Ice Age National Scenic Trail Corridor Plan and Environmental Assessment for Eastern Chippewa County, Wisconsin

The National Park Service (NPS) has approved a Corridor Plan and Environmental Assessment for the Ice Age National Scenic Trail in eastern Chippewa County. The Environmental Assessment (EA) has been prepared in accordance with the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) to provide a decision-making framework that assesses a reasonable range of alternatives, evaluates potential issues and impacts to natural and cultural resources, and identifies mitigation measures designed to lessen the degree or extent of any potential adverse environmental impacts.

The partners initiated the Corridor Planning Process for the Ice Age Trail in eastern Chippewa County in 2004 and have since held meetings with local officials and open house meetings to provide the opportunity for the public to comment on possible alternative corridors for the trail in eastern Chippewa County. Based on the input received at these meetings and criteria for placing the trail - - significant geological and biological resources, scenic views, and linkages to communities and public lands - - a preferred corridor has been identified that crosses the central portion of eastern Chippewa County in a northwest to southeast direction, from just west of the City of Cornell to the to the Taylor County line.

The Preferred Alternative would link potential support facilities for hikers such as trailheads, water, parking, camping, groceries, and phones at such places as the City of Cornell, Otter Lake County Park, and Pike Lake. Today, approximately 23 miles of the Ice Age Trail has been constructed in Chippewa County west of the City of Cornell through the Chippewa Moraine State Recreation Area. The preferred alternative would allow an additional 22-25 miles of Ice Age Trail to be constructed from the City of Cornell east to the Taylor County line.

For landowners who are interested in allowing the Ice Age NST passage across their lands, the partners can work with them either by direct purchase (fee simple or conservation easement) or through handshake agreements. Lands purchased for the Ice Age NST by public agencies or non-profit organizations may be eligible for funding assistance under the Wisconsin State Stewardship Program and Federal grant programs. The partners do not want to acquire all of the land within the corridor. The intention is to acquire an approximate 50-1,000 foot wide trailway for the Ice Age NST. In some areas, more land may be desired to preserve outstanding resource features or to accommodate the wishes of the landowner. This width of trail way provides for a high quality hiking experience for the public while maintaining a buffer for neighboring landowners. All land transactions are made on a willing-seller basis only.

The Ice Age Trail was authorized as a National Scenic Trail by Congress in 1980 and a State Scenic Trail in 1987. When completed, the trail will meander over 1,200 miles through some of the finest glacial scenery in Wisconsin providing day walkers, backpackers, school children, and general outdoor enthusiasts with a premier hiking and educational experience. Today, approximately half of the trail is built.
Comment Period: Closed        Jun 18, 2021 - Jul 18, 2021
Document Content:
11-2-21 chippewa cpp and ea.pdf11-2-21 chippewa cpp and ea.pdf   (5.0 MB, PDF file)
2021 10 01_IATR-CHIP_FONSI Signed.pdf2021 10 01_IATR-CHIP_FONSI Signed.pdf   (456.2 KB, PDF file)
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