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View Full Version : Imminent Threat to Ice Age Trail



Walkintom
03-01-2015, 21:37
Not sure how many here are WI voters, but this is important to all who enjoy the Ice Age Trail and would like to see it continue to improve through stewardship acquisitions.

Governor Walker has proposed budget changes that would freeze all land acquisitions for the next 13 years. In other words, no more state money for land stewardship.

In this same budget proposal is a $220 million loan to build a new venue for the Milwaukee Bucs.

If our state can only afford one or the other, I know which one I prefer.

Read more info at the Ice Age Trail Blog. http://www.iceagetrail.org/blog/

I suggest contacting legislators and the governor to let him know that the Ice Age Trail and land stewardship are important to those who live and visit here. I have done so and I urge others to take the same action. Being contacted by real people does affect how public officials see their duty.

Meriadoc
03-01-2015, 21:46
Being contacted by real people does affect how public officials see their duty.
Your comments really do make a difference. For a recent example, look at Net Neutrality, where regulators essentially did an about-face because of a flood of public comments!
Even if it's a short message, send it!

double d
03-02-2015, 00:34
I'm a yearly IAT dues paying member (and have been for many years), I find your governor (and mine in Illinois) to be a direct threat to any state support for state hiking trails. Hope Walker losses the next election.

jimyjam
03-02-2015, 01:59
Any links available to people we should contact?


Life is full of ups and downs! Hike on!

Walkintom
03-02-2015, 10:12
Any links available to people we should contact?


Life is full of ups and downs! Hike on!


Well, there's a link in the IAT blog that allows WI residents to figure out who their representatives are, but also the Joint Finance Committee is a great list to contact. These folks are debating the budget and working on it to present it for a vote:

Senator Darling (Co-Chair) (http://docs.legis.wisconsin.gov/document/legislator/2015/1209): Sen.Darling@legis.wisconsin.gov
Representative Nygren (Co-Chair) (http://docs.legis.wisconsin.gov/document/legislator/2015/1322): Rep.Nygren@legis.wisconsin.gov
Representative Kooyenga (Vice-Chair) (http://docs.legis.wisconsin.gov/document/legislator/2015/1247): Rep.Kooyenga@legis.wisconsin.gov
Senator Olsen (Vice-Chair) (http://docs.legis.wisconsin.gov/document/legislator/2015/1214): Sen.Olsen@legis.wisconsin.gov
Senator Harsdorf (http://docs.legis.wisconsin.gov/document/legislator/2015/1211): Sen.Harsdorf@legis.wisconsin.gov
Senator Vukmir (http://docs.legis.wisconsin.gov/document/legislator/2015/1206): Sen.Vukmir@legis.wisconsin.gov
Senator Tiffany (http://docs.legis.wisconsin.gov/document/legislator/2015/1212): Sen.Tiffany@legis.wi.gov
Senator Marklein (http://docs.legis.wisconsin.gov/document/legislator/2015/1336): Sen.Marklein@legis.wi.gov
Senator L. Taylor (http://docs.legis.wisconsin.gov/document/legislator/2015/1205): Sen.Taylor@legis.wisconsin.gov
Senator Erpenbach (http://docs.legis.wisconsin.gov/document/legislator/2015/1227): Sen.Erpenbach@legis.wisconsin.gov
Representative Loudenbeck (http://docs.legis.wisconsin.gov/document/legislator/2015/1264): Rep.Loudenbeck@legis.wisconsin.gov
Representative Knudson (http://docs.legis.wisconsin.gov/document/legislator/2015/1263): Rep.Knudson@legis.wisconsin.gov
Representative Schraa (http://docs.legis.wisconsin.gov/document/legislator/2015/1286): Rep.Schraa@legis.wisconsin.gov
Representative Czaja (http://docs.legis.wisconsin.gov/document/legislator/2015/1268): Rep.Czaja@legis.wisconsin.gov
Representative C. Taylor (http://docs.legis.wisconsin.gov/document/legislator/2015/1309): Rep.Taylor@legis.wisconsin.gov
Representative Hintz (http://docs.legis.wisconsin.gov/document/legislator/2015/1287): Rep.Hintz@legis.wisconsin.gov



