Progress and News through 2015
'15 Irvington Pennsy
Trail Extension Creates Longest NRHT Trail
Irvington Pennsy Trail Extension Creates Longest NRHT Trail:
In September 2015, Indy Parks completed construction of its 1.3-mile Pennsy Trail extension, connecting its first phase of Pennsy Trail in Irvington to the Pleasant Run Trail in Ellenberger Park (photos). This increased the continuous length of Indianapolis' NRHT-related trails to 13.8 miles, becoming the longest continuous section of the NRHT in the state. From west to east this includes the Eagle Creek Trail along Raymond Street, the White River Trail north to the Indianapolis Zoo area and across the old Washington Street bridge to downtown, the Indianapolis Cultural Trail along Washington Street, Virginia Avenue, and Shelby Street through downtown and Fountain Square, the Pleasant Run Trail from Shelby Street to Ellenberger Park in Irvington, and the Pennsy Trail in Irvington.
Greencastle Shows Benefit of Long Term Planning:
The city of Greencastle has long had the Campus Link Trail in their greenways and transportation infrastructure masterplan, thanks to strong encouragement from the local People Pathways organization. This future trail is envisioned to connect the existing trail system and Area 30 Career Center for high school students on the east side of the city to the mid-crossroad of Zinc Mill Road where a north/south trail connects to the Greencastle Middle & High School Campus as well as to a primary and an intermediate school and the Ivy Tech campus and then finally to the DePauw University campus and Nature Park on the west side of the city, routed along the south side of Veterans' Memorial Highway. This trail would also serve as the NRHT route across Greencastle connected with the Vandalia Trail to the east.
As part of this plan, the city required that any new development along the south side of Veterans' Memorial Highway must allow for and actually build the local section of the trail in order to get approvals for that development. The benefit of that planning is now evident on either side of Zinc Mill Road. When Ivy Tech built their new campus on the east side of Zinc Mill Road a few years ago, they included a north-south trail connection to Veterans' Memorial Highway, but also added a spur to the east to be prepared for connection to the future Campus Link Trail. They also connected their trail to Zinc Mill Road for the Campus Link Trail crossing. A short distance west of this road, a new apartment complex has gone in with the requirement that the developer build the trail for the length of their property. Completed this summer, the Zinc Mill Apartments now have an 850' long section of trail forming part of the Campus Link Trail route which connects with the 200' length of trail that the city had previously built to the west side of Zinc Mill Road.
An aerial view of this area as well as photos of this completed trail section can be seen on the photo page.
As a result, the destination for the first section of Campus Link Trail is now in place, built mostly by private entities. Happily, this destination will soon be connected to the existing trail system because Greencastle expects to begin construction in 2016 on the first mile of Campus Link Trail from Indianapolis Road to Ivy Tech. Preliminary designs are now completed and the remainder of the process should follow shortly.
Cumberland Extends Pennsy Trail to CR 600 W:
In July, the town of Cumberland opened the next 1/4 mile of paved Pennsy Trail to a new trailhead at CR 600 W (Mount Comfort Road) in Hancock County. The new trailhead includes a paved parking lot, benches, interpretive panels and landscaping. The entire 3 miles of Cumberland's Pennsy Trail are now through-accessible from the nearby US 40 / Historic National Road.
Indy MPO & Indy Parks Approve New Greenways Masterplan:
On April 17, the Indianapolis Parks and Recreation Board unanimously approved and adopted the Indy Greenways Full Circle Plan. The plan outlines a new vision for Indy Greenways that includes over 250 miles of greenways in Indianapolis that connects all nine townships. It includes improvements to the existing system, five direct routes to downtown, a new 64-mile circle that connects over 70 different parks within the city, and connections to eleven regional trail systems. Then, on May 7, the Indianapolis Metropolitan Development Commission adopted the plan, completing the final step in incorporating the new greenways plan into the city's comprehensive plan and giving it legal force.
One new greenway added during this year and a half update process is the Vandalia Trail to connect the Eagle Creek Trail southwest to Plainfield, and to serve the neighborhoods south of Washington Street and north of the Indianapolis International Airport,Minnesota Street, and I-70. This also forms the western leg of the Indianapolis section of the cross-state National Road Heritage Trail. The Indy Greenways masterplan now defines the future route of the NRHT across the entire city.
Cross-State NRHT Initiative Celebrates 10th Anniversary: This year, NRHT, Inc celebrates the 10th anniversary of the cross-state National Road Heritage Trail initiative. In March 2004, volunteers began traveling across the state presenting the concept to towns, cities, counties, civic groups, and others asking if they liked the idea of being connected in this way. 71 endorsements later along with the award of the $75,000 Quality of Place Initiative grant from the Indiana Office of Tourism Development and administrative support and matching grants from Indiana Trails Fund, Greenways Foundation, Efroymson Fund of the Central Indiana Community Foundation, Central Indiana Bicycling Association Foundation, and the Wabash Valley Community Foundation gave the resounding answer “YES”.
NRHT, Inc. invites you to celebrate this milestone year by exploring the 50 miles of open trail along this 150-mile corridor. NRHT, Inc. also welcomes any opportunities to present the status and to discuss options for the future in person to communities or organizations along the corridor this year. This could also be combined with a presentation about the trail’s namesake, the Historic National Road, in the 20th year of its preserving organization, the Indiana National Road Association.
