Twenty New Miles of Greenway Opened.
Concluding a ten year long trail development, the northern portion of the Nickel Plate Trail opened with a ribbon cutting ceremonies with the main celebration in Denver, Indiana last Saturday, October 2 at 12:30 local time.
Following a gloomy, cold, rainy morning framed in dark gray clouds, the Peru Circus Band began to play at about noon.
Braving the brusque weather, the energizing band played catchy themes which quickly dispelled any insidious gloominess from the weather. Soon the clouds began to break a little as more people began gathering around the ceremonial site next to the Denver Community Building.
The wind was not quite as heavy when a small trucked-in calliope began playing its whistling tunes. Helmeted children and graybeards, moms and dads and various other ancestral mixes biked up and down the short stretch at the site and milled around the food tent and bike shop tents waiting for the official ceremony to start.
Following a brief introduction by Nickel Plate Trail President Mike Kuepper, Kevin Kennedy presented a brief history of the rail trail, followed by an invocation. Brief remarks and praises for the welcomed trail and acknowledgements lead to the final band flourish and the crowd of about a hundred people just generally enjoying themselves as the wind died down and the sun’s presence grew. Then dispersing crowd took to their cars and a number, including families with small children hopped on their bikes and began pedaling the trail.
Several other, smaller ceremoniesstarted at the same time along the Nickel Plate corridor, at Rochester and Macy.
The newly minted section opens a twenty mile corridor from Rochester to Lover’s Lane in Peru on the north side of US 24.
This new trail segment shines every bit as a touring cyclist’s dream.
More picturesque views would be difficult to imagine, especially in the fall. This often tree canopied, gentle trail meanders through the hills and vales of Miami, Howard and Fulton counties, immersed in the sounds and smells of the Indiana countryside.
Cycling the trail after the ceremony, the smooth asphalt made it easy for the miles to roll by under the variegated green canopy encasing the trail which opened in stretches revealing freshly harvested fields, green swales and occasional views of old farm implements, creeks and rivers. The weather warmed up later on in the day immersing the trail in the incense of the sweet smelling rural Indiana countryside bathing it in dappled sunlight. The engineered grading of the old railroad ballast maked the incline of the grade north to Deedsville nearly unnoticeable.
The scenic trail takes its form from the formerly rail banked property held in trust by the Indiana Trails Fund, which acquired the line form the Norfolk Southern Railway Company in 1999.
Trail rules allow for biking and walking/jogging, rollerblading and handicapped accessible travel, with fourth season use as a cross country ski trail.
The Nickel Plate Road Trail resumes at Wallick Road in Peru, which takes one to Cassville about 12 ½ miles later, an equally captivating ride.