Progress and News
Henry County NRHT Expands Near Raysville:
Healthy Communities of Henry County has doubled the length of the Raysville section of National Road Heritage Trail (NRHT) in the Fall of 2016 and Spring of 2017. This multi-use trail is now 4 miles long from the Big Blue River in Raysville to SR 3 in Dunreith (NRHT map across the county). This was the culmination of a number of years of planning and preparation to build on the popular crushed stone NRHT section that had already been in service. This extension occurred in two parts.
Last summer, Jeff Ray coordinated the clearing of the .75-mile section of elevated corridor through Raysville west to the Big Blue River, then, with a group of volunteers, installed railings on 3 of the 4 old railroad bridges that pass over the Historic National Road and other local streets. The 4th bridge's railroad structure already had side railings. This section was opened with a natural surface and is accessible from the Raysville trailhead on West Street.
Then, late last year, a long-awaited opportunity arose to purchase the quarter mile of corridor at the east end of the existing Raysville trail, including the all important 80' long concrete arched railroad bridge over Buck Creek. In addition to this quarter mile, this provided access to the next 1.4 miles of corridor that Healthy Communities had previously purchased, so volunteers cleared that section last Fall, too. Then, at the end of March, volunteers installed the needed railings on the Buck Creek bridge, allowing this new section to be opened to the east as a natural surface trail.
Healthy Communities is working towards upgrading the new sections of trail to crushed stone surface in the foreseeable future, but in the meantime, trail users are invited to enjoy these beautiful new sections of natural surface trail.
People Pathways Launches Phase 2 of Putnam Nature Trail:
Fresh on the heals of opening the 1st phase of the scenic multi-use Putnam Nature Trail on the southwest side of Greencastle, People Pathways, in partnership with NRHT, Inc., acquired ownership of an additional 2.5 miles (map) of the former railroad property extending southwest from Limedale. In addition, trail property neighbor and Phase 1 partner Buzzi Unicem has again generously offered to use its heavy equipment to do rough clearing and grading of the overgrown former railroad bed. Combined with the award of generous grants from the Putnam County Community Foundation and the Duke Energy Foundation to cover other development expenses, this has allowed People Pathways to now launch trail construction on this new section, with much the same style as on the 1st phase. The objective is to open 2+ miles to pedestrians and bicyclists by the end of this year.
current condition of Phase 2 corridor
Ahead of Buzzi's work, other volunteers will do some basic preparations that should facilitate access and maneuvering by the heavy equipment. In addition to preparing the smooth, crushed limestone trail surface, People Pathways will also create trailheads. The volunteer work will begin immediately this winter to take advantage of the dormant vegetation.
Anyone who would like to help transform this section of corridor into a scenic natural trail please contact People Pathways Chair Joy Marley at firstname.lastname@example.org. Particular volunteer events will be publicized on the NRHT, Inc. Facebook page, linked from this web site's main page.
Below, volunteers did initial preparations on March 18.
September 2016 (updated December 2016)
People Pathways Opens 1st Phase of Putnam Nature Trail:
After 20 years of successful trail promotion and development in Greencastle and Putnam County, the volunteer trail group People Pathways is not resting on its laurels. On September 23rd, they opened the first phase of the multi-use Putnam Nature Trail going southwest from Greencastle. This 0.8-mile bike/ped segment provides an example of the natural beauty in this part of the county and provides a connection point for the city of Greencastle's planned Campus Link Trail across the south side of the city. A map is provided at the end of this story. The Putnam Nature Trail will also form part of the cross-state NRHT. The trail's gravel parking lot is accessed from Jackson Street south of Veterans Memorial Highway, just north of the railroad crossing. The trail can also be accessed on foot or on bike at the intersection of Jackson Street and Veterans Memorial Highway.
This segment of the Putnam Nature Trail has been made possible in large part by generous donations of property from the neighboring Buzzi-Unicem cement plant, by the city of Greencastle, and by adjacent local business Corner Properties LLC. Trail construction has been made possible by a Putnam County Community Foundation "Envision 2016: Moving Putnam County Forward" grant awarded to People Pathways and much donated work by Buzzi-Unicem and volunteers. Photos of the development activities and the trail opening event are provided below.
Overgrown corridor before & groomed trail after.
Information kiosk built by volunteers from Fillmore's Bethel Baptist Church.
On May 21, volunteers from West Central Quail Forever, Putnam County Water and Soil Conservation District, People Pathways, Walmart Transportation's VAP Program, and Putnam County Families in Nature Group, joined forces to plant over 1,000 native plant plugs.
The planting included Queen of the Prairie, Red Lobelia, Monarda, Liatris, Prairie Dock and Butterfly Weed. Prior to the plug planting, Bill Fielding with the West Central Quail Forever group, planted native grass seeds that included Bluestem, Buffalo Grass and Prairie Dropseed. Not only will trail users get to view the wonderful planting but also motorist along Jackson Street. The newly planted site will also provide a wonderful natural habitat for pollinators.
Below are photos from the September 23rd trail opening event.