See June 2014 press release.
$1.9 Million TAP Grant to HC Parks to Upgrade Vandalia Trail: In February, the Indiana Department of Transportation (INDOT) awarded Hendricks County Parks & Recreation a $1.9 million Transportation Alternatives Program grant to upgrade the 4.5 miles of Vandalia Trail from Amo west through Coatesville to the Putnam County line. Construction is planned to begin in 2016. This will include a 10' wide paved bike surface, an upgraded parallel equestrian trail, well-developed parking and trailhead facilities in the towns, and a number of other structural, drainage, and aesthetic improvements along the route.
There was significant competition around the state for these INDOT grant funds, but the strength of Hendricks County Parks' proposal, the support from the towns and the county, and this trail's connection with the Putnam County and Greencastle trails systems giving nearly 14 miles of continuous trail right away were key in obtaining the award. Being part of the cross-state National Road Heritage Trail initiative, labeled a 'priority visionary trail' in the Indiana State Trails, Greenways, and Bikeways Plan also helped win INDOT's attention. Hendricks County Parks Superintendent, William Roche, states "Statewide and nationwide, trails connecting communities have shown to provide tremendous benefits to their respective communities. The Hendricks County Park Board is proud to partner with the state, and the Towns of Amo and Coatesville, to develop this wonderful resource."
See the complete story on the Vandalia Trail web page.
Indy Parks White River Trail Makes 50th NRHT Mile: On November 15, Indianapolis Mayor Greg Ballard, Indy Parks Director John Williams, and League of American Bicyclists President Andy Clarke cut the ceremonial ribbon to open the 2.1-mile south extension of the White River Trail in downtown Indianapolis. In addition to providing a beautiful new local paved trail for the city (local map), this section becomes the 50th mile of trail opened along the cross-state NRHT route (overall map). It also strengthens Indianapolis' hold on the longest continuous open section of the NRHT that is paved, now at 11.5 miles.
Related story in the Indianapolis Business Journal.
Note that some areas of this new section of the White River Trail still have some access and landscape construction work on-going.
Putnam County Construction Takes NRHT to 48.5 Miles: During June, the People Pathways trail organization constructed a new 0.75 miles of packed stone bike/ped trail in the town of Fillmore, connecting two sections of the now 12.3-mile Greencastle to Amo Vandalia Trail, and creating the longest continuous section of and 48th mile in the cross-state NRHT.
The Vandalia Trail now consists of 3 miles of natural surface between the towns of Amo and Coatesville, 8 miles of packed stone surface between the towns of Coatesville and Fillmore and the city of Greencastle, and 1.3 miles of paved surface in the city of Greencastle. With each town and the city offering places to visit and get food and drink, plus the diverse and interesting scenery along each section, this trail now has much more draw as a destination.
In fact, a couple of cross-country cyclists travelling from Delaware to the west coast were encountered on the Vandalia Trail near Amo just last week. They said they were using the NRHT route to cross Indiana.
Greenways Foundation Provides Grant for NRHT: The Greenways Foundation this Spring awarded a $1,400 grant to NRHT, Inc. to help create upgraded publicity and informational materials for the cross-state NRHT initiative as well as to acquire permanent trail signage.
This much appreciated grant will provide for high quality traveling display materials, brochures, aluminum NRHT trail signs for display on local trails along the cross-state route and will supplement a grant from VISIT HENDRICKS COUNTY to provide permanent aluminum trail signage for the Vandalia Trail in western Hendricks County.
Indianapolis Cultural Trail Holds Grand Opening: On May 10-11, the Indianapolis Cultural Trail held its grand opening, showing off this unique 8-mile long, world class, urban, non-motorized connection of the major cultural districts of downtown as well as providing connections to nearby greenways. The video linked below provides an entertaining and informative view of this amenity, much of which was filmed during the grand opening festivities. The Washington Street, Virginia Avenue, and Shelby Street sections of the Cultural Trail form the route of the cross-state NRHT across downtown.
(www.streetfilms.org) The Indianapolis Cultural Trail: The Next-Gen in U.S. Protected Bike Lanes
47 Miles of Cross-State NRHT Now Open: Communities across the state continue to develop additional miles of the cross-state NRHT. There are now 47 miles of open trail in 13 different sections in 7 counties. Three of those sections are now longer than 7 miles, the longest being the combined Indianapolis Cultural Trail & Pleasant Run Trail. These three longest sections are in:
Indianapolis - 7.4 miles of paved trail from the White River State Park to Irvington. This includes the White River State Park, the recently completed sections of the Indianapolis Cultural Trail through downtown and the Fountain Square area, and the long established Pleasant Run Trail from the new connection with the Cultural Trail at Shelby Street to Washington Street in Irvington.
Terre Haute - 7.2 miles of paved trail from the ISU campus in downtown past the Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology campus to the Jones Trailhead on Chamberlain Road.
Hendricks & Putnam Counties - 7.2 miles of packed stone and natural surface trail called the Vandalia Trail from the town of Amo in Hendricks County to the east edge of the town of Fillmore in Putnam County.
During 2013, another 6 miles in a number of segments are likely to be opened, resulting in a couple of the segments growing to be more than 10 miles in length.