Please write them and tell them that trail development is important to you as a resident or tourist to Wisconsin. Let them know that land stewardship should be fully funded and expanded, not cut entirely from the budget for the next 13 years.

jimyjam
03-02-2015, 10:27
Thank you


Life is full of ups and downs! Hike on!

double d
03-02-2015, 10:32
Thanks Walkintom for posting this information, I will be hiking on the IAT in early April for a weekend section of the IAT. Its shocking how quickly some of these politicians cut state funding based on their own political ideology and not common sense. Good luck

Cotton Terry
03-02-2015, 11:50
I believe the $220 million for the arena has a plan for repayment that won't include tax payer dollars - income tax from Bucs players employees and visiting teams. The Milwaukee Journal Sentinal reported Walker as saying, "There's absolute security for the taxpayers," Walker said. "No new taxes, no drawing on existing revenues, no exposure to the future..."

How can we make something like that work for the IAT? Clearly, there is more interest in the Milwaukee Bucs than the IAT. I am torn between fiscal responsibility and my love of the outdoors. We need to think of some creative ways to generate funds for this Wisconsin treasure other than holding our hand out. I recommended to the IATA (of which I am a member) that we should come up with some creative ways to generate money other than from the hard working people of Wisconsin who will NEVER, EVER use the trail. Why not an IAT vanity plate? The AT states do that. That's small potatoes, maybe, but what about other things?

Slo-go'en
03-02-2015, 13:44
Other then the fact I think Gov Walker is the worst kind of Republican, I have no dog in this fight. However, I have to wonder if the IAT is under any kind of imminent threat if the state does not continue to buy land for conservation or stewardship? And if the state did continue to buy land for conservation, would the IAT have any kind of priority for these funds? Is the trail under any kind of threat of disruption due to development in the next 13 years - or ever? And if it is, can these disruptions be easily by-passed?

Walkintom
03-02-2015, 16:15
Well, given that the IAT has used the stewardship fund 55 times to protect 3300 acres and get access to over 100 privately held parcels I eel that it's pretty important to the future of the trail.

There's a lot of roadwalk on the IAT due to development still needed. According to the IATA there are still 500 miles in planning stages and that's just not going to happen very quickly or at all without state land stewardship.

There are things that are worth spending money on and this is one of them. I love a low tax bill as much as the next guy but this is cutting something that's vital. And it hits the whole state, not just the IAT.

Cotton Terry
03-02-2015, 16:42
There are things that are worth spending money on and this is one of them. I love a low tax bill as much as the next guy but this is cutting something that's vital. And it hits the whole state, not just the IAT.

The IAT is not vital to anything in the state except the recreation of a small percentage of residents (me included). Fire/rescue is vital. Roads are vital. I would even consider wildlife management (deer tags and fishing licenses) to be more vital than adding trails to be walked on - deer tags and fishing licenses help support the DNR. If we can make the case that the IAT is, or could be, a significant source of state tourism (think walleye fishing and snowmobiling), then we might get somewhere. As I said, I think the IATA could be more creative in their pursuit of funding. I think we have a good donor program, but there are many Wisconsin-based businesses that aren't on the list.

Slo-go'en
03-02-2015, 18:51
I took a look at the map of the trail and looks to me like there is a lot of road walking in the middle of nowhere. Towns are pretty scarce.

I could see where it would be nice to move the trail off the roads, but that might not actually be the best thing to do. If most of these are gravel roads through the forest with little traffic, you might as well use them. Less maintenance. As it is thru hiking this trail would be a serious undertaking due to the logistics. Having half of it on mello rural roads can't be all that bad. I like the way nearly all the roads are straight lines with right angles, indicating a pretty flat terrain.

No doubt important sections of the IAT have already been protected and that should continue if at all possible. Losing state funds would be a set back in that, but unlikely to put the trail imminent danger.

