The Ice Age Trail is a partnership park. The trail was authorized by Congress on October 3, 1980, as a component of the National Trails System and assigned to the Secretary of the Interior for administration.
Most of the work of building and maintaining the trail is carried out by Volunteers. The National Park Service administers the trail in cooperation with many Partners, leading the efforts to plan the permanent route for the trail. The National Park Service also provides technical and financial support to partners.
The Ice Age Trail is part of the original concept that led to the creation of the Ice Age National Scientific Reserve through Federal legislation in 1964 and 1970. The trail links together six of the nine units of the reserve. The National Park Service manages property within the Cross Plains Unit of the reserve..
The Nine Units are (* notes those along the route of the Ice Age Trail):
Two Creeks Buried Forest *
Kettle Moraine *
Cross Plains *
Devil's Lake *
Chippewa Moraine *
Interstate State Park *