WELCOME TO INDIANA TRAILS!
As we approach the Autumn Equinox, we are finding people using active transportation more frequently while the sun sets. We urge all road users, drivers, cyclists, runners, joggers, etc. to be more cautious, especially when the sun may obscure your vision. Be extra careful during the mornings and evenings!
Now Discussing: Protected Pathways on Bridges
Big Four Bridge - a former railroad bridge crossing the Ohio River connecting Jeffersonville and Louisville - converted into a pedestrian and bicycle pathway ... one of the most popular multi-use bridges in the U.S.
Southern Indiana proposal: "Why Indiana Trails Community is concerned with the I-69 Ohio River crossing (ORX) Project"
General information: Examples of Bridges With Protected Bike and Hike Accommodations in Indiana
Indiana Trails Community educational webinar covering bike and hike accommodations on bridges.
PLEASE SIGN THE PETITION FOR BETTER BICYCLE, MOTORCYCLE, AND PEDESTRIAN SAFETY
The League of American Bicyclists and the American Motorcyclist Association have written a letter to the Secretary of the Department of Transportation, Pete Buttigieg, and National Highway Traffic Safety Administration Acting Administrator, Ann Carlson asking for improved safety standards for new vehicles. In particular, they are asking for Automatic Emergency Braking (AEB) to include bicycles and motorcycles, a standard most automobile manufacturers adhere to in European and Asian nations. Additionally, they are asking for improved side guards to reduce the chance of vulnerable road users (cyclists, pedestrians, and motorcyclists) falling under a truck. Please sign here, and read the full petition here.
WHERE'S MY BRIDGE POSTCARDS DISTRIBUTED TO STAKEHOLDERS
In our effort to raise awareness of the bridge issue in the Evansville-Henderson area, we created and printed off postcards that are pre-addressed to the governors of Indiana and Kentucky. You can find them in the April/May edition of Evansville Business, our business partners; Evansville Trails Coalition, Bikeworld, Bike Walk Kentucky, and several bicycle stores around the Indianapolis area. If you find one, please sign it and send it to the Governors of Kentucky and Indiana.
BROWNSBURG HONORS VIRGIL FAMILY WITH TRAILHEAD PARK ON B&O TRAIL
The Indiana Trails team was deeply saddened by the loss of Diana Virgil, who, along with her husband Hall Virgil, has been the esteemed pioneer of the B&O trail. She was affectionately known as its "mother." However, the recent news of Brownsburg's decision to construct Virgil Park in honor of her and Hall's trailblazing legacy is truly heartening! This trailhead-style park along the B&O will span 6.7 acres of land, comprising 25 parking spots, a picnic shelter, restrooms, a playground, and a half-mile of trails. Moreover, the land will help conserve existing wetlands while promoting the growth of prairies and woodlands and providing a thriving habitat for pollinators. Click here to visit the park website.
BOARD MEMBER JIM GARLITS WITH TEAM TRIUMPH
A chance encounter with Team Triumph by board member Jim Garlits changed his perspective and brought adaptive cycling to our collective consciousness. Adaptive cycling pairs experienced cyclists with someone who has mobility issues to provide a unique experience for someone who normally would not be able to ride a bicycle.
As author Bryant McGill stated, “No time is better spent than that spent in the service of your fellow man.” We could not agree more!
CARMEL CITY COUNCILOR MAKES THE FINANCIAL CASE FOR WALKABILITY
Carmel City Councilor Adam Aasen presents the fiscal case for walkability, reducing costs for residents, and improving visibility for businesses. While he doesn’t mention it in this article, we know that walkability and higher density increase revenue and reduce the cost of providing city services. Pair this with the choice that multimodal transportation brings, and you have happier residents and happier business owners in a beautiful and easy-to-navigate city. Click here to read his article.
BOARD MEMBER MARY EMMRICH ON BRIDGES
“Bridges…allow us to overcome obstacles…transportation to better serve all of us. Bridges offer us different views of our worlds. Bridges can become inviting destinations. Bridges can create niche tourism for communities. Bridges serve as testament to man’s ingenuity and resourcefulness. Bridges are the grandest adventure I can imagine.”
Indiana Trails Community board member Mary Emmrich tells us her thoughts on bridges and why she is drawn to them. Click here to read her essay.
