Promoting Trails &
Greenways in Indiana

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2019GF-LegislativeWebinar-75Download the agenda from our 2019 GF Legislative Webinar (PDF, 3 MB)

Statewide trail mapStatewide Trail Map 2016 (PDF, 11.3 MB)

 
 

Thank you to everyone who attended and helped us celebrate the trails, greenways & blueways of Indiana!

Taking Trails to the Next Level

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.

 

Outstanding Public Official

people staring at the camera

Mayor Joe Thallemer

Over his seven-year tenure as Mayor of Warsaw, Joe Thallemer has worked very closely with local cycling and advocacy organizations to promote safe routes for cyclists in the community through the development of greenways and bicycle and pedestrian infrastructure.

Under his watch, Mayor Joe championed significant street renovations, including traffic calming features and wide side paths along the East/West Market Street corridor. This will ultimately connect existing Greenways on each side of town, completing a linear park that will be eight miles in length, including greenways in Winona Lake.

Another quality of life initiative included the installation of a bike lane connecting the central part of Warsaw with the Beyer Farm Trail Greenway on the north side of the city. Currently underway is a project to build a Cycle Track thru downtown Warsaw. This will be the final link connecting the greenways and sidepaths completely from one side of the city to the other.

Mayor Joe also spearheaded the creation of Warsaw’s Bicycle Pedestrian Master Plan, with a grant from the Indiana Department of Health. Once this Master Plan was developed, it was a short time before the community embraced the concept on many levels and Warsaw quickly became a Bicycle Friendly Community. Furthermore, to date nine local business got on board by becoming Bicycle Friendly Businesses.

In addition, Mayor Joe oversaw the development of a vacant alley in downtown Warsaw into a community gathering spot including bicycle parking, which has helped establish a welcoming atmosphere for those wanting to use active transportation

For his accomplishments on behalf of the City of Warsaw, the Greenways Foundation proudly awards Mayor Joe Thallemer as our Outstanding Public Official for 2019.

man on a bicycle

Mayor Joe practices what he preaches.

 
 

Outstanding Trail Advocates

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Steve & Kathy Lucas

The Prairie Trail Club formed in 2010 as a nonprofit to oversee the development of the Erie Trail from North Judson east to Monterey, north to Knox and south to Winamac. In 2013, retired lawyers Steve and Kathy Lucas, who live on the Erie Trail, joined the Club and have proven invaluable assets to the Club’s efforts, and both were elected as officers.

Both Steve and Kathy have put in countless hours of their time attending local and county meetings to improve and promote the Erie Trail. They have offered their talents in preparing grants, including one for the Next Levels Trails program to extend the Erie by two miles. They have also organized a bottle cap collection in exchange for resin benches on the trail.

Both Steve and Kathy posses excellent managerial and coordinating expertise, and have used these talents extensively to propel the success of the Club. They currently coordinate trail maintenance days with local foundations and service clubs, and personally maintain a mile of the Erie Trail adjacent to their home. Since the trail is part of the national American Discovery Trail network, Steve and Kathy have opened their home to long-distance riders and hikers.

Steve and Kathy have offered significant fundraising assistance to the Club as well with events including a color run. They were also involved with the construction of an informative display booth at a local festival, helping to aid visitors on the benefits of the trail to the community, and increasing visibility for the Club and their initiatives.

For their great efforts and civic-mindedness, the Greenways Foundation is proud to award Steve and Kathy Lucas as our Outstanding Trail Advocates for 2019.

man working on trail and woman in painted tee shirt

Labor of love: Steve working the trail, Kathy running the color run.

 
 

Outstanding Trail Group

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Whitewater Canal Trail

In 1968, a 15-mile section of the Whitewater Canal between Laurel Feeder Dam to Brookville, adjacent to the Whitewater River was placed on the National Register of Historic Places. In 2004, Whitewater Canal Trail, Inc. formed to oversee the development of a trail along this historic canal corridor.

Accessing this scenic historic corridor by trail remains at the heart of the group’s vision. Thanks to their commitment and passion, three trail segments have opened up and have become popular destinations. These include the Metamora Trail and the Yellow Bank Trail which Whitewater Canal Trail operates and maintains, and the Billy Jean Jobe Trail in Brookville.

Apart from these, other segments are currently underway. The Laurel Feeder Dam Trail will represent a two-mile connection to the Metamora Trail. Whitewater Canal Trail has been able to raise a substantial amount of funding from a local family trust, area businesses, Franklin County Tourism and their Community Foundation.

Thanks to the efforts of Whitewater Canal Trail, a valuable historic and scenic resource is becoming protected for future generations to enjoy. Their accomplishments have been duly recognized by public officials and business interests alike as critical to the quality of life of those living in Franklin County and beyond.