Visit the maps page for printable and interactive maps of the entire project.
Richmond Trails Summit & Centerville Section of NRHT: On March 17, the Society for the Preservation & Use of Resources (SPUR) hosted the first Richmond Trails Summit at the Innovation Center in downtown Richmond. Representatives from a diverse set of organizations interested in developing trail resources in the Richmond and Wayne County area met to discuss their projects and how to coordinate future activities. Participating organizations included Cardinal Greenway, Hayes Arboretum, Bike Richmond, National Road Heritage Trail Inc., Earlham's Wilderness Program, the Cope Center, Whitewater Canal Scenic Byway, American Discovery Trail, Starr-Gennett Foundation,Whitewater Valley Land Trust , the city of Richmond, Hoosier Rails-to-Trails Council, Healthy Communities of Henry County, Preble County Park District, Indiana Department of Natural Resources, and others.
During the Summit, NRHT-Wayne chairman Michael Thuman noted that Wayne County's first paved section of the National Road Heritage Trail was being constructed in the town of Centerville. During a visit of that trail later that day and a meeting with the town council a few weeks later, the three NRHT Inc board members who attended the Summit learned that Centerville has paved a half mile long, 10' wide trail along the NRHT corridor parallel to a new street connecting a subdivision with the center of town. In addition, the town has already graded much of the rest of the 2 miles of trail corridor within their corporate limits in preparation for future trail. NRHT, Inc then proposed and the town council agreed with the idea of opening the rest of that corridor in the near term as rustic trail to be upgraded over time as funds become available. Centerville has chosen the name Archway Trails for their local trail that will be a component of the cross-state NRHT.
Hancock County Council Members Show Individual Support:
July 14 by Maribeth Vaughn of Greenfield Reporter
Reaching into their own wallets, several Hancock County Council members decided Wednesday to give of their own money for a cause instead of forking over $1,000 in taxpayers' money. The Sugar Creek Pennsy Trail Committee asked the county council Wednesday for $1,000 to assist in writing a grant to connect Hancock County's two existing trails. The committee, made up of trail enthusiasts and officials from Cumberland, New Palestine and Greenfield, wants to connect the new Cumberland Pensy Trail to Greenfield's Pennsy Trail just south of U.S. 40. There is a four-mile gap between the two, so the connection would make 13 miles of trails.
Cumberland Opens Pennsy Trail & Solar System Model: On November 13, the Town of Cumberland officially opened their 3-mile paved Pennsy Trail in both Marion and Hancock Counties and dedicated their unique One-to-One Billion Scale Linear Solar System Model along the trail (photo). Hundreds attended the ceremony which included speeches from Mark Reynold of the town council, Barbara Reger (Creston Middle School science teacher), and others and concluded with the Creston Middle School 8th Grade Band playing the theme from the movie Star Wars.
In the model, each planet in the solar system is marked by its own interpretive panel. Content was developed in collaboration with Warren schools to meet state guidelines for field trips. Content was reviewed by the Smithsonian’s Center for Earth & Planetary Studies at the National Air & Space Museum and Photography was provided by NASA. (Press Release)
NRHT, Inc Obtains IRS 501(c)(3) Tax-Exempt Status: In order to make available another resource to help local trail initiatives along the NRHT route, the board of directors of NRHT, Inc applied for and obtained IRS 501(c)(3) tax exempt status, effective May 24, 2010. This designation will allow NRHT, Inc to facilitate trail development and management by local groups through property ownership and grant and donation management. Some sections of the proposed route are in areas that do not have the benefit of local government agencies with related missions, such as county or town parks departments, etc. This designation will also allow NRHT, Inc to apply directly for grants and accept donations to support the overall initiative.
The cross-state NRHT initiative was launched in 2004 as a partnership under and with Indiana Trails Fund, Inc (ITF), with ITF providing key services such as serving as the 501c3 for the $100,000 in grants and donations that created the NRHT Development Guide. ITF also demonstrated the model of how an umbrella 501c3 could support local trail initiatives, such as the Vandalia Trail in Hendricks County. It was these experiences and the increasing number of local needs along the NRHT route that moved the board of NRHT, Inc to take the next step and obtain 501c3 status itself.
Cumberland Installs Bridges on Pennsy Trail: The Town of Cumberland and the Indiana Department of Transportation (INDOT) are pleased to announce the Installation of bridges for the Cumberland Pennsy Trail @ the Marion-Hancock County line. Two bridges are being installed on the Cumberland Pennsy Trail. One spans Carroll Road at the Marion-Hancock County line and another is immediately to the east, spanning Buck Creek in Hancock County.
• The bridges were manufactured in New York state and have been delivered and set in place on Wednesday, September 22, 2010.
• The larger Carroll Road bridge spans 104 feet, and weighs aprox. 12 tons. (photos)
• Both bridges have an arch that replicates the arch of the adjacent Schreiber Lumber Pavilion, which is planned for restoration as a trailside Farmer’s Market. Paint colors match the colors of the Cumberland Pennsy logo.
The 3-mile Cumberland Pennsy Trail is a multi-modal trail for hiking, biking, etc. The trail is part of the National Road Heritage Trail and will eventually connect east to Greenfield, west to Indianapolis and to Terre Haute. The Cumberland Pennsy Trail is expected to be open by Nov 1, 2010.