INDIANA TRAILS CONCERNED I-69 BRIDGE WILL LACK ACCESS FOR HOOSIERS WITH DISABILITIES, CYCLISTS
While this article is a bit dated, the issues remain. There is no safe way to cross the Ohio River between Evansville and Henderson other than in an automobile and left to the current designs and plans of the bridge managers, there will not be. There is no vision to link these cities in the future, there is no willpower to address current demand, only momentum to continue the status quo - there haven’t been hike and bike accommodations in the past, why should accommodations be made now?
INDIANA TRAILS IS PROUD TO PRESENT ITS 3RD QUARTER 2022 NEWSLETTER
This letter presents the topics we have been focusing on for the past several months including our work on the National Discovery Trail Systems legislation, hike, bike, and disabled accommodations across the Ohio River between Evansville and Henderson, our focus on bridge accommodations, and a retrospective of our first project - The Monon Trail. Click here to go to our newsletters page where you can download the newsletter and where we will post future newsletters.
INDIANA TRAILS CONTRIBUTES TO REDFIN BLOG ABOUT OUTDOOR ACTIVITIES IN INDIANAPOLIS
In preparing an article about outdoor activities, Redfin contacted Indiana Trails and our President Richard Vonnegut about what activities people can participate in while in Indianapolis. We of course focused on the wonderful trail network here in Indianapolis! And while we focused on the Cultural Trail to highlight downtown Indianapolis as well as the Monon - one of the oldest trails in Indianapolis for examples of what happens when trails and communities mature and integrate - there are also plenty of other wonderful trails that have created a robust trail network serving the residents of Indianapolis. We hope you enjoy this article about outdoor activities in Indianapolis!
AMERICAN DISCOVERY TRAIL POSTCARDS BEING SENT TO LEGISLATORS
Indiana Trails has printed up several thousand postcards that we have been taking to shows, distributing to trails groups, tourist groups, and more. We are asking people to sign the card, show their level of use of trails, and send the postcards to Indiana Representatives. This is part of our effort to show how much interest everyday Hoosiers have for further support of the American Discovery Trail. We hope to encourage all of Indiana’s nine representatives to sign on as co-sponsors of the bill.
NICKEL PLATE TRAIL (NORTH) SEEKING PLEDGES FOR DONATIONS FOR MATCHING GRANT
The Nickel Plate Trail (north) is expanding to link up to the Cardinal. This expansion will create the longest trail network in Indiana. However, the grant used to facilitate this expansion is a matching grant. Will you pledge to donate to help create the longest trail network in Indiana? Click here to pledge to donate - donations will not be collected unless the grant is awarded.
Photo courtesy Ethan Hopper
NATIONAL DISCOVERY TRAILS ACT REINTRODUCED IN CONGRESS
The National Discovery Trails Act has been reintroduced into this year’s legislature as H.R 4878. Both legs of the trail, northern and southern routes, go through Indiana. The trail goes through the districts of Frank Mrvan, Jackie Walorski, Victoria Spartz, Greg Pence, Larry Bucshon, and Trey Hollinsworth. We ask that you join us in asking our Hoosier Representatives to review and co-author this important bill for trail development! Read more here.
EVANSVILLE TRAILS COALITION SEEKS INPUT FOR INTERSTATE-69 CROSSING OF THE OHIO RIVER
Our colleagues at the Evansville Trails Coalition are asking for input concerning the Ohio River Crossing of Interstate-69 (ORX 69) project. Currently, the project will only cater to automobiles. This means cyclists and hikers living in Evansville will have to drive to visit the John James Audubon State Park directly over the river. Henderson residents who are handicapped or cannot drive are denied employment opportunities in Evansville. Read more about Evansville Trails Coalition request for input here. Read more about Indiana Trails Coalition concerns here.
NEXT LEVEL TRAILS ROUND 2 GRANT AWARDEES ANNOUNCED
Today, Governor Holcomb announced the 2nd round of Next Level Trails grants totaling $29.6 million for 70 miles of new trails through 18 communities and non-profit organizations. With the local match, the total comes to $51.5 million for new trails from this program. We here at Indiana Trails are excited to see the outcome of the hard work put into the development of these new trails and trail extensions. Click here for the Governor’s press release. Alternatively, you can click here for the DNR announcement, including the recipients, trail name, length, amount, and where it is located, including a map.
