The purpose of this Health Impact Assessment (HIA) was to assess the potential health impacts of the expansion of the Ice Age Trail on broad determinants of health, including the built environment, economy, and social connectedness. The Ice Age Trail is a walking path that traverses the state of Wisconsin, highlighting the geological features resulting from the Wisconsin Glaciation. The expansion of the Ice Age Trail in Marquette County was predetermined, however, variations in both the planning and implementation process were considered to better understand how the potential positive health impacts of a walking trail could be enhanced and how potential negative health impacts could be mitigated. The recommendations include the development of a health-focused outreach and programming plan, the inclusion of health, business, and community groups in the trail development process, a survey to better understand and prioritize features and amenities of importance to potential trail users, and the development of a sustainable surveillance plan. This HIA was the first done in any of the Ice Age Trail counties.
The HIA proved to be an effective method of engaging stakeholders and understanding the literature surrounding community driven concerns. The HIA served as a platform to build partnerships in trail development processes and trail implementation planning.