Town Councilmember Mark Reynold said, “The span over Carroll Road, the Marion-Hancock County line, is symbolic of Cumberland’s status as a town that links 2 counties.”
• The Cumberland Pennsy Trail, when complete, will also include a scale model of the Solar System.
• The Cumberland Pennsy Trail project was funded with transportation enhancement (TE) and federal economic stimulus funds.
Henry County Opens Its First 4.8 Miles: With a fast track grant from Indiana DNR, the not-for-profit Healthy Communities of Henry County has developed and opened 4.8 miles of NRHT on the former Pennsylvania Railroad bed in two sections of the 10-mile corridor that runs just south of US 40 between Knightstown and Lewisville. To see a photos of the trail, the August 29th ribbon cutting ceremony, and the 5k run/walk, click here.
Trail users can access the two open trail sections from developed parking areas. In Raysville, just east of Knightstown, parking is available where the trail crosses West Street. 1.8 miles of crushed stone trail extends east from Raysville through a scenic, densely forested region, ending close to CR 425 W in Ogden. In Lewisville, parking is available at Williams Street, just east of the treatment plant. 3.0 miles of crushed stone and natural surface trail extends west from Lewisville to CR 125 W.
Jeff Ray, trails coordinator for Health Communities of Henry County, also reports that Healthy Communities continues to coordinate acquisition of additional sections of that corridor with the County's $450,000 TE grant in order to fill in the gap for a near term continuous 10-mile Henry County NRHT.
TE Grant to Hendricks County Parks to Extend Vandalia Trail: On November 6, INDOT announced that it will give a grant of $665,000 to Hendricks County Parks & Recreation for acquisition of property or easements to allow for future extension of the Vandalia Trail / National Road Heritage Trail across Hendricks County. The specific route is not finalized but the objective is to connect the existing trails in Plainfield, Amo, and Coatesville to Clayton, Cartersburg, and Putnam County.
State Grants to Add 10 Miles to NRHT in 2008-09: On May 20, Governor Mitch Daniels announced $19 million in new investment for trails development as a part of his Hoosiers on the Move statewide trails plan. Four of the grants totaling $2,865,000 are planned to add about 10 miles to the cross-state NRHT route by the end of 2009.
The four cross-state NRHT projects include:
Vandalia Rail-Trail - Plainfield: $500,000, 1.9 miles
National Road Heritage Trail - Henry County: $650,000, 4.0 miles
Pennsy Greenway – Indianapolis: $900,000, 1.3 miles
Pennsy Trail – Greenfield: $800,000, 2.7 miles
In addition, Terre Haute received $900,000 for its 1.6-mile Collett Park Pathway which will connect to its original National Road Heritage Trail.
NRHT Bridge Design in Terre Haute: In May, Five Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology senior civil engineering students presented to Wabash River Development and Beautification Inc. and Vigo County residents a big dream for Terre Haute's future: A pedestrian bridge across the Wabash River that could become the signature gateway for the region.
NRHT Connects Communities, State: On June 14, Inside INdiana Business published a story in their monthly Leadership Indiana newsletter describing the cross-Indiana NRHT initiative.
During recent local trail
meetings in Indianapolis, Indy Greenways officials
described the city's top priorities for trail
development as the Pennsy Rail-Trail, Fall Creek
Trail, White River Trail, and Eagle Creek Trail.
NRHT, Inc is glad to note that three of these four
trails will form key sections of the proposed NRHT route across
These three trails are
currently in various phases of development.
The section of the White River Trail between
downtown and Raymond Street is in the design
phase, with construction to begin soon. The
Pennsy Rail-Trail is in the land acquisition
phase. The Eagle Creek Trail is already open
as a 2-mile paved trail along Raymond Street to
the White River, but future development north
along the Eagle Creek levees will likely occur
after the other trails above.
Two other related trail plans
in Marion County will also form part of the NRHT
route. The Cumberland Pennsy Trail will soon
enter the construction phase to Hancock County and
will connect to the Indy Greenways Pennsy
Rail-Trail at German Church Road. The
Indianapolis Cultural Trail is planned to connect
all areas of downtown and has entered the
construction phase along Alabama Street this
summer. Future phases of the Indianapolis
Cultural Trail will form the NRHT route across
downtown from White River
State Park to Fountain Square.
NRHT 2006 in Review: On January 30, NRHT, Inc published a review of progress in 2006 both on the ground and in planning. Developments included:
guidance from the Rails-to-Trails Conservancy
Midwest Office, Coca-Cola North America has
provided a $5,000 grant to NRHT, Inc to help
further the goals of the National Road Heritage
Fall of 2006, the Clark County Trails Coalition
published its first countywide Trails &
Greenways Vision Plan featuring a more than
20-mile cross-county National Road Heritage Trail
connecting to Indiana's NRHT at the state
line. This year-long effort was funded
primarily by the Illinois Dept of Natural
Resources and was performed by Storrow Kinsella
Associates of Indianapolis.
