John Ipsen and Kris Wegerson have called northern Wisconsin their home for the last eight years, and as residents of Waterford on the Bay since 2022, the Brownstone Trail has been right in their backyard.  

With their proximity to the trail, John and Kris have the pleasure of hiking during each season that life along Lake Superior has to offer. From the deep blue skies and diamond sparkles on the great lake in the summer to snowshoeing and skiing in a winter landscape, the beauty of the ever-changing seasons is one of many things the two love about the Brownstone. This time of year, they look forward to the trees leafing out in fresh green, the spring ephemerals blooming, and the warblers singing along the trail.  

John Ipsen and Kris Wegerson
John Ipsen and Kris Wegerson on the Brownstone Trail

Beyond enjoying the sights and sounds of the trail, Kris is a firm believer that, “when you love something, you want to take care of it both for yourself and for others to enjoy.” Both she   and John are active volunteers with the Bayfield Area Trails (BAT) committee and are always keeping an eye out for things that affect hike-ability and safety.  They have a strong desire to improve the trail experience better for other people and leave things better than how they found them so all can experience the joys of hiking along the Brownstone, or “Bayfield’s lake walk,” as they put it.  

“We run into a fair number of people out there and they’re just having fun. One of the great advantages of the Brownstone is that it’s accessible and available to people who don’t have the ability to hike very strenuously,” John stated. He continued, “Just about everyone you meet out there is having a good time so it’s nice to stop and talk to them.”

According to Erika Lang, Landmark Conservancy’s Conservation Manager, “Kris and John create a sense of community whether they are taking a leisurely stroll on the Brownstone Trail or spreading gravel to fix a wet spot. Like all BAT volunteers, they show their appreciation for nature through service and their enthusiasm is contagious!” Having outdoor spaces to connect to nature and to others is why Landmark is working with  partners and the community to ensure the slump along the Brownstone is restored. As fundraising efforts continue, we are grateful to share stories from the community to highlight that restoring the trail is also creating accessible outdoor recreation opportunities and outdoor connections in the Bayfield community.  

Brownstone Trail in Fall Winter
Brownstone Trail in Fall 2023 captured by John Ipsen