Where in Dane County is the Simpson Street Free Press?
Remnants From the Last Ice Age Are Right Here in Dane County
by Claire Miller, age 17 and Hailey Alfred, age 18
About 2.5 million years ago massive glaciers the size of continents began to move across the surface of the earth. About 10,000 years ago the last of these magnificent ice structures in North America receded from what is now the Midwest and Great Lakes region. In Wisconsin they left behind a path we now call the Ice Age Trail.
Unlike the Appalachian Trail in the eastern United States, this thousand-mile-long winding path is completely contained within one state—Wisconsin.
In 1958, Ray Zillmer of Milwaukee formed the Ice Age Trail Alliance. At the time supporters hoped the Ice Age Trail would eventually receive recognition as a National Scenic Trail. Zillmer’s dream was finally realized in 1980 when Congress came to appreciate the significance of this trail. Oddly enough, it wasn’t recognized as a State Scenic Trail until 1987.
Today, the Ice Age Trail Alliance continues to support and act as guardians to the path. The Alliance is a non-profit organization that is always looking for new volunteers to lend a helping hand.
Of the 10,000 miles of Ice Age Trail in Wisconsin, only 600 miles are currently developed. Thanks to dedicated volunteers, visitors are able to explore the developed areas through walking, hiking, and snowshoeing. Visitors can also bike segments of the trail that connect with state bike trails. Most of the section that runs through Dane County aligns nicely with local bike paths.
For more information on the Ice Age Trail, go to www.iceagetrail.org. Here is some summer advice from the staff of the Free Press: take some time to learn more about the history of this natural wonder located, at least in part, right here in Dane County. And remember, there are plenty of volunteer opportunities available along the path that are perfect for young people.
[Sources: www.iceagetrail.org, http://dnr.wi.gov/org/land/parks/trails/leopold/index.html]