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Friday, May 6, 2016

People Pathways moving forward with NRHT

Friday, May 29, 2009

Area 30 students began clearing the newest People Pathways from Deer Meadow to Albin Pond in March.
Step by step, the National Road Heritage Trail (NRHT) is stretching across America providing a living tribute to the road that made westward settlement possible.

Hendricks County Parks and Recreation has partnered with the Hendricks County Trail Association to maintain the three-mile Vandalia Trail that connects Amo to Coatesville and in the future, extend the trail across the county.

In Putnam County our own People Pathways is continuing to move forward as well. It will eventually meet with the Coatesville to Amo trail making Pathways part of the NRHT.

Once the Fillmore/Coatesville trail is completed it will become part of a 150-mile, cross-state, multipurpose trail running from Richmond to Terre Haute that includes the People Pathways in Putnam County.

Joy Marley with People Pathways and Greg Midgley with NRHT appeared at several Town Council meetings in Fillmore to talk about the advantages of the trail.

"The benefit to the trail," Midgley told the board, "is the ability to bicycle on an unbroken string of paths through communities and rural areas that are formed by a historic transportation corridor."

"It will help enhance Indiana as a recreational tourism destination and bring the economic benefits that accompany an extended bicycle and equestrian trails network. It enhances the sense of community with the intimate pace of trail travel. And, it helps attract and retain an energetic workforce in the state," he added.

The town councils of Plainfield, Clayton, Amo, and Coatesville have endorsed a greenways connection along this corridor in their areas.

This proposed NRHT is a continuous system of multi-use trails built along or near the former Pennsylvania, Vandalia and electric interurban railway corridors from Terre Haute to Indianapolis to Richmond.

It will closely follow the Historic National Road and U.S. 40 for much of its route.

Across Indiana, the trail would wind from Terre Haute to Brazil to Greencastle, Fillmore to Coatesville-Amo, Plainfield to the Pleasant Run Trail in Indianapolis to Cumberland and Greenfield, Henry County and Richmond.

It will connect a number of local trails like People Pathways and form a scenic alternative route for pedestrians, bicyclists and horseback riders separated from motorized vehicles.

Hendricks County was awarded a $665,238 grant from the Indiana Department of Transportation (INDOT) last November to further develop NRHT in Hendricks County.

In Plainfield, the trail has been developed into a paved, multi-use, non-motorized recreation trail. An additional three miles of natural surface trail exists between Amo and Coatesville with a parallel trail for equestrian riders. For the past two years, Hendricks County Parks have worked in partnership with the Indiana Trails Fund improving and maintaining that portion of the trail.

Plainfield has plans to extend their trail to meet with the Amo trail at Cartersburg Road providing great connectivity for trail users.

Recently, Putnam County Area 30 construction equipment operation students began the arduous task of clearing the five-mile former Vandalia Railroad corridor between Fillmore and Coatesville. This segment will connect on the west end to the existing People Pathways Fillmore/Greencastle Trail and make a "key" connection to the future Campus Link Trail, Phase IV of the City of Greencastle's network of multi-use trails.

NRHT is studying ways to route the trail to the southwest to rejoin the National Road by way of the scenic Big Walnut Creek area with initial local contacts made in the Reelsville and the Limedale areas. Features on this trail would include DePauw University, new Ivy Tech Campus, the DePauw University Nature Park, Big Walnut Creek and Robe Ann Park.

"This trail will be a great pathway for hikers, bikers, and horse riders to travel between our communities in a safe and enjoyable way," said Midgley.

Within the City of Greencastle, Putnam County Area 30 construction equipment operation students also helped with preliminary clearing of the Deer Meadow to Albin Pond section of the People Pathways trail in March to comply with laws protecting Indiana's brown bat population. Bidding for construction of the Albin Pond Trail project will be in September.

This leg of the Pathways is being paid for with an Indiana Department of Transportation (INDOT) Transportation Enhancement Award received in Sept. 2001 and a Safe Routes to school Grant given to the city in Nov. 2006.

The rest of the money comes from the city in the form of grants allocated through Economic Development Tax Dollars, grants from the Putnam Community Foundation, in kind donations of land and donations from individuals.

This section of the pathway should be completed by early spring next year.

For information about the People Pathways call the City of Greencastle, the Putnam County Economic Development Center, the Putnam County Community Foundation or the Greencastle Chamber of Commerce. Information is also available at www.cityofgreencastle.com under the main menu for People Pathways. Information about NRHT can be accessed at www.indianatrails.org/NRHT.

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This is an awesome addition to the community, however, I have been sorely disappointed in the implementation of the path specifically the Deer Meadow to Albin Pond Road stretch. This goes directly behind our backyard and due to the tight time constraints the organization put itself under, and using inexperienced "foresters" thru Area 30, they have severely damaged the area of the path. They literally plowed right through the woods with bulldozers and backhoes, ripping out numerous trees that were not even in the vicinity of the path and destroying others by hitting them with the machinery or with other trees knocking them over. In addition, they piled up much of the debris in a creek that runs along our property, clogging it up and allowing for the mosquitos to become worse than they have ever been. As for rushing this job through by April 1 so as not to disturb the bats, too late. They're gone from our yard and if the lack of seeing them is not proof enough, the overabundance of mosquitos helps to hammer home the fact. If I was not descended from dozens of professional loggers who would be rolling over in their grave at the hackjob that has been performed in our backyard, I probably wouldn't realize what a disgrace this has been. Considering this is suppose to be a scenic alternative and eco-tourism draw, you would think those in charge would consider the environment they are supposedly trying to enhance for our recreational pleasure, instead of wrecking it.

-- Posted by snowboardermom on Mon, Jun 1, 2009, at 9:30 AM

To supplement my previous post - I am not at all critical of the Area 30 students. I think it is great they were recruited to do this job. I think its disappointing that they were not given more time and better direction so they could have done the job they were, with out a doubt, capable of doing. They had the opportunity to learn so much from this experience, but I'm afraid they were only shown how to create the worst-case scenario. Those students deserved better.

-- Posted by snowboardermom on Mon, Jun 1, 2009, at 9:37 AM

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