In the North West Region of Indiana trails grow like mushrooms, and keeping track of all the new trails, upgrades, extensions that constantly transform the landscape and opportunities of this area is very challenging for us. It has been very helpful, informative, and actually very exciting to listen to Mitch Barloga's webinar showing what has been achieved by NIRPC through 2013. We thought this could be the best introduction to our effort to show the most updated maps of this region of Indiana, enjoy it.
July has been a busy month in NorthWest Indiana, but also a culmination of a very intense year. We were present to the excitement for the Golden Spoke Celebration, last October 2013, where Indiana was opening its borders to Illinois with the Pennsy Greenway connecting to the Burnham Greenway and Chicago.
|Little Calumet River / Bailly Chellberg Trails. pdf||472.38 KB|
The Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore and Indiana Dunes State Park has a large number of trail systems spanning across three Indiana counties from East Chicago to Michigan City. These trail systems offer many types of trails for virtually every trail activity one could want.
One such trail system is the Bailly Homestead & Chellberg Farm Trails, snuggled between Highway 12 and Highway 20 in Porter County, Porter Indiana. Rich with the history of the Northwestern Indiana settlement and 19th Century farming practices to a diverse natural environment makes this trail system an interesting and educational adventure for all ages.
This easy to moderate hiking trail consists of two loops with extensions connecting to the Little Calumet River Trail and the Indiana Dunes Environmental Learning Center totaling 2.1 miles of shady woods, ravines, wetlands and grassy meadows, and a one way trail that leads to the Bailly Cemetery. There are boardwalks (some with stairs) that allows for close viewing of the wetlands and for easy crossing of ravines. The trails are wide with a natural surface of dirt, bark and some sand and are relatively flat with benches and interpretive signs throughout. The shorter loop can be hiked in about 30 minutes while it may take several hours to complete the longer loop and extensions. The hiking experience changes with the seasons giving one an opportunity to witness the beautiful fall colors, blooming spring flowers, lush green summers or snow covered winters as the trails are open year-round.
Along the trails are opportunities to visit the Bailly Homestead and Chellberg Farm. The Bailly Homestead is a National Historic Landmark and was acquired by Joseph Bailly, the first known non-native settler in northwest Indiana. The Homestead consists of the main house which was built in the 1830’s, a two story log cabin which was used as a summer kitchen then later served as a chapel, a store house, and a brick house built in 1874, the ground floor was a kitchen and the second floor a studio. Bailly Cemetery (just north of the complex) is considered a family graveyard; however, there are numerous gravesites outside the Bailly family. The first recorded burial was Robert Bailly, son of Joseph Bailly, although there are tombstones dated as early as 1811.
The Chellberg Farm is a living history and working farm. Representative of a typical turn of the century Swedish and Northwestern Indiana farm, volunteers re-enact what life was like during that time. The original house burned in a fire in 1884 and was replaced by the brick house that now stands in its place. The new house was built in 1885 and the land was farmed by three generations of the Chellberg family. The farmhouse is wheelchair accessible as is the trail leading to the farmhouse.
Parking, restrooms and a picnic shelter are available at the Bailly/Chellberg Visitor Center. The main trailhead is also located at the visitor center.
Article by Norma Snyder
The Brickyard trail has been renamed Dunes Kankakee bike trail. It starts in Chesterton Indiana, connecting the Prairie Duneland trail with the Calumet trail, just outside Dunes Acres , in northern Porter County on Lake Michigan.
The Dunes Kankakee trail starts in Chesterton from the trailhead of the Prairie Duneland trail going northward for a quarter mile on S. Jackson Blvd. Crossing the railroad, and entering the town of Porter, turns left onto Lincoln Street to begin a separate trail that runs westward for .15 mile along Lincoln, northward for .15 mile on Sexton Avenue, and westward on Indiana Boundary Road, aka Beam Road for half a mile to the Augsburg Evangelical Lutheran Church
At the Church driveway the Dunes Kankakee ttrail separates from the Indiana Boundary / Beam Road to cross Mineral Springs, and run along Howe Road for .2 miles to US 20. At this crossing with US20, a beautiful bridge has been built for bikers and pedestrians to pass over the highway, but in November 2013 it was closed. Until the bridge is open to the public please take big precautions to cross this dangerous street.