NRHT, Inc Opens Its First Trail Bridge
Six months after beginning construction and just in time to view the Fall colors, NRHT, Inc opened its first trail bridge, the Vandalia Trail trestle over Crittenden Creek in southwest Hendricks County (see photos). In one final push on October 1st, two crews of volunteers installed the entire railing structure along the north side of the bridge in just 6 hours. It took 4 months to design and install the south side railing and 2 months before that to design and install the decking on this 60-foot long, 30-foot high bridge. Within minutes after completion, hikers began taking advantage of this easier and more scenic route across the Crittenden Creek valley.
A bridge dedication event and opening of the trail to rustic bicycling is planned for Saturday October 21 at 1:30 PM.
This trestle conversion was the result of a broad collaboration between a number of organizations and individuals:
Amo-Coatesville Sewer Conservancy board (easement donation)
Indiana Trails Fund (easement management)
Central Indiana Bicycling Association Foundation ($2,000 grant)
Hendricks County Trail Development Association (grant management)
VOLUNTEER TECHNICAL & DESIGN INPUT
Jerry Newburn, PE (initial trestle structure inspection)
VOLUNTEER DESIGN INPUT & LABOR
Governor Announces Plan for State Trails System
Indiana Department of Natural Resources
402 W. Washington St. W255 B
Indianapolis, IN 46204-2748
For immediate release: April 26, 2006
Governor announces plan for state trails system
Indiana to host statewide summit to coordinate planning
Governor Mitch Daniels today announced the state's plan to build a system of trails that will better connect Hoosiers, contribute to the growing ethic of fitness and health, improve quality of life, and for some, provide an alternative means of transportation.
"Right now, we have a unique opportunity in Indiana to use existing corridors, such as abandoned railways, to build a superb trails system. At the same time, we can explore how to use the same system for some of the state's infrastructure needs, such as utilities and telecommunications," said Daniels, who made the announcement at the Vandalia Trail in Plainfield, which eventually will become part of the cross-state National Road Heritage Trail. "This system will play a big factor in economic development, including expanding recreation and tourism, and will offer families and communities more options for health, fitness and socialization."
There are some 3,100 miles of trails in Indiana, and cities, towns, counties and townships across the state are making great strides in providing a wide variety of trails and greenways for Hoosiers, but most of these efforts don't connect with trails that may be in nearby counties or towns.
To get help with honing a state plan, Daniels and Department of Natural Resources Director Kyle Hupfer announced plans for a May 31 Indiana Trails Plan Summit. About 300 trail planners will be invited to participate in the event to better coordinate trails efforts on a statewide basis. This group will assist in the preparation of the statewide trails plan and discuss ways to finance and implement the program.
Following the conference, the plan will be put out for public comment and the DNR will facilitate a series of public meetings to discuss its details.
The plan will look ahead to the next ten years when Indiana is expected to add hundreds of miles of trails which will be used by hikers, bikers, equestrians, joggers, off-road vehicles, snow mobiles and those who simply enjoy a relaxing stroll.
Gov. Daniels issued a directive to DNR to take a leadership role and develop the framework for the trails plan. DNR, the Indiana Department of Transportation, Department of Health, Office of Tourism, and the Indiana Economic Development Corporation worked on the initial draft.
Since the first draft was completed, more then 30 leaders representing trail users, local government, regional development organizations, agriculture and business have provided input as a steering committee to refine the plan and organize the May 31 conference.
"The Governor has shown great leadership on health and recreation issues and a statewide trails plan will put Indiana at the forefront of national greenways development," said Hupfer.
Reporters contact: Kim Brant, DNR Communications, 317-232-4003
Cumberland Pennsy Trail Moving Forward
As of April 2006, the town of Cumberland is completing construction documents for 3 miles of the Cumberland Pennsy Trail. The town plans to acquire 2 miles of trail in Hancock County and 1 mile in Marion County at the end of 2006, or in early 2007. Construction documents include pedestrian bridge plans over the county line and over Buck Creek in Hancock County. The town expects construction to begin in 2007.
NRHT Development Guide Published
On March 14, the design consultant for National Road Heritage Trail, Inc, Storrow Kinsella Associates (SKA), published the 9-volume National Road Heritage Trail Development Guide, documenting the proposed route of a 150-mile multi-use trail across Indiana and providing a blueprint for how to realize this goal on both the local and state levels. This 14-month, $100,000 project was funded primarily by a grant from the Indiana Office of Tourism Development through the Lt. Governor’s Quality of Place Initiative with matching grants from the Efroymson Fund of the Central Indiana Community Foundation, the Greenways Foundation, the Central Indiana Bicycling Association Foundation, the Wabash Valley Community Foundation of Vigo County, and private donations. The Indiana Trails Fund managed the finances of the project.
This comprehensive planning document is now being distributed to state agencies and local governments and citizens’ groups along the entire route. NRHT, Inc encourages all to take advantage of this landmark resource for planning and developing new sections of the trail and connecting with neighboring projects. SKA created a very user-friendly format for this document with one volume giving the Statewide overview and common guidelines and themes followed by separate volumes with very detailed local information for each of the 8 counties involved.
Groups can contact NRHT, Inc to arrange for delivery of a printed copy and CD of all or part of this set or can visit the NRHT web site, www.nrht.org, to view and download PDF files of any of the volumes. NRHT, Inc encourages use of the electronic version to minimize printing and shipping costs.
