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National Scenic Trails Added to US Topo Maps

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Posted August 14, 2013

Just in time for late summer recreation, the newly released US Topo maps for Wisconsin feature the Ice Age National Scenic Trail.

The Ice Age Trail, one of 11 National Scenic Trails in the U.S. and Wisconsin’s only State Scenic Trail, follows the edge of the most recent continental glacier as it traveled south through the upper Midwest. These parts of the state’s landscape are world-renowned as one of the best places to see the variety of landforms that resulted from glaciation. Several of the 1,109 new US Topo quadrangles display parts of the 640 miles of established Ice Age Trail segments, which are all contained within the state borders.

The National Trails System was established by Act of Congress in 1968 (amended 2009). The Act grants the Secretary of Interior and the Secretary of Agriculture authority over the National Trails System. The Act defines four types of trails. Two of these types, the National Historic Trails and National Scenic Trails, can only be designated by Act of Congress.

The National Trails System was established by Act of Congress in 1968 (amended 2009). The Act grants the Secretary of Interior and the Secretary of Agriculture authority over the National Trails System. The Act defines four types of trails. Two of these types, the National Historic Trails and National Scenic Trails, can only be designated by Act of Congress.

“Wisconsin’s US Topo maps display the relief of the state’s glacial features that the Trail then interprets on the ground,” says Tim Malzhan, director of trail operations for the Ice Age Trail Alliance, the nonprofit arm in a partnership that manages and supports the Trail. “When people use these maps, seeing the ribbon of the Ice Age Trail as it crosses the state will allow them to learn about and explore Wisconsin’s glacial history.”

The Ice Age Trail will one day be a continuous 1,200-mile footpath spanning the state from the Minnesota border on the west to Lake Michigan on the east. The Ice Age Trail was designated a National Scenic Trail on Oct. 3, 1980, when Congress amended the National Trails System Act to authorize and establish the Ice Age National Scenic Trail as part of the National Trails System.

The USGS partnered with the National Park Service, Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources and Ice Age Trail Alliance to incorporate the Ice Age Trail onto Wisconsin’s maps. These three agencies worked cooperatively to shape the IAT into one of the premier hiking trails in the country. The USGS has future plans to include all National Scenic Trails in The National Map products, including updates to the US Topo map series.

These new maps replace the first edition US Topo maps for Wisconsin and are available for free download from The National Map and the USGS Map Locator & Downloader website.

As with all US Topo map updates, the replaced maps will be added to the USGS Historical Topographic Map Collection and are also available for download.

To download US Topo maps: https://nationalmap.gov/ustopo/

Source: USGS

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