ice Age Trail will meander approximately 1,200 miles through some of the finest glacial scenery in Wisconsin providing day walkers, backpackers, school children, and outdoor enthusiasts with a premier hiking and educational experience. Currently, approximately half of the trail is built and open to public use. To complete the trail, the NPS, DNR, and Ice Age Trail Alliance are working with county and local units of government, interested organizations and citizens, and landowners to establish a permanent route throughout the state.
According to the document, the work of establishing the trail is not expected to cause any significant adverse environmental effects. The National Park Service and DNR have made a preliminary determination that an environmental impact statement will not be required for this action.
Copies of the Draft Ice Age National Scenic Trail Corridor Plan and environmental assessment for Langlade County can be viewed online through the National Park Service Web site at parkplanning.nps.gov and search for Ice Age National Scenic Trail. Copies may also be obtained from: Pam Schuler, manager Ice Age NST, National Park Service, 700 Rayovac Drive, Suite 100, Madison, Wisconsin 53711.
The plan is also available at the Antigo Public Library.
People may comment on the corridor plan and environmental assessment through June 7, through the NPS Web site parkplanning.nps.gov and search for Ice Age National Scenic Trail or by U.S. mail to Pam Schuler at National Park Service, 700 Rayovac Drive, Suite 100, Madison, Wisconsin 53711.
The map shows the general area targeted for a proposed expansion of the Ice Age Trail, along with the existing route through Langlade County.
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