September 2023

Greencastle-Fillmore Trail Enters 25th Year

One of the early trails in western Indiana, People Pathways' Greencastle-Fillmore Trail marks 25 years in service this year. It opened as a local packed-stone trail in 1998 connecting 2 communities, but was also meant to be an example and inspiration to others to connect on a larger scale. Many of its early users were Greencastle residents who enjoyed taking the active mode of transporation on the off-street route the 3-miles to enjoy a tasty meal and pie at Bert & Betty's Kitchen in Fillmore. It eventually helped inspire the larger Vandalia Trail, of which it forms the westernmost section, and the cross-state National Road Heritage Trail initiative.

Joy Marley and the early People Pathways volunteer committee had a vision for how this connection could benefit their communities and Putnam County and were able to share that vision and nuture their local relationships for a creative implementation in a time when trails were not a well-known amenity. Along with their many years of volunteer hard work and financial support from local organizations, such as the Putnam County Community Foundation, they were able to keep it maintained and upgrade key sections to make it more sustainable and eventually expand it east to connect with Hendricks County's Vandalia Trail. In recent years, additional important financial support from Greencastle and Putnam County further improved People Pathways' ability to manage it for its growing popularity among local and visiting trail users.

Now, with the expanded local association of support groups called Putnam Parks & Pathways, the County's newly formed Parks Board, and the help of a grant from the State, the portion of the original Greencastle-Fillmore Trail outside of city limits and the rest of the Vandalia Trail in Putnam County have been transferred to the County Commissioners giving it even stronger footing for a long future.

Other sections of the Vandalia Trail later initially opened to the public in 2003 in the town of Plainfield and in 2005 in the town of Amo.