On the Trail of Wisconsin’s Icy Past
By STEPHEN REGENOLD, The New York Times, October 27, 2006
Great white sheets of glacial ice commandeering land is the perpetual and age-old story of the North. The comings and goings of recent ice ages — the last one retreating from mid-North America 10,000 years ago — were rapid-fire Pleistocene calamities in the creaking eons of geologic time.
Today, the aftereffects of all that drifting ice are revealed in landscapes from Montana to Maine, a ubiquitous mishmash of moraines, tussled stone, talus, deep valleys, lakes, rushing rivers, ridgelines and bedrock scraped bare.
But in few places is the power of global climate change celebrated as it is in Wisconsin, where the Ice Age National Scenic Trail was established by Congress in 1980 to tell the story of the recent icy past via the educational medium of a hiking trail.
When completed, the Ice Age Trail will snake more than 1,000 miles through the state, winding in and out of deep woods, tracking glacial features and connecting hundreds of trailheads from the shores of the Green Bay to the Minnesota border.
“Wisconsin is a microcosm of the effects of recent ice ages,” said Mike Prichard, a retired lawyer from St. Paul who is on the board of the nonprofit Ice Age Park & Trail Foundation.( Read More )