At US20, the Dunes Kankakee trail it begins the first of several off-road segments through woods. The DKP continues on Howe Road, a dead end street with very little to no traffic to the US 20. Howe Road pavement begins curving northward and becoming CR 150W, which tees into CR 1350/West Oak Hill Road. Traversing about a half mile on pavement, the DKP angles northeastwardly, away from CR 150, into the woods to West Oak Hill Road.
Shortly, the DKBT crosses the West Oak Hill Road and winds northwardly through the woods of the National Park Service leading to US 12, or Dunes Highway. Here the DKBT overpasses US12 through a gorgeous pedestrian bridge that let you land nicely just in front of the Calumet trailhead.
The length of this trail is 3.2 miles but it makes possible to have more than 23 miles of continuous trails connecting the Prairie Duneland with the Calumet trail. It means that now is possible to go safely from Hobart to Michigan City.
When the gap in Hobart is closed between the Prairie Duneland and the nine mile Oak Savannnah trail to Gary and Griffith, connecting with the Erie Lackawanna, the traveler will be able to go either from Griffith northwestwardly to Hammond and the Chicago area of Illinois, or from Griffith southeastwardly to Crown Point, then northwestwardly on the Pennsy trail (bistate connection) to Munster, Indiana, Lansing, Illinois, and on into Chicago.
A new extention has been build on US49 (N CR 25 E) to connect Indiana Dunes State Park with the trail system through Calumet Trail.
The Calumet Trail is nine miles of bike and pedestrian pathway weaving through major wetlands, waving cattails, and darting dragonflies just inland from Lake Michigan’s south shore. It is a well-used crushed limestone trail along the Northern Indiana Public Service powerline route, paralleled by U. S. Highway 12 and the South Shore Commuter Rail that serve this intermixed industrial, rural land, seascape, and dune environment. It also borders in part the southern edge of Indiana Dunes State Park as well as the Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore, which hugs both sides of the Calumet Trail.
The trail is narrow in some parts with little shoulder area, but other sections of it are wider with adjacent vegetation mowed along the gravel path. Bike riders would be better with off-road or hybrid tires. There can be major puddles along some stretches. Being near federal and state park lands, the Calumet also easily connects to their numerous trails, of which some are designated hiking-only.
As mentioned, U. S. 12 runs beside the trail, but it’s best to have a local map before setting out on a hike or bike trip; the several access points are not currently marked on the highway, though the trail, hidden by its bordering vegetation and the rail line, is just a stone’s throw north. Good National Park Service maps and hiking/biking guides of the area are available at the Buell Memorial Visitor Center, south of U. S. 12 on Indiana 49. You can reach the trail at its western end via Mineral Springs Road; further east is the Beverly Shores access, behind the 1920s pink stucco train depot. In addition, there are unchain motels, restrooms, and watering holes to serve visitors.
Historically, this transportation corridor was much used by Native Americans as a route to the Mississippi River. Later, Europeans trekked along it as a connection with forts at Detroit and Chicago. In the early 1800s a mail route and then a stagecoach road followed where the current U. S. 12 now runs. Industrialization for steel, sand for everything from canning jars to automobile windshields, and the seemingly inexhaustible supply in the nearby dunes, aroused lakeshore conservation efforts even before the 20th Century arrived.
Protection from wholesale exploitation of established natural systems in the state park and national lakeshore, beside and through which the Calumet Trail now passes, is a miracle in itself. The long and often bitter political struggles to set aside these lands were fought for more than half-a-century. So, take the opportunity to visit and absorb the spirit of the dunes and south shore special places while you’re here, realizing that these unique biological quilts and vistas came very close to extinction in the recent past.
