With 2011, a new journey begins for the Ice Age Trail Alliance. Many new segments of actual trail will be built and countless maintained and re-maintained. Added to those accomplishments will be those of planning and partnerships.
Our new strategic plan will be approved formally at the April quarterly Board of Directors meeting. The process began in late 2009 and I’m anxious to develop a plan that will reflect the input of so many members. Having had the opportunity to participate at some point with all of the sub-committees, the dedication and enthusiasm for the process genuinely inspires me. I can assure you that together, we’ll be ticking off goals in no short order. This living document will be our organizational “companion guide” as we shape our IATA future. Our future will be changing indeed. For the first time in most of our tenures with the Ice Age Trail, we’ll be looking ahead to a new face at the National Park Service. Tom Gilbert leaves his post as he retires as superintendent of the Ice Age and North Country National Scenic Trails. We wish him well and look forward to welcoming him as a new volunteer! We’ll be building new bridges with his successor later this year. We’ll be looking forward to working with the new leadership at the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources as well. The Ice Age Trail, as a State Scenic Trail, is the backbone of hiking and walking in Wisconsin. As it traverses countless DNR properties over its 1200 miles, the Ice Age Trail represents a ribbon of recreational opportunity for hundreds of thousands of residents. Our partnership with the DNR has always been strong. Looking back at 2010, over half of our 68,340 volunteer hours were devoted to state-owned properties. Simply incredible! Our partnerships don’t stop with the NPS and DNR; there are so many beyond that. In the truest sense of the words, we are a Partnership Project. It starts within the Ice Age Trail family. Twenty-one Chapters give us local roots with our county and municipal units of government. Our local volunteers give the Ice Age Trail Alliance a voice when we are dealing with other important partners: school systems, county forests, town boards, park departments and other public agencies. Land acquisition for the Trail many times starts when local volunteers see the “for sale” signs go up.
partnerships... As we move to 2011, we’re taking an aggressive approach to foundation, corporate, government and individual giving. In coordination with staff, the Development Committee has compiled lists of target donors for each category. We will be “taking our show on the road” to meet with them, tell them our story and ask them to support the Alliance. You can support us too: 4 Do you work for a company that has a philanthropic effort? 4 Do you know of an area foundation that might consider supporting our organization? 4 Can you introduce us to a friend who might have the ability to provide financial support? 4 Have you considered including the Alliance in your estate plans? If you can answer yes to any of these questions or can think of other ways to help, please contact Rebecca Hildebrandt, IATA Director of Development, to learn how you can help the IATA reach our goals for 2011.
And landowners that host Trail — how valuable are they as partners? The Trail passes through some 140 private properties across the state. The generosity of these landowners and the confidence that they put in the Ice Age Trail Alliance can never be appreciated enough. Planning and partnerships. I think they go well together. I hope that all of you will join me in making 2011 a banner year of prudent growth, extended partnerships and mutual respect.
MAMMOTH TALES | Spring 2011 | www.iceagetrail.org