Here the Ice Age Trail enters the forest honoring Carl Schurz. With John Muir, Increase Lapham, and Aldo Leopold, he belongs to the quartet of Great Wisconsin Conservationists memorialized by natural monuments left by the Wisconsin Glacier in northern Waukesha County.
Schurz was born in 1829 in Liblar, Germany, where his father managed the forests of Count Metternich. Caught up in the 1848 revolutionary movement for a democratic Germany, he barely escaped the Prussian authorities. He settled in Watertown in 1855, where his wife founded the first kindergarten. He supported Abraham Lincoln, who named him minister to Spain, and then major-general commanding the 11th Corps, which included the 26th Wisconsin.
Carl Schurz served as U.S. Senator from Missouri 1869-1875, and as Secretary of the Interior 1877-1881. As Secretary, he denounced lumbermen who were "not merely stealing trees, but whole forests," and started the movement for a national forest service and a national park system.
In private life as in public, his motto was not, "My country, right or wrong." But rather, "My country! If right, to be kept right. If wrong, to be set right." In 1905, a year before his death, the University of Wisconsin honored him as "the foremost German-American - a sincere and bold leader of public opinion and an ardent advocate of wise measures of national reform."
As you walk through Carl Schurz Forest, remember his words: "I learned to love the woods and to feel the fascination of the forest-solitude, with the whisper of the winds in the treetops."