NOTE: To find the name of a trail on this map, please move the cursor of your mouse onto the trail line. Left click. The name and length of the trail will show in a balloon.
The Erie Lackawanna goes under US 80/94
Here crossing under US41
And here an old passage built by INDOT under US31
Rendering of the trailhead in Crown Point.
Whether the speech was about a golden spike or a golden spoke the same vision for economic growth, community building, and connectivity throughout the country for the good of all was echoed in the sentiments of two events separated by almost a century and a half.
The first occurrence was on May 10, 1869 in Promontory Summit, Utah. The Golden Spike Event celebrated the joining of the nation along the first Transcontinental Railroad. The ceremonial installation of the ‘golden spike’ completed the merger of the two railroad lines, the Union and Central Pacific Railroad to connect the Pacific and Atlantic coasts of the United States. The joining of the two railroads was declared “the destiny of the nation.” That destiny peaked in 1916 when there were 254, 000 roadmiles of rail track across the United States.
144 years, five months and 17 days later, approximately 120 people gathered on a crisp sunny Sunday afternoon in October to celebrate the opening of a pedestrian and bicycling trail in northwest Indiana. The Golden Spoke Celebration marked the opening of the Mid-America Trails and Greenways Conference (MATAG) held biennially since 2003. But with the popularity, acceptance and momentum of the trail movement begun 25 years ago, opening another trail in Indiana is really no big deal. Steve Morris, Indiana Department of Natural Resources Director of Outdoor Recreation, has even said that the state has met and exceeded its goal of having a trail within seven and one-half miles of all Indiana residents by 2015 and is now working toward a revised goal of a trail within five miles of each resident. He expects to meet the new goal by 2015. Studies, resident surveys, comprehensive and master plans for cities, towns, regions and even states verify the top priority of building trails and more trails. People want trails---for physical and mental health, social contact, and alternative transportation. The trails are the enabler for economic growth, sustainability and the most important bottom line---quality of life; and they are finally “everywhere” or getting close.
Two factors made the event special enough to draw over one hundred people on Sunday, October 27, 2013 to a state line in the asphalt pavement along the Pennsy Greenway. The first factor was its symbolic and real significance in connecting people to one another not just between the two cities of Munster, Indiana and Lansing, Illinois, but the people of two states along one trail and the people of a region to the country. Specifically, this opening connects the Pacific and Atlantic coasts to the Midwestern United States along the “longest non-motorized trail” in the United States; The American Discovery Trail (ADT). The ADT is a 6,800-mile trail crossing 15 states. It is the nation’s first coast-to-coast non-motorized recreation trail. According to the Discovery Trail website: “The ADT provides trail users the opportunity to journey into the heart of all that is uniquely American — its culture, heritage, landscape and spirit.” Fortunately, for those trail users in Indiana, the cross-country trail splits just east of Richmond, IN into a north and south route that travels west and merges again in Colorado.
The northern route crosses into Illinois along the Pennsy Greenway where the Golden Spoke celebration occurred.
Regionally, this connection is significant because of the many other trails connecting now and in the future to this route. In Illinois, the trail will connect to the 450-mile long Burnham Greenway/Grand Illinois System.
In Indiana, the Pennsy Greenway connects to the Monon Rail Trail, and the Erie-Lackawanna Trails.
The second factor of importance for this event was the multi-agency cooperation highlighted and emphasized by all of the speakers at the celebration. Two state governments, regional planning agencies, town and village governments, citizens and trail advocates displayed the non-partisan “git her done” attitude historically known in the United States. For the good of all people they came together to connect a nation along a trail at a state line between two towns in northwest Indiana. And, to paraphrase Dr. Seuss: “Oh the places you’ll go! . . . And the people you will meet!