Health Care Endorsement for NRHT
NRHT, Inc received its first corporate and health care related endorsement this month when the Board of Trustees of the Hancock Regional Hospital in the city of Greenfield voted to sign the NRHT Resolution of Support.
This vote followed a presentation by NRHT, Inc president, Greg Midgley, in October arranged by local contacts in Hancock County. The presentation highlighted the health benefits of trails and the shared goals of the NRHT and Hancock Regional Hospital. Greg also highlighted the proximity of Greenfield's existing 3-mile Pennsy Trail and encouraged the hospital to support the city's planned 1.5-mile extension of that local trail proposed to be part of the NRHT route.
Greenfield's Daily Reporter provided a preview in a story published the day of the presentation. See the article.
Illinois NRHT Momentum Growing
The Clark County Trails Coalition based in Marshall, Illinois has been awarded a $20,000 grant by the Illinois Department of Natural Resources to help develop a countywide trails plan. A key element of that trails network will be a bike path along the right-of-way of the National Road connecting with a Vigo County NRHT at the Indiana state line. This Illinois DNR grant program specifically encouraged organizations to foster inter-state greenways collaborations.
At the same time, Terre Haute's Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology has decided to help Clark and Cumberland counties in Illinois with research and planning for a 38-mile NRHT from the Indiana state line to the town of Greenup, known for its new covered bridge on the Historic National Road. This help will come through a year-long senior engineering conceptual design project to begin in mid September. The students will inventory the ownership of the property along the proposed route, provide design concepts for the trail and trailheads, and estimate development costs.
This collaboration was inspired by the 9-week feasibility study of a 7-mile NRHT connection between Terre Haute and the Illinois state line provided in May by Rose-Hulman freshman engineering students (click here for full story). It also follows a similar year-long Rose-Hulman senior engineering design project completed in May for a trail concept to link Terre Haute to Rockville, Indiana through covered bridge country.
INDOT Approves Greencastle's Campus Link Trail
In late August, INDOT notified People Pathways and the city of Greencastle that it approved changing their Transportation Enhancement (TE) grant project to the new 3.8-mile Campus Link Trail. Part of this new trail route will serve as the NRHT across Greencastle as well as provide a connection from the existing People Pathways Trail east of the city to the Depauw University campus and to the Nature Park on the west side of the city. The combined Campus Link and Fillmore-Greencastle People Pathways trails will provide a continuous 6 miles of the NRHT in Putnam County. Click here to see a map.
The original TE project included a hospital loop trail connected with a trailhead on Veteran's Memorial Highway. Problems with access to a particular piece of property on this route and little support from the hospital led to reassessment of the route, especially in light of the growing endorsements by local organizations and officials to accommodate the NRHT.
NRHT Mid Year Summary
It has been another busy year for the cross-state National Road Heritage Trail initiative. Of the proposed 150 miles of trail, there are now over 40 miles either built or planned by local communities or by NRHT, Inc. and Indiana Trails Fund. Click here for the full summary.
Vandalia Trail Opens in Amo
On June 26, NRHT, Inc officially opened the first phase of the Vandalia Trail between Amo and Coatesville in southwestern Hendricks County. This is the first section of trail created as a result of the cross-state NRHT initiative. This 1.25-mile rustic trail for hiking and horseback riding extends from Pearl Street in Amo west about half way to Coatesville. [NRHT note: Since October 2005, the equestrian trail has been closed for upgrades. NRHT will announce when the trail re-opens to horseback riders.]
The first 0.25 miles is an open-aired, well-manicured section in town. The next mile passes through mature forest and varying terrain ending on the elevated railbed at the trestle 30 feet above Crittenden Creek. A safety fence is in place to prevent access to the trestle until it is upgraded for trail use.
Due to the current rustic nature of this trail, it is important to note that there are no public restrooms, water, or electricity available. There are a couple of nearby businesses in Amo, though, where food, drink, and some supplies can be purchased. Informal parking is available on the gravel lot in front of the restored Interurban Depot on Pearl Street or a block west behind the small white building next to the trail on Railroad Street.
For now, hikers and horseback riders share the trail on the main railroad bed. Work has started, though, to create a separate trail for horseback riders 30-60 feet south of the initial trail. At the edge of town, it begins with a 600 foot long, well-manicured section then enters the forest and will follow the natural terrain for its full length. Other future phases will involve preparing the trestle over Crittenden Creek for hiking and bicycling, preparing the creek bed for an equestrian crossing, clearing both trails for the remainder of the 3.5 miles to and through Coatesville, and upgrading the railroad bed with a smooth surface for bicycling.
So far, volunteer work has been the primary means of progress. Grants will also be requested from various local, state, and national sources to help pay for the more significant construction and on-going maintenance, but volunteers will continue to be very important in the eventual success of this local project. Most of the features of this 3.5-mile trail could be in place in 3-4 years if sufficient financial and volunteer support can be obtained.
County Corridor Purchase
of Trail to Illinois Completed
A design team of Rose-Hulman Institute of
Technology engineering students has completed their
9-week feasibility study of NRHT routes to connect
the city of Terre Haute with a National Road
greenway in Illinois. The final report was
presented to NRHT, Inc on May 18. It was also
presented to Vigo County, Indiana and Clark County,
Illinois trails organizations.