Walkintom
03-02-2015, 19:01
I'm saddened by your advocacy of allowing state land stewardship to go by the wayside, CT. I don't believe that there's much to be gained in debating the issue with you because we clearly see this from opposite ends of the spectrum.


I am in communication with my representatives to let them know how I want my tax dollars spent. I encourage everyone to do so as well.

double d
03-03-2015, 10:54
The IAT is not vital to anything in the state except the recreation of a small percentage of residents (me included). Fire/rescue is vital. Roads are vital. I would even consider wildlife management (deer tags and fishing licenses) to be more vital than adding trails to be walked on - deer tags and fishing licenses help support the DNR. If we can make the case that the IAT is, or could be, a significant source of state tourism (think walleye fishing and snowmobiling), then we might get somewhere. As I said, I think the IATA could be more creative in their pursuit of funding. I think we have a good donor program, but there are many Wisconsin-based businesses that aren't on the list.

Very simplistic view of the IAT, as I'm from Illinois and I hike the IAT often (as well as a yearly IAT dues paying member), what about the gas, food and lodging I pay for while hiking on the IAT? Doesn't that contribute to the Wisconsin economy? And guess what, many IAT members are not Wisconsin residents. Sounds like your political opinions are supporting the Gov. more then your "love of the outdoors."

DandT40
03-03-2015, 11:36
Very simplistic view of the IAT, as I'm from Illinois and I hike the IAT often (as well as a yearly IAT dues paying member), what about the gas, food and lodging I pay for while hiking on the IAT? Doesn't that contribute to the Wisconsin economy? And guess what, many IAT members are not Wisconsin residents. Sounds like your political opinions are supporting the Gov. more then your "love of the outdoors."

Ditto. I take my entire family to Wisconsin at least 2 times a month so I can hike and they can visit parks, beaches, and other tourist places on days when I'm walking the 500+ miles of roads. Without the trail that money would be going to another state for sure.

OPI
03-03-2015, 20:31
You guys are using it now? The trial isn't going to get smaller. Are you going to stop visiting? Maybe this is a good thing ;)
Yes it would be awesome to see this trail finished someday. But Vital. I don't think so.
More like it would be a cool ass trail if finished. And bring in a few more dollars to the state.
But Vital to what? Vital to finish trail.
Just asking. I'm on the trail several times a year. I would love to see money go towards the trail.
I will even email my congressman
Thanks for pointing this out.

Cotton Terry
03-03-2015, 21:28
I wonder if the single mom with three kids (who is unlikely to ever use the IAT in any significant way) would share your appreciation for the IAT to the extent that she would be willing to share her rent or her kids' shoes (in the form of state taxes) for you to have a kick-ass trail to walk on.

I think finishing the trail would be awesome and a state treasure, but road walking on a famous trail is not new, either (El Camino, CDT). Are there no other creative means to raise the money other than taxing the many for the pleasure of a few of us?

Traveler
03-04-2015, 09:05
First, I doubt a single mother of three pays a lot of state income tax, second, the IAT would be a very low cost attraction for a lot of families with budget woes. The disclaimer of "any significant way" is purely subjective. To you this may be a four night jaunt over the trail, for others it could be taking children of 5 to 7 years old to a frog pond. Assigning value to this is not possible.

Going back years ago, hiking on trails for my family was a great way to enjoy time, get some exercise, and connect with nature that cost very little. I would hazard to guess a lot of people on the WB have similar experience. From an economic platform, the IAT (and other regional trail systems) provide an important and in many instances, vibrant recreational resource.

There are several States that have relatively robust and successful programs in the acquisition of open spaces. Connecticut has a model program that provides several avenues for this. This, of course, needs the leadership and legislative horsepower to craft conservation easement, land trust, and direct funding statutes along with other funding avenues that provide a rather significant number of gifting and funding mechanisms. If the State has little political interest in performing this, its not going to happen, which is why a vocal electorate is the best catalyst in advancing these ideas.