Statewide Trail Map 2016 (PDF, 11.3 MB)
Together, we highlighted accomplishments in trail development, such as our grants to trail organizations and other projects we have planned in support of trails, greenways and blueways. In addition, we recognized some outstanding leaders of the trails movement in Indiana.
Steve Morris recently retired as the DNR Director of the Division of Outdoor Recreation in August 2017 after 23 years of public service to the State of Indiana focused on improving trails and outdoor recreation.
Steve started working for the division as a seasonal employee in 1994 and moved to full-time staff in 1997 — quickly becoming the Streams & Trails Section Chief. In 2007, Steve became Director of the Division of Outdoor Recreation.
Under his leadership, Indiana grew from a state with minimal number of trails and greenways to one that now has more than 3,700 miles of public routes for every type of activity. Indiana was one of the first states to have a comprehensive trails inventory, which has been vital in measuring existing trails and planning for future trail development.
Steve has served as an invaluable resource to communities, non-profits, and other state agencies in their planning and development of trails. Steve has also led by example from bike commuting into work to volunteering his personal time to help clean up rivers. For more than two decades, Steve has provided leadership behind the scenes of the Indiana trail movement to literally pave the way for the amazing trail network we have today.
For his accomplishments on behalf of our state, the Greenways Foundation proudly awards Steve Morris as our Outstanding Public Official for 2018.
Steve Morris in his office.
Bill Adams is a relentless advocate for trails in Allen County and throughout Indiana. He was one of the founding members of Northwest Allen Trails, a non-profit trail advocacy and planning group that merged in 2011 with two other trail groups becoming Fort Wayne Trails.
Bill became involved with trail development in Fort Wayne in 2004. He starting biking trails after a medical condition and used the trails to become healthier and more active. It was this personal satisfaction and improved wellness that made him a believer in trails.
Bill has been a long-standing supporter of the Pufferbelly Trail and longs for the day he can ride to Auburn from Fort Wayne. He is a tireless champion and gives of his time helping with the annual Pufferbelly 5k and Fest each spring, and regularly gives tours — sharing his passion for the trail.
Bill has volunteered to spray weeds, mow, and keep the trail clear of debris — always ready to lend a helping hand. He is willing to talk to anyone including elected officials about the importance of the trail, and has passion like no one else for its development.
For his great efforts, the Greenways Foundation is proud to award Bill as our Outstanding Trail Advocate for 2018.
Bill Adams is an all-season advocate for trails.
Formed only a few years ago, the Noble Trails is quickly blazing trails in Northern Indiana with the goal of creating a network of trails to connect communities throughout Noble County and beyond.
This all-volunteer group is focused on trail development along a former railroad corridor, connecting both Allen and Lagrange Counties. In 2016, the group opened a 1.25 mile section of the Fishing Line Trail, and this year, an additional 2.5 miles will be constructed with some of the funding coming from a Greenways Foundation grant. The group has successfully purchased most of the necessary right of way along this corridor, with only a few parcels left to acquire.
In addition to the work on the Fishing Line Trail, this group is also working with community leaders to secure right of way for a trail around the north side of Kendallville. When these two trails are complete, Noble County will have 13 miles of continuous trail from the east side of Kendallville to Rome City.
These dedicated volunteers also host a 5k Run/Walk on the Fishing Line Trail, not only as a fundraiser but also as a friendraiser, fulfilling all of the items in their mission. This event allows people to see and celebrate the progress made on the trail and to learn about future phases.
In recognition of their continuing success, the Greenways Foundation is proud to award the Noble Trails as our Outstanding Trail Group for 2018.
Noble and dedicated trail advocates.
These awarded businesses, Fort Wayne Outfitters & Hall’s Catering Service, are owned and operated by Tim & Cara Hall. Tim is a board member of Fort Wayne Trails and is the owner of Don Hall’s Catering. Cara, his wife, is the owner/operator of Fort Wayne Outfitters, a local bike and outfitting shop that also supports water trail activities.
Tim communicates regularly with elected officials about the importance trails play in our community. The Fort Wayne Outfitters location sits right beside the St. Marys River in Fort Wayne adjacent to the Rivergreenway.
Both businesses are annual sponsors of the Allen County trail map. They also offer their locations as trail-friendly businesses on the map which means trail users can use their restrooms, get water refills and use their bike repair station for free. They also manage a bike locker location near a YMCA, providing safe parking and the use of showers to clean up from their active commute.