The 4-member team researched possible
bicycle/pedestrian trail routes from the Wabash
River to the Illinois State Line in the area of US
40 and the Historic National Road. The team,
working under the name Yellow Brick Road, uncovered
three possibilities ranging from 6.6 to 9.3 miles in
length. Comparing the relative merits of the
three routes, the team recommended a 6.9-mile route
that consists primarily of an expanded causeway, a
rail-trail section, and separated trails parallel to
original sections of the Historic National Road.
The results of this study will be
referenced in the cross-state
NRHT master plan currently being produced in
cooperation with the Tourism Development Division,
Indiana Department of Commerce through the Lt.
Governor's Quality of Place
Looking Back at NRHT's First Year - by Greg Midgley, president
In 2004, the cross-state National Road Heritage Trail (NRHT) initiative grew from an interesting idea kicked around over pizza in Broad Ripple to a partnership across 8-counties with 51 endorsing organizations, over a half million dollars in new grants, and the beginnings of an inter-state collaboration that could invigorate a similar initiative in Illinois. In appreciation of the much needed help and moral support provided by many individuals and organizations, we would like to highlight some of the key developments of this first year.
First, special recognition is due to the Indiana Trails Fund (ITF). ITF has been an important source of information for the NRHT project, while, even more importantly, working as its established fiscal agent. ITF's foresight in easing the start-up process for new not-for-profit trails activities in Indiana has allowed NRHT, Inc. to work directly on developing and promoting the NRHT concept rather than being distracted with administrative hurdles right away.
Popular multi-use trails in Terre Haute, Greencastle, Plainfield, and Greenfield inspired this NRHT initiative in late 2003 and early 2004. Pennsy Trail plans in Indianapolis and Cumberland provided additional motivation, as did promotion of the idea of countywide greenways networks by Hendricks County parks groups and Henry County health groups.
As a result, we presented the NRHT to local governments, citizens' groups, and property owners across the state, where we received much useful feedback and even some media coverage. Articles mentioning the NRHT were published in the Greencastle Banner-Graphic, the Hendricks County Flyer, the Indianapolis Business Journal, the Knightstown Banner, the New Castle Courier-Times, and the Richmond Palladium-Item. The NRHT was also the subject of an INDOT press release and was mentioned in an Indiana Dept of Commerce press release. More specialized publications provided full articles on the proposed greenway, including quarterly newsletters of Hoosier Rails-to-Trails Council, Indiana National Road Association, and the Indiana Trail Riders Association (equestrian).
Formal endorsements of the NRHT flowed in this year, already leading to its being referenced in one city's parks master plan. A list of the organizations that have formally endorsed the NRHT is maintained on the Supporters page of our web site (www.nrht.org). Following is a breakdown of the current number by statewide organizations and by county:
Following are glimpses of some of the notable events this year:
March-April: Presentations to town councils and to owners of former Vandalia-Pennsylvania- Interurban railroad corridors in western Hendricks and eastern Putnam counties uncovered strong local support for multi-use trails, and good near term potential for a new 8-mile trail to extend the existing 4 miles of People Pathways trails in Greencastle and Fillmore.
May: - Partnered with Indiana National Road
Association (INRA) and Healthy Communities of Henry
June: Presented preview of NRHT concept to 18 government officials, trails advocates, and bicycling enthusiasts from 6 of the 8 counties along the route. Found broad support for the concept as part of a statewide greenways network.
July: Town of Amo (Hendricks County) held groundbreaking ceremony for restoration of its historic Interurban railway station. It is positioned well to be a destination on the NRHT.
August: - Indy Greenways encouraged I-465
Interstate designers to provide an underpass for the
NRHT/Vandalia Rail-Trail in the highway redesign
near the airport.
September: - Terre Haute, Plainfield, &
Irvington received INDOT grants for projects that
could benefit NRHT.
October: - NRHT/ITF awarded $75,000 grant
from Indiana Dept of Commerce, Office of Tourism to
develop a master plan. Began raising $25,000 local
November: - Lewellen vs. Conrail corridor
ownership lawsuit tentatively settled, potentially
clearing up ownership information on the entire
former Pennsylvania Railroad corridor. In some areas
this helps NRHT, in other areas it may complicate
December: - Brazil City Council approved
the city's first 5-year parks master plan. Clay
Community Parks Association and Brazil Parks Board
developed the plan and included a goal of future
accommodation of the NRHT. This is the first formal
master plan document in the state that references
this cross-state NRHT initiative.
NRHT Receives Two Major Grants, Endorsements from 41 Organizations
From Greg Midgley, President of NRHT
Dear Friends of the National Road Heritage Trail:
During the past week, the cross-state National Road Heritage Trail (NRHT) for bicyclists, pedestrians, and horseback riders took a big step forward with the award of two important grants and with the receipt of good news on a new corridor section.
On Tuesday, the Indiana Dept of Transportation announced the award of a $450,000 Transportation Enhancement grant to Healthy Communities of Henry County, a key NRHT partner, to help purchase 10-20 miles of the abandoned railroad corridor along the National Road (US 40) in Henry County. This grant is an important step towards development of the NRHT between Greenfield's Pennsy Trail and Richmond's Cardinal Greenway. 20% of the total purchase expenses will be raised as local match by Healthy Communities and NRHT, Inc.