In recognition of their successes, the Greenways Foundation is proud to award Whitewater Canal Trail as our Outstanding Trail Group for 2019.

people walking on a trail

A community fund raising walk on the Whitewater Canal Trail.

 
 

Outstanding Local Government

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Steuben County Government

Over the last two decades, Steuben County Government have been working hard to make trails a part of their community. They have made incremental progress along the way and are currently achieving the original vision with a connection to Pokagon State Park.

The trail they are currently constructing is part of the DNR State Visionary Trail program, and is a segment of the Poka-Bache Connector, reaching from Pokagon State Park, 81 miles south to Ouabache State Park in Bluffton.

In 2018, $2.2M was approved in local funding to complete the connection to Pokagon, with the largest portion coming from Steuben County. Businesses along the way were also collaborative, offering access and donations of right-of-way to the project.

In addition, citizens and leaders in the county highway department are creating a local citizen advocacy group to engage the public in the planning, implementation and fundraising of trails. Additionally, they are working with students at Trine University who are using the trail leg south of Angola as a senior design project for the spring and fall of 2019. These efforts showcase how Steuben County is embracing collaboration in the community to accomplish their trail development work.

For their significant accomplishments in advancing trails now and into the future, the Greenways Foundation is proud to award Steuben County as our Outstanding Local Government for 2019.

earth mover moving earth

The Poka-Bache Connector under construction.

 
 

Outstanding Trail Project

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Syracuse-Webster Road Trail

Though only 0.4 miles long, the Syracuse-Webster Road Trail project is deserving of this title because of its outsized impact on the community.

This section connects the existing 11 miles of multi-use trail to three sub-divisions. It allows students in 126 homes to safely walk or bike to Wawasee High School and the new Syracuse Elementary School. It also brings the trail to the Brooke Pointe Inn property, allowing tourists staying at the hotel to access all the town and lakes have to offer, from the seat of a bike.

There was strong community support for this project, though as always there were some concerns. One homeowner did not wish the large, old tree in front of their house to be removed, even though it was in the right-of-way. After much discussion, the family provided an easement for the trail to go through their yard and the tree was saved.

Another family was concerned about school buses taking the turn into their subdivision too sharply and running over the corner of their yard. In that section, we added a curb to the trail, greatly reducing the number of times the school bus came into their yard.

In recognition of the efforts of the Syracuse-Wawasee Park Foundation to establish vital off-road connections for students accessing their schools, the Greenways Foundation is proud to award their Syracuse-Webster Road Trail as our Outstanding Trail Project for 2019.

boy on a bicycle

Like many greenways, the Syracuse-Webster Road Trail provides safe passage through the community.

 
 

Greenways Legacy Award

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John Yoder

Back in 1989, as a professor in literature and photography at Goshen College, John Yoder was in Illinois on sabbatical and became fascinated by the Illinois Prairie Path. When he returned home, he began looking for an abandoned railroad in Elkhart County that could be turned into a trail. He discovered the Pumpkin Vine Railroad and gathered several enthusiasts to help him. Soon after, The Friends of the Pumpkinvine Nature Trail, a non-profit corporation, was formed.

A couple years later, John and the Friends paid $15,000 to Penn Central for a one-year option to buy the railroad property. Finally, In December 1993, after four years of effort, John and the Friends secured a $60,000 loan, and with donated funds raised, were able to buy a quit claim deed from Penn Central securing the right-of-way.

Throughout the following 26 years, John Yoder has been the prime mover towards the development of the Pumpkinvine. During these nearly three decades, John Yoder has negotiated the acquisition of trail right-of-ways, and resolved countless issues arising with property owners.

John has worked with companies to design, engineer and construct the trail, and formed agreements with various units of local government for management and maintenance. He has raised millions of dollars from individuals and corporations, and from private, governmental and corporate foundations.

With John’s unwavering perseverance and leadership, today’s Pumpkinvine Nature Trail is a priority trail listed in Indiana’s Visionary Trails System. At present, two unfinished gaps remain in the trail between Goshen and Middlebury. John anticipates that these will be completed over the next year or two.

John has recently announced that he will step aside at the end of 2019. He has been the Pumpkinvine’s visionary, organizer, communicator, money raiser and main cheerleader. From the very beginning, John has been the champion, working tirelessly to develop the asset that the Pumpkinvine Nature Trail has become.

In recognition for his many years of dedication, passion and service, the Greenways Foundation is proud to award John Yoder as our Greenways Legacy Awardee for 2019.

people on bicycles on a trail

Along with being a delightful greenway, the Pumpkinvine Nature Trail also serves as a transportation corridor for local residents.

 
 

Greenways Foundation 2019

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Greenways Foundation executive board & advisory board in attendance.