INDIANAPOLIS CULTURAL TRAIL SECURES FUNDING FOR AN EXTENSION
The Indianapolis Cultural Trail is a dynamic way to navigate downtown Indianapolis using active transportation. We are excited at the news that the trail will soon have an extension along South Street and along Indiana Avenue. The expansion will add an additional two miles of trail and is the first expansion since the trail opened in 2013. The expansion should be complete in 2022. Click on this link to read more about the project in the Indianapolis Business Journal.
STATE CREATES NEW TRAILS GRANT PROGRAM
The State of Indiana has created a new grant program called the Indiana Trails Program. This will allow not-for-profit and government agencies to apply for grants between $50,000 and $250,000 to acquire property for a trail, construct a trail, develop support facilities for a trail (trailhead, parking, benches, signage, etc.), and build bridges, boardwalks, or crossings. Act quickly, applications are due March 1! See the FAQ for more information.
WALK BIKE PLACES RESCHEDULES INDIANAPOLIS CONFERENCE FOR 2021
After canceling the 2020 conference, Walk Bike Places has been rescheduled for June 15-18, 2021 in Indianapolis as well as online. Indiana Trails is happy to see this conference rescheduled and for the conference staying in Indianapolis this year. Click to learn more about the conference as well as register for this wonderful event!
NAT OF RUNTALIE ADVENTURES HIKES THE KNOBSTONE TRAIL
Our friend and outdoor enthusiast, Nat Moran shares her experiences on the amazing Knobstone Trail as she treks through beautiful southern Indiana. As her videos take place at different times of the year, it just goes to show that with good planning, there is never a wrong day to be on the trail! Please check out her YouTube channel including her series of videos about her experiences on the Knobstone.
SUPPORT GREENWAY STIMULUS
Indiana Trails Community supports Greenway Stimulus, a $10B federal stimulus program that will help to create 170K jobs in trail construction across the nation resulting in a 10x return on investment. This legislation will help kickstart the economy by helping to further develop trails that have become an important part of our nation and culture during the COVID-19 pandemic. Trails have allowed people who want to exercise or get out of their houses to do so with minimal risk of infection. This is an important part of our national infrastructure that needs greater investment. Please click on this link to learn more and sign on in order to support this important legislation!
APPALACHIAN TRAIL FOOT BRIDGE SHOWS DETERMINATION TO OVERCOME OBSTACLES
The Bill Foot Bridge crossing of the James River as part of the Appalachian Trail is a unique part of the history of the Appalachian Trail. This story was recently published in the Potomac Appalachian Trail Club newsletter. We applaud the determination and creativity of Bill and Laurie Foot as they worked to provide a safer way for trail users to cross the James River. We invite you to join us as we advocate for protected pathways on bridges!
CALL TO ACTION SUCCESSFUL!
Indiana Trails’ call to action has been successful! Thank you to everyone who contacted the Governor’s office. Governor Holcomb has released the funding for Next Level Trails that the legislature approved. You can read more about it here.
INCREASED TRAIL USE IN INDIANA
We have been saying for months now that 2020 saw an explosion of trail use across the state. Based on 71 trail counters across different trails in the State, we can back that claim up with hard data that was compiled by the Indiana Division of Outdoor Recreation. For the first half of 2020, Indiana saw a 52% increase in trail use. This included a 90% increase in March as a high and a low of 7% increase in July. Indiana Department of Natural Resources believes the increase in trail use is due to the COVID-19 pandemic as people seek a safe outlet for physical activity and mental respite. Click here to learn more.
GREENFIELD'S NEW PARK INTEGRATES PENNSY TRAIL
Hoosier Rails to Trails Council, a partner of Indiana Trails Community, has long advocated for the Pennsy Trail - a rail trail running between Indianapolis and Richmond and part of the National Road Heritage Trail. Indiana Trails would like to congratulate Greenfield for their plans to integrate a portion of the Pennsy Trail into their Depot Street Park. The Depot Street Park is a small-but-mighty park that highlights the Pennsy Trail in the middle of Hancock County. This public greenspace/gathering venue will encourage the connection of several “gaps” in this evolving pathway between Indianapolis and Richmond. Read more about it here.
INDIANA TRAILS HAS ISSUED A CALL TO ACTION!