On Thursday, the Indiana Dept of Commerce announced the award of a $75,000 "Quality of Place Initiative" grant to the Indiana Trails Fund to create a "blueprint" of the 150-mile NRHT in 2005. This grant will help fund professional research on ownership and physical condition of the entire corridor and conceptual designs of key sections of the trail and trailheads. 25% of the total study expenses will be raised as local match by NRHT, Inc. with the help of its partners across the eight counties of Indiana's National Road and Pennsylvania railroad corridors. Part of this local match has already been committed.
On Saturday, inspection of the 3-mile Vandalia corridor (part of NRHT) from Amo to Coatesville showed that it is ready for near term trail development. The trail can easily be routed around the structure built near the midpoint, an impressive trestle bridge is intact and fully functional over the creek in this section, and the rail bed still contains the original ballast. The corridor owner and the town councils have endorsed the trail, easing the way to Vandalia Rail-Trail development. In addition, the town of Amo's restoration of its historic interurban railway station is progressing well, preparing the area to be a classic trailhead.
Many other communities along the NRHT route
are proceeding with development of local greenway
trails that can also serve as part of the NRHT.
Most of these are among the 41 endorsements received by NRHT since March from government and citizens' organizations who desire to be connected by this cross-state greenway. With this broad support and these new grants, the NRHT initiative is now entering a very exciting phase, full of opportunities. In response, the NRHT board has decided to expand its formal organization, inviting all who have an interest at the state, county, or local level to participate on the board, on one of many committees, or through financial support.
There are many ways in which Hoosiers can help move this dream forward at the rapid pace seen so far. From talking with folks about the fun, fitness, and adventure of having a multi-use trail nearby, to sorting out real estate legal issues, to coming up with creative financing ideas for construction or maintenance, to brainstorming trail design ideas, and on and on. If it's related to greenways or trails, you'll find it on the NRHT today in one stage or another.
We know that many of you are already hard
at work developing wonderful local greenways along
the NRHT route as well as others. For those of you
who have some time to help with this initiative to
connect them or to begin new local efforts, please
contact us to join in. Also, please feel free to
pass this update on to others who may be interested
in helping move this epic Hoosier greenway forward.
We'll always be glad to keep you informed, too.
Courtesy of Hoosier Rails-to-Trails Council
The Indianapolis Metropolitan Planning Organization (MPO) endorsed the addition of a fifth spoke to central Indiana's planned greenway trail network in September, the cross-state National Road Heritage Trail (NRHT) and its Marion County component, the Vandalia Rail-Trail. The Vandalia will join the four other major non-motorized trail corridors endorsed by MPO in the area: the north side Monon trail corridor, the northeast side Fall Creek/Interurban trail corridor, the east side Pennsy trail corridor, and the west side B&O trail corridor. The Vandalia Rail-Trail concept, which is also under consideration by Indy Greenways, would provide a connection to the southwest with the expanding Indianapolis International Airport and the town of Plainfield.
From downtown, at the historic former National Road / Washington Street bridge between the Indianapolis Zoo and White River State Park, the National Road Heritage Trail is proposed to follow one of several possible routes west, joining the new Vandalia Rail-Trail at or east of the Eagle Creek Trail, then following the Vandalia Rail-Trail west through a redesigned I-465 underpass, under INDOT review, sharing greenspace preserved by active rail for some of the route. The total length of the Vandalia Rail-Trail in Marion County would be 6-8 miles, with several more miles in eastern Hendricks County joining the town of Plainfield's partially open Vandalia Rail-Trail.
West of Plainfield, discussions are on-going to extend the Vandalia Rail-Trail along much of the alignment of the former Vandalia rail corridor, continuing another 18 miles to the towns of Cartersburg, Clayton, Coatesville, Amo and finally to Fillmore, and joining the existing People Pathways trail which continues to Greencastle. The entire 35-mile trail is intended to become a section of the proposed cross-state National Road Heritage Trail, ultimately stretching 150 miles from Terre Haute to Richmond.
"The MPO endorsement is a very important
step for our whole initiative," noted Greg Midgley,
president of NRHT, Inc., which is actively
supporting the Vandalia Rail-Trail and the entire
NRHT. "Along with their previous commitment to the
Pennsy Trail, it supports the key role that
Indianapolis needs to play to make the cross-state
trail work. It's a critical and exciting component
of the NRHT."
National Road Heritage Trail, Inc. Introduced - June 8
On June 8th at the Historic Landmarks Foundation headquarters in Indianapolis, a team of trail and history enthusiasts provided a preview of Indiana's first cross-state greenway and a new not-for-profit corporation. The organization's key founders include Hoosier Rails-to-Trails directors Greg Midgley and Kevin Heber, Healthy Communities of Henry County director Jeff Ray, and Indiana National Road Association Executive director Joe Jarzen.
The NRHT, Inc. will join a long list of not-for-profit trail organizations in Indiana, including Rail Corridor Development, which supports the B&O Trail; the Nickel Plate Trail, Inc. based in Miami County; Delaware Greenways, which supports trails in and around Muncie; the Wabash & Erie Canal Association's Delphi Historic Trails in Carroll County; Friends of the Pumpkinvine Trail in Elkhart and Lagrange Counties; Aboite New Trails in Fort Wayne, and many others.