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Rivergreenway Fort Wayne
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FORT WAYNE & ALLEN COUNTY TRAILS
Trail builders and enthusiasts in Fort Wayne have been some of the busiest in the state when it comes to manifesting their community’s trail network plans. With Indiana ’s second largest metropolis, Allen County residents want to do more to connect non-motorized transport in various parts of the city and region.
To that end, several groups have worked together over the years, including Fort Wayne Parks and Recreation, Aboite New Trails group, New Haven-Adams Township Park and Recreation, Northwest Allen Trails, Inc., Aboite Township Parks, and the Greenway Consortium, which is an umbrella group formed over 30 years ago to promote and co-ordinate public and private trail endeavors across Allen County, as well as outside the immediate area.
Allen County ’s walking and biking connectors reach into several locales which can generally be divided into (1) Aboite and southwest Allen County ; (2) The Wabash and Erie Canal Towpath; and (3) The Rivergreenway, which has three branches from central Fort Wayne .
All of these trails will eventually be knitted together via major trail arteries of the Towpath and the River Greenway.
The Aboite Trails system is in Aboite Township , southwest Allen County , and currently has over 14 miles of multi-use trails utilizing existing trails, main roads, and sidewalks. These connect residents of all ages to businesses, schools, parks, shopping areas, and to other trails in the Fort Wayne region. New funding recently received will soon enable Aboite Trails to complete the long-sought link-up with Rivergreenway and the Towpath.
FORT WAYNE ’S RIVERGREENWAY TRAIL
The popular Rivergreenway Trail is a designated National Recreational Trail in a linear park arrangement, which follows the routes of three major waterways that come together in Fort Wayne : the St. Joseph , Maumee , and St Mary’s Rivers. Trails of the Rivergreenway system radiate out along these rivers, and all together cover over 20 miles. In addition, work continues that will connect other, smaller Allen County trails into the Rivergreenway, which will greatly lengthen the total number of trail distance available.
On the Rivergreenway proper, the Maumee River segment runs east from Fort Wayne to New Haven , and it covers nearly nine miles. The St. Joseph River segment so far extends for some three miles from the central starting point, with plans to build more miles out to Fort Wayne ’s Shoaff Park . The Johnny Appleseed Park can be accessed using the Maumee segment.
Another nine-mile segment is the spoke running along the St. Mary’s river. There are city parks on this route, including Headwaters Park . A replica of the old fort that used to be here can be found nearby. There is also a public golf course and flower gardens located in Foster Park in Fort Wayne .
The history of this area is, as one might guess, tied in with its geographical location. The confluence of the three rivers and their proximity to a route connecting the Great Lakes and the Mississippi River led the Miami Indians to found Kekionga here in the mid-1600s. Much dispute ensued over the next 100 years with the Europeans’ arrival. General Anthony Wayne then helped the U. S. to defeat native tribes, and the army built a fort here.
In the present day , the Rivergreenway allows biking, hiking, jogging, rollerblading, and there is ample opportunity for nature study as well. Besides the Johnny Appleseed Park , his grave site is to be found here, as is Lawton Skate Park , and an aquatic center. Pets are okay if kept on leashes. Trail Manager, Dawn Ritchie, relates that fishing is also allowed, but not while on the trail. Find a place where you can get safely off the traveled portion of trail in order to fish.
Besides those in the Allen County area, there are other trails to visit in the vicinity. To the northwest near Albion is Chain O’Lakes State Park with over 2700 acres and some ten miles of trails, and within its boundaries, about 200 acres of lakes. In addition, to the south of Fort Wayne mountain bikers can find the 12-mile Huntington Mountain Bike Trail, at Huntington Reservoir.