A Year In Pictures: Driftless Trail Progress in 2021
Check out our journey over the past year, and what lies ahead for 2022!
January – The Pickhardt Family gifted eight Leopold benches
Chuck and Barb Pickhardt’s family turns their Christmas gathering into a workshop for a worthy cause. Last December, they built a dozen Leopold benches from oaks on their land in the Lowery Creek valley and surprised us with a gift of eight benches for the Driftless Trail. You will find these along the Knobs Road Trail when we open that segment in 2022!
April – A trail construction workshop trained volunteers
Willie Bittner, owner of Great Lakes Trailbuilders LLC in La Crosse, shared his vast knowledge of trail design and construction with eight participants in a day-long workshop. They received great hands-on training by adding tread and touch-ups to the Weaver Road Trail.
May - WisCorps completed Weaver Road Trail, started second trail
A six-person WisCorps crew spent one week completing the Weaver Road Trail and getting a good start on the Knobs Road Trail. We are happy to provide them with a great working and learning experience in exchange for getting challenging work done. We see a long and productive partnership ahead with the WisCorps program.
Summer – Weaver Road Trail was prepped and signed
Trail tread is only part of the project! Then comes signage, a trail guide, mowing and clearing, and more. Dave Mickelson (left) and Bill Menke helped install signs on the Weaver Road Trail. Little did we know that a bear (rare in this area) would use it as an itching post, twice! The sign is now attached to the tree on the right.
September – A WisCorps crew spent two weeks building trail
The fall WisCorps crew spent two weeks constructing the Knobs Road Trail. This included building a 16-foot bridge across a ravine, with guidance from our trail designer and all around trail expert, Bill Menke. This crew returned in October to do restoration work on DALC’s Erickson Conservation Area.
October - The Weaver Road Trail is opened!
On October 1, a dozen or so of the planners, board members, and landowners who have made the Driftless Trail happen gathered to celebrate opening the first segment for public use. The Weaver Road Trail is a mile-long out-and-back trail that takes you from a spectacular vista, down a wooded valley and around a rocky pine relict to a spring-fed stream. While enjoying a rest on the benches there, all you hear are birds and gurgling water. After closing the trail for deer hunting season, it is now open for all to enjoy.
December – Planning for a busy 2022!
Our goals for 2022 are to increase use of the Weaver Road Trail; open the 3.8 mile Knobs Road Trail loop; construct a trail to Phoebe’s Point on the Taliesin estate, with incredible vistas; and plan a route through the Lowery Creek valley, seen from Phoebe’s Point below.
A sincere thanks to our 2021 funders, volunteers, and others for a productive year!
Many people and supporters are helping Driftless Area Land Conservancy turn this exciting vision into trail on the ground. Among them are:
Planning Team members - Bill Menke, Dave Mickelson, Dave Clutter, Mark Hirsch, and Jen Filipiak;
Trail hosts, who believe in making part of their land accessible to everyone (names withheld to protect privacy);
Financial supporters - John C. Bock Foundation, James E. Dutton Foundation, Alliant Energy Foundation, Natural Resources Foundation of Wisconsin’s Quiet Trails Fund, and generous individuals;
Bench builders - Greg Jones, Dave Terpstra, Jacob Brooks, the Pickhardt Family, Karen Aamotsbakken, Ben Russell, Brad Hutnik, Jordy Jordahl, Kevin Lord, and Patty Lucas;
Volunteers – David Hahn, Keith Symon, Jon Lewis, Adam MacKenzie, and Bill Pennoyer; and
DALC’s board of directors, who believe this trail project carries out all of our organization’s strategies for protecting and enhancing the southern Driftless landscape.