People who want to experience the Ice Age National Scenic Trail will soon have a bigger gathering spot.
The National Park Service, Fish and Wildlife Service, the DNR and Dane County already own and manage land near Cross Plains along the Ice Age Trail. A new plan approved by the DNR board Wednesday (1/23) creates an Ice Age Complex. But Wisconsin State Parks Director Dan Schuller says complex doesn't mean a lot of new buildings, “It's a complex of ownerships, managed in a similar fashion, to protect the features at the glacier's edge.”
Schuller says there may also be some overnight camping for people doing long hikes on the trail. He says at some point a building on the site may be changed into a small interpretive center. Schuller says he hopes the complex will be popular with the fast-growing Madison area, “Nearly a half million people are in the metro area and they'll be able to go down the road to see a really significant glacial part of Wisconsin.”
Schuller also says the Ice Age Trail is becoming a national destination, as more of the now roughly half-completed 1200-mile trail is set up.
A DNR board member raised questions Wednesday about the cost of maintaining the complex, but Schuller says the price tag should be small, especially if the National Park Service moves an office from the west side of Madison to the Ice Age complex and takes care of the trails and a larger parking lot.