Article by TIna Jones
“This trail is the result of the development of the Gary Green Link, a Master Plan for a 30 miles trail, a loop around the city that will connect 3 trails, Lake Michigan Environment, the Great Calumet and Little Calumet River. The opening of today’s (Nov 21, 2011) trail is actually a portion of the Gary Greenway, this is a ¾ of a mile trail part of the Calumet River Trail. We have two additional phases coming up in the next 2-4 years.
The also unique aspect of this trail is it will be part of the Marquette Greenway that it will ultimately go from (the) Illinois-Wisconsin border through and into downtown Chicago, through Northwest Indiana up in the Michigan.
This, (for which) we are ribbon cutting today, is Phase 1 segment 1. We will be moving forward to Phase 1 segment 2 in a year (to) two years and a half depending on letting (the bid) go through INDOT. That portion will go Amberchman Park, East to Broadway. At Broadway we have the old Historic Union Station that we want it as a service center and as a Trail head. From the back of the Union Station to Grand Boulevard it falls into the responsibility of the National Lakeshore. We are working with them to bring up the line.”
For more information watch this video. We interview U.S. Rep. Peter Visclosky and Gary Planning Director Christopher Meyers.
Article by Norma Snyder
The recent bridge built over the Little Calumet River ends the construction of the Monon Trail, an important piece of the trail system that covers the Northwest Region of Indiana. The Monon Trail as well as connecting Munster with Hammond connects the Pennsy Greenway in Munster with the Erie Lackawanna Trail opening the way for an uninterrupted ride on trails from Michigan City to Illinois.
Northwest Indiana has a new way to safely connect to jobs, shops and eateries between two cities.
With the opening of the Little Calumet River Bridge, commuters can now travel safely walking or bicycling to get to jobs, businesses or eateries, or for health and pleasure from Hammond to Munster, safe from car and truck traffic.
The bridge across the Little Calumet River links the over four mile Monon Trail between each community.
This new span also provides flood mitigation at the site. The old railroad trestle had thick supports that trapped wood and debris and contributed to flooding in the area. Partially constructed from parts recycled from the old bridge, the new bridge has no supports underneath, allowing for better water flow in times of high water.
Mayor Thomas McDermott Jr. joins the ranks of Indiana mayors like Greg Ballard in creating more bike friendly cities.
In early July of this year, two converted rail trestles opened to walkers, runners and cyclists, the Erie-Lackawanna Trail bridge crossing Columbia Avenue and 167th Street near Southeastern Avenue, and the Monon Trail bridge over 165th Street and Lyman Avenue.
The Northwest Indiana Times quoted McDermott at the Erie-Lackawanna Bridge opening: “Not only is it safe, it promotes a healthy lifestyle. Bike trails are the future.”
At a Mexican restaurant on Hohman Avenue in Hammond where my coworker and I ate lunch, the hostess expressed surprise at the “Little Cal” bridge opening: “I’ll have to check that out.”
Click on icons to see the map of each loop.
Bikeways (and hikeways), separated from traffic:
Campbell Street Bikeway runs from Rogers-Lakewood Park south 2.5 miles (4.0 km) to Vale Park Road (CR 400 N). It continues south on the opposite side of Campbell St. base Valparaiso High School, ending 2 miles (3.2 km) south at Ogden Gardens (Harrison Blvd).
At Vale Park, it connects to the Vale Park trail to Valparaiso Street 1 mile (1.6 km). A new bike loop 3 miles (4.8 km) is being built that circles north along Valparaiso Street to Bullseye Lake Rd, east to Cumberland Crossing (not open to the public (2008), south to Vale Park, turning west to on Vale Park to return to the corner of Vale Park and Valparaiso Street.
South of Whiting has been built a 1.2 mile extention following Wolf Lake through a scenic path, ending to E. 129th street.
Opening next spring the Wolf Lake Memorial trail borders the west side of the Wolf lake. To fill the gap has been built a beautiful bridge that you can see here during the construction. Once ended it will have of course rails to make a safe crossing of this side of the lake.
Join the Hammond Wolf Lake Trail Community