March 20, 2012
MADISON -- The Ice Age Complex at Cross Plains would provide visitors with optimal views and interpretation of outstanding glacial landforms and opportunities to enjoy low-impact outdoor recreation, under the preferred alternative of a draft management plan that is available for public review and comment.
The preferred alternative, one of five alternatives presented in the draft plan, also calls for a sustainable building complex that would be certified under the U.S. Green Building Council's Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) rating system at a gold level. The buildings would serve as a visitor center and as headquarters for the Ice Age Trail with offices for staff. Until the visitor center, office, and maintenance facility could be funded and constructed, existing buildings within the reserve would be used on an interim basis as a visitor contact station.
Ecological resources would largely be managed to reveal the glacial landscape and the most sensitive ecological areas would be carefully protected. The complex would offer hiking trails with interpretive signs and a sheltered picnic area.
The 1,700-acre area located just west of Madison near the village of Cross Plains contains glacial landforms, including a gorge carved by meltwater and expansive views of both driftless and glaciated terrain. This landscape has been deemed nationally significant under two federal designations: Ice Age National Scientific Reserve and Ice Age National Scenic Trail. Together the areas encompassed under these designations are being referred to as the Ice Age Complex at Cross Plains.
The Cross Plains unit of the Ice Age Reserve was originally delineated in 1968. Since that time the unit's boundary has been expanded and the Ice Age Trail's route in Dane County has been planned, and other state property has been acquired next to the reserve.
The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources and National Park Service began to develop the draft management plan in 2008 with a series of public meetings to gather general feedback on what the public valued about the Ice Age Complex. That feedback was used to formulate preliminary alternatives. A second round of public meetings were held in summer 2009 on four potential ways that the Ice Age Complex could be managed. Public responses during that stage of the plan's development influenced the results of the value analysis, during which the preferred alternative was developed.
The five alternatives are based on the purpose, significance, and special mandates for the Ice Age Complex, and each presents different ways to manage resources and visitor use and improve facilities and infrastructure.
The Draft General Management Plan/Environmental Impact Statement for the Ice Age Complex at Cross Plains for review through the National Park Service website.
People can attend one two public meetings to hear about the preliminary and preferred alternatives and provide comments. The meetings will be held:
People who unable to attend a public meeting may review the plan and comment online through the National Park Service website at: General Management Plan for Ice Age Complex at Cross Plains. Written comments should be submitted to: Ice Age Complex at Cross Plains, Draft GMP/EIS, National Park Service, Attn: Christina Miller, PO Box 25287, Denver, CO 80225. Comments are being accepted through May 2, 2012.
FOR MORE INFORMATION CONTACT: Jeff Prey, DNR, 608-266-2182, Pam Schuler NPS, Ice Age Trail Office, 608-441-5610, or Paul Holtan, 608-267-7517