The Ice Age Trail (IAT) is a 1,200-mile-long hiking trail with an eastern terminus in Potawatomi State Park. It travels through Sturgeon Bay and extends across Wisconsin, ending on the Minnesota border at the city of St. Croix Falls. It’s one of only 11 National Scenic Trails in the country and one of only three located solely within a single state.
The nonprofit Ice Age Trail Alliance (IATA) works to protect and promote the trail by connecting people to it and to Wisconsin’s glacial heritage. That organization made one of those successful connections Tuesday evening when the City of Sturgeon Bay Common Council voted unanimously to make the city a Trail Community by paying a one-time, $2,500 application fee.
The letter from the Sturgeon Bay Ice Age Trail Committee – which includes three council members – requesting the city’s participation indicated that the committee members believe the trail is about to experience a dramatic increase in popularity.
“Interest in hiking the IAT is on the cusp of taking off and becoming popular in a way that will increasingly parallel the nation’s two most recognized trails: the Appalachian Trail and the Pacific Crest Trail,” according to the letter.
Sturgeon Bay joins 13 other Wisconsin IATA Trail Communities: Lodi, Cross Plains, Verona, Janesville, Delafield, Hartland, Manitowoc/Two Rivers, Whitewater, Slinger, West Bend, Milton, St. Croix Falls and Cornell.
Among other benefits of Trail Community status, the IATA actively promotes Trail Communities at iceagetrail.org and to its 30,000-plus social-media followers.
Other local organizations wrote letters of support for the request, including Crossroads at Big Creek, Destination Sturgeon Bay, the Door County Economic Development Corporation, the Door County Facilities and Parks Department, the Door County Historical Society, the Door County Land Trust, the Door County Maritime Museum, the Sturgeon Bay Historical Society Foundation and Sturgeon Bay High School.