Through Don Hall’s catering, Tim has provided in-kind catering services for the Trek the Trails kick-off party each year for the last five years. Last year, he willingly added Brewed IN to the Fort event, a fundraiser for Fort Wayne Trails.
For their civic mindedness and dedication to community health and wellness, the Greenways Foundation is proud to award Fort Wayne Outfitters and Hall’s Catering Service as our Outstanding Corporation for 2018.
Enthusiastic land and water trail users.
Allen County has been a great supporter of trail development for the last two decades. This started by working with local citizens to build trails in the Aboite Township area and has continued with trail projects incorporated into many road improvement projects. Trails are now discussed and placed as an important factor in projects for pedestrian infrastructure.
As trail development has continued, the City of Fort Wayne reached the city limits on many projects, putting more importance on key trail linkages in unincorporated Allen County. Of great importance is a focus on the Pufferbelly Trail in northwest Allen County, which is a part of the Poka-Bache Connector, a regional connector aimed to link Pokagon State Park in Angola to Ouabache State Park in Bluffton.
In 2017, Fort Wayne Trails asked if they could assist the county highway department by creating a five-year capital improvement plan for trail development. The commissioners eventually dedicated $1M to be used for right of way acquisition, design work and construction in the 2018 budget.
Fort Wayne Trails now works closely on specific projects that are helping connect communities and destinations in Allen County. Monthly coordination meetings are held to ensure projects are moving forward and specific tasks can be completed by both the county and Fort Wayne Trails.
For their significant accomplishments in advancing trails now and into the future, the Greenways Foundation is proud to award Allen County as our Outstanding Local Government for 2018.
Cycling event on an Allen County trail.
Extending the Oak Savannah Trail remained the number one rated trail project in Northwest Indiana for many years. Then in 2017, both Lake County Parks and the Town of Griffith completed projects to extend the trail almost two miles to connect with the Erie Lackawanna Trail. This project now links the two longest trails in Lake County, and also allowed for regional connections from the State of Illinois to trail networks in Porter and LaPorte Counties.
In all, more than fifty miles of off-road existing trail were connected by this project. During the next two years another trail, the C&O Greenway in Merrillville, will be connected to this completed trail extension.
This trail extension utilizes an old road bed that was abandoned and passes through hundreds of acres of oak savanna, wetlands, and prairie. The Oak Savannah Trail extension connects to the existing trail in the middle of Oak Ridge Prairie County Park.
From here, The Town of Griffith extended the trail from the southwest corner of the county park almost a half mile to connect with the Erie Lackawanna Trail at a trailhead on its southern border. The popularity of both of these trail systems will only grow, thanks to this project’s completion.
In recognition of the efforts of both Lake County Parks and the Town of Griffith to establish a significant connection for the Northwest Indiana region, the Greenways Foundation is proud to award their Oak Savannah Trail Extension as our Outstanding Trail Project for 2018.
A sylvan canopy on the Oak Savannah.
Headquartered in Merrillville, NIPSCO has exhibited outstanding cooperation with Northwest Indiana communities in expanding the regional trail network. They regularly support and enhance the quality of life through community partnerships, volunteering, charitable giving and economic development.
Quite simply, no other private company has as many miles of public access multi-use trails in Northwest Indiana as NIPSCO. To date, approximately 26 miles of trails have been made available to the public throughout Lake, Porter and LaPorte Counties.
In helping to facilitate trail development along their properties, NIPSCO offers a licensing agreement to communities free of charge. This instrument has been critical in advancing new trails in the region by aiding with what is clearly the most difficult part of trail building.
Although this agreement waves NIPSCO of having to replace the trail if their utility work removes it, they nonetheless replaced a three-mile section of the Erie-Lackawanna Trail at their own cost when installing a new pipeline. This represented a significant savings to the Town of Merrillville.
Today, NIPSCO continues to provide support for trail development through their generous sponsorship of the NW Indiana Greenways & Blueways Map — ensuring the free availability of the document to the public. Further efforts are also underway to explore opportunities for local entities to gain public access to NIPSCO fee-owned properties.
In recognition for their many years of dedication and contributions to enhancing trail development for Hoosiers, the Greenways Foundation is proud to award NIPSCO as our Greenways Legacy Awardees for 2018.
A prairie trail beckons.