Trails in Indiana

Cardinal Greenways Officially Opened June 23, 2012

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On the warm, sunny day (Indiana’s had a few of them since before summer began),  of June 23, 2012, about a hundred trail stalwarts trekked, biked or drove in to witness the grand opening of the final stretch of Indiana’s longest rail-trail. 

The ceremony took place at the Williamsburg, Indiana trailhead, which also serves equestrians wishing to embark on the trail.

Sustained by breakfast sandwiches, coffee and donuts, soft drinks, and bottled water, attendees gathered by a large placard of major donors to hear brief dedicatory speeches.

Mayor Sally Hutton of Richmond, Angie Pool, Executive Director of the Trail, Denise Retz, Wayne County Director of the Greenway and others described their relationship to the trail, the efforts involved in seeing it completed, and its impact on themselves, their families, and the communities along its route. 

Angie Pool had this to say, “ It’s been a long process and I know sometime the patience has worn a bit thin but, you know what?  We are here.”  Angie gave heartfelt credit to the late Lenette Freeman, the Cardinal’s former executive director, as key to orchestrating the trail’s development.

Marta Moody, vice president of the Cardinal Greenway Board, spoke about the health and economic development benefits afforded for all the communities along the trail.

Lee Elzemeyer, president of the local steering committee for the Cardinal, presented the need to sustain the trail and create the maintenance funding to insure trail viability over the long haul.   John Zetzl of the Cardinal Greenway board also expressed the need to fund the maintenance of the trail, to make the work a lasting trust. ( Sustainability has become a primary focus for rail-trail builders, as the daunting task of maintenance becomes stark in the face of a tough economy.),

The trail provides a space for Hoosiers to improve their health in a natural setting, creates an economic development corridor, and serves as a paved transportation and recreational facility for cyclists, pedestrians, and handicapped, and includes over sixteen miles of equestrian trail.

Developing the trail wasn’t easy. 

In fact, the Cardinal Greenway opening showcases Hoosier grit and determination.

In its over twenty year long development, the project has involved and continues to involve numerous volunteers, the Department of Natural Resources, elected officials in a number of communities, businesses and other not-for-profit organizations.

The Cardinal Greenway not-for-profit corporation developed and maintains the Cardinal Greenway, and includes the White River Greenway, the historic Wysor Street Depot and the Cardinal Equestrian Trail.  The Cardinal Greenway uses no public funds to maintain the trailways or depot.

The Cardinal makes its way through Wayne, Henry, Randolph, Delaware and, Grant counties in east-central Indiana.   The Greenway is part of the national American Discovery Trail (ADT), and becomes part of the Northern Indiana ADT  route connecting Cincinnati to Chicago.

~Mario Vian