Indiana Trails Community is asking community members to send a letter to Governor Holcomb asking him to release funds approved by the legislature to be used to build trails. During the COVID-19 outbreak, trails were a vital tool used by Hoosiers to improve and maintain health. It is disappointing that the Governor would deny funds already approved for such an important tool. Click on this link to learn more about the issue and to send a letter to the Governor asking him to release funds that will help increase Indiana’s trail network.
INDIANA INSIDER BLOG LISTS 20 NATURAL WONDERS IN INDIANA
The Visit Indiana website is continuing to build their list of The 20 IN 20. This time, it is a list of 20 Natural Wonders in Indiana That Will Amaze You. While these sights are amazing, we here at Indiana Trails believe you can find amazing wonders right outside your door on your nearest trail. Not to mention that a lot of the wonders listed are accessible by taking a trail or are located near a trail. We encourage you to see the amazing sights that are in Indiana by exploring her natural beauty - especially if you can do so while on the trail!
MONON DEPOT IN BEDFORD ONE OF TOP TEN MOST ENDANGERED INDIANA LANDMARKS
The Monon Depot in Bedford is being sought by Indiana Trails Fund as a trail head for the Milwaukee Road Transportation Trailway. Renovations of this depot would be sponsored by Indiana Trails Community as a part of a capital improvement fundraising program. Situated near the junctions of the east/west Milwaukee Road Railroad and the north/south Monon Railroads, this Depot helps to preserve our railroad history and serve a new life to those who hike the railbanked trails. Help us preserve this building by donating to the Indiana Trails Community.
TAKE TO THE TRAILS!
The American Fitness Index is an annual report on the fitness of the 100 largest cities in the United States of America by population. Their annual report was recently published and on their web page they included an article about the increased use of trails in the time of COVID-19. The author notes, as does Indiana Trails, that trail usage has drastically increased - people cooped up in their house with no gym to go to are finding an alternative in visiting their nearest trails. Of course, since this is a site dedicated to fitness, the article also talks about the health benefits of trail use over other forms of exercise. Click here to read the article!
WHAT IS A JEEP DOING ON MY RAIL-TRAIL?
Jim Garlits, a member of the Board of Directors for Indiana Trails Community, writes about his experience of riding his bicycle along the Nickel Plate Trail between Peru and Kokomo when he comes across a Jeep in the middle of the trail! Read more about his adventure on our Articles web page by clicking here.
STEVE OF PTSD-WALK MET WITH INDIANA TRAILS ON HIS WALKING TOUR TO PROMOTE PTSD AWARENESS
Stephen Myers, San Diego, is walking 6000 miles across the United States of America to promote awareness of PTSD and the long-term effects of failure to treat this debilitating disease. While in the Indianapolis area, he met with Indiana Trails. We talked about the National Road Heritage Trail, as well as the dedication to take on long-distance trips such as this trip while walking or bicycling. Indiana Trails support’s Steve’s efforts to increase awareness of PTSD and his novel way of raising awareness. Steve believes he will need many pairs of shoes before reaching the 6000-mile mark! Please visit https://ptsd-walk.com/ to follow along or assist Steve in his awareness campaign.
TIPS FOR OUTDOOR ACTIVITIES DURING THE STAY-AT-HOME ORDER
Gary Davis of Indiana Trails went on Fox 59 to talk about the benefits of getting out on the trails while practicing safe social distancing. Please do not feel that you must sacrifice your health and mental well-being during this stay-at-home order. If you feel well and do not exhibit any symptoms, there is no reason why you cannot leave your house and get out on the trails in order to exercise! View the interview here.
INDIANAPOLIS METROPOLITAN PLANNING ORGANIZATION RELEASES DRAFT REGIONAL PEDESTRIAN PLAN
The Indianapolis MPO released a draft version of their Regional Pedestrian Plan. The plan focuses on increasing mobility for residents of the Indianapolis Metropolitan Area as well as providing safe places for pedestrian interactions with vehicular traffic. The Indianapolis MPO is seeking input from the public before finalizing the plan. You can download and comment on the Regional Pedestrian Plan by clicking here.
