Trail Worker Award

This award recognizes an individual that has made outstanding contributions and provided consistent support for trail planning, development, or maintenance. It is intended to recognize the efforts of a private or public sector individual working for enhanced trail recreation on either the local, state, or national level.


Wisconsin: Rich Propp

Rich Propp, a volunteer with the Ice Age Trail Alliance, sets the bar high for the group’s Mobile Skills Crew.

The mission of the Ice Age Trail Alliance's Mobile Skills Crew program is to educate and empower volunteers to build, maintain and steward a premier footpath known as the Ice Age National Scenic Trail. MSC events offer a great opportunity to give back to the outdoors while spending quality time in it. Volunteers at MSC events work hard, learn standardized trail building, develop lasting friendships with each other and, perhaps most importantly, have fun.

Rich Propp emulates the MSC mission by attending and leading trail crews at every event. He volunteers his time maintaining the 1,000-mile long footpath through Wisconsin regardless of the weather, and always encourages his crew members with his infectious smile. Not only does he have excellent skills with a pick mattock, shaping tread, he can build bridges, boardwalks, and clear corridor. He also helps his chapter maintain sections of trail around his Hometown. Rich is not afraid to jump in and help the support volunteers after dinner has been served and dishes need to be done. He does all of this with an infectious, never ending smile. Rich loves doing trail work and giving back to Wisconsin’s IANST.

Our May project saw rain a couple days and we were hauling heavy, wet lumber into a boardwalk site, half a mile over land, one direction. Rich made eight trips, and carried out a 16 lb. rock bar at the end of the day, smiling the whole time. It is that kind of spirit that keeps a group of volunteers hauling lumber in the rain for that extra trip!! Our last project in Plover River State Fisheries area saw Rich leading a crew to establish hand crafted, full bench for five days in a row. Everyone on Rich’s crew specifically asked to be a part of his crew as long as they were there.

Rich’s dedication, work ethic, knowledge, patience, spirit, safety record, and smile make him an invaluable resource to our organization. He inspires everyone he works with to give it their best and learn how to hand craft premier sustainable National Scenic Hiking Trail.