April 2006

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