PROJECT FOR PUBLIC SPACES WILL HOLD THEIR BIENNIAL CONFERENCE IN INDIANA
The largest, most progressive, and comprehensive active transportation conference in North America, will take place at the convention center in Indianapolis on August 4-7, 2020. We are excited to see over 1,200 planners, designers, advocates, and public health professionals from the United States and abroad attend the Walk/Bike/Places 2020 conference in beautiful downtown Indianapolis. With conference tracks focusing on Infrastructure, Planning, Advocacy, Excellence, Health, Transit, and Place, we believe there is something for everyone who wants to see a trail built in their community! Click here for more information.
GREAT AMERICAN RAIL TRAIL IN NORTHERN INDIANA
The Indy Star has a great article about the Great American Rail Trail that will cross Northern Indiana. Indiana was one of the first states selected to be a part of the Great American Rail Trail and stakeholders were able to work with selecting a route that is beneficial to the communities it passes through and showcases the natural beauty of Northern Indiana. While much more work needs to be done, a lot of pieces are in place, and Indiana Trails highly recommends you read the article and visit this national trail!
AVON INCLUDES TRAILS IN INFRASTRUCTURE PROJECTS
Avon Magazine wrote an article about how the city is forward-looking in its infrastructure development. Looking holistically at how to ensure residents can access all points of the city, trails has been an important part of the planning, implementation, and redevelopment of existing infrastructure. Read this article to see how Avon is thinking about all the different ways people need increased access to transportation.
IU HEALTH BEDFORD USES DAY OF SERVICE TO BEAUTIFY THE MILWAUKEE ROAD TRANSPORTATION TRAIL
On September 13th, 2019, members of Indiana University Health Bedford Hospital took to the Milwaukee Road Transportation Trail to clean up, help maintain, and remove encroaching plants. The hope is that everyone, from individuals to families will utilize this wonderful community asset as a resource that will be used to improve health and wellness. Members of IU Health Bloomington Hospital recognize the inherent beauty in the Milwaukee Road Transportation Trail and hope it brings more people to Southern Indiana to experience the health benefits and beauty that nature has to offer. Click here to watch the video.
90 MILE TRAIL BEING PLANNED ALONG THE WABASH RIVER
A new trail is being planned along the Wabash River, running from Covington to Logansport. The not-for-profit Wabash River Enhancement Corporation received a $35,000 grant from the Wabash Heartland Innovation Network to study the feasibility of building a trail that would connect communities once connected via the Wabash and Erie Canal. You can read more about this exciting development here.
INDIANA TRAILS CHAIRMAN LETTER TO EDITOR PUBLISHED IN IBJ
Chairman of the Board for Indiana Trails, Tom Williams, recently wrote a letter to the editor that was published by the Indianapolis Business Journal. In the letter, he shares his concerns with making the corridor a trail-only corridor, and how a rail with trail solution would not only be the fiscally responsible solution but would allow popular tourist attractions, such as the State Fair Train, to serve Hamilton County residents. You can read the letter here.
PANHANDLE PATHWAY IN OUTDOOR INDIANA
The September / October 2019 issue of Outdoor Indiana carries a story on Indiana Trails’ involvement in developing the Panhandle Pathway, a rail trail in Pulaski and Cass Counties. The article describes the process of converting the railroad into a trail, with input from Indiana Trails President, Richard Vonnegut. To read, pick up the most recent issue of Outdoor Indiana at your local park, or subscribe to Outdoor Indiana at the DNR website.
INDIANA TRAILS PRESIDENT MENTIONED IN BICYCLE INDIANA ARTICLE
The 2019 Resource Guide published by Bicycle Indiana, has an article, “Nine Days Out” that mentions how the author, Mark A. Yeaton, bicycles USBR #35 from Louisville to Michigan. Before his ride, he reaches out to Indiana Trails President, Richard Vonnegut, to discover more about USBR #35, and even meets with Mr. Vonnegut when he passes through Indianapolis. The article is a wonderful description of his adventures as he rides USBR #35 through Indiana.
GOVERNOR HOLCOMB NAMES FIRST NEXT LEVEL TRAILS RECIPIENTS
On May 2nd, 2019 Governor Holcomb named the recipients of the first round of Next Level Trails grant recipients. You can view the speech to the right, or click here to read more.
INDIANA TRAILS HAS A NEW WEBSITE
Welcome to our new website. It is quite a milestone for us. We hope you like the new look! Over the next few months, we will be transitioning information to the new format, including updated trail, route, and map information. The old site is no longer active.