Black-Eyed Susan along the Pumpkinvine Nature Trail

Black-Eyed Susan along the Pumpkinvine Nature Trail

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Work in Middlebury

Work on the section of the Pumpkinvine between Wayne St. and U.S. 20 has actually begun with the clearing of trees near Sunrise Lane.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Let's help maintain the Pumpkinvine

If you’ve ridden the Pumpkinvine Nature Trail recently, you know how much our community has embraced this linear park. Riders, walkers and joggers of all ages are using the trail for recreation and commuting to work.
Meanwhile, the trail continues grow. In June, your support of the Friends made it possible for us to help fund construction of 1.4 miles of trail between County Road 35 and County Road 37. Last fall the City of Goshen connected the Pumpkinvine to the Maple City Greenway that goes to Elkhart and built another spur to County Road 36 near the Elkhart County fairgrounds. The remaining funded sections of the trail should be finished next summer. The heavy use, a new section completed, a new spur, a link to Elkhart, and coming construction are all reason to celebrate. We thank you for your generous support that has made it all possible.
Cracks in the Pumpkinvine east of CR 127
At the same time, you may have seen major cracks in the trail surface east of County Road 127. These cracks are a reminder of the fact that keeping the trail in good condition is going to take regular maintenance.
That’s where you can help. The Friends have made helping with trail maintenance a priority. The four trail-managing agencies – Goshen Parks, Elkhart County Parks, the town of Middlebury and the town of Shipshewana – are all dealing with less revenue from taxes and increased competition for funds among many worthy projects.
Now, however, we have a funding mechanism. Beginning in 2013, the Friends will support the maintenance budget of these four public agencies in proportion to the number of miles of trail they have to maintain. The agreement is in the form of a Memo of Understanding. Our level of support will depend on the amount of support we receive from trail users, corporate sponsors and the annual Pumpkinvine Bike Ride.
What does it cost to keep a trail like the Pumpkinvine in good shape? According to the Rails-to-Trails Conservancy, the cost of maintaining a multi-use trail is between $1,500 and $2,000 per mile per year. Since the Pumpkinvine Nature Trail is 16 miles long, maintenance will cost between $24,000 and $32,000 per year.
Here are a few of the items in a typical trail-maintenance budget:  pothole repair, mowing, leaf and fallen tree removal , vandalism repair, tree pruning, parking area maintenance, bench and table repair, emptying trash cans, monitoring trail activity, updating information on kiosks, planting flowers, removing litter, and bridge inspection and repair. Pruning trees isn’t as glamorous as laying asphalt or decking a bridge, but it’s a necessary part of keeping the trail useable, safe and attractive.
Please join us in our effort to keep the Pumpkinvine Nature Trail in top condition. You can donate online at Look for the “Donate” button on the left side of the home page. You can also donate to:
Friends of the Pumpkinvine
P.O. Box 392
Goshen, IN 46527-0392
Your gift will make it possible to keep the trail a first-class greenway. 

John D. Yoder
Friends of the Pumpkinvine Nature Trail, Inc.

Monday, December 10, 2012

The December Friends of the Pumpkinvine newsletter is online: Pumpkinvine Trail Talk, Dec. 2012

Monday, November 26, 2012

Mike Sutter is the new Shipshewana Town Manager

It was a pleasure to meet the new Shipshewana town manager, Mike Sutter, today at the monthly Pumpkinvine Advisory Committee meeting in Middlebury.

Sutter comes to the town-manager job with a wealth of administrative experience. He served on the Sturgis, Michigan City Commission for eight years, the Board of Commissioners for St. Joseph (Mich.) County for eight years, and the St. Joseph (Mich.) County road commission for several years.  He also was county administrator in two Michigan counties -- Sanilac County in the thumb of Michigan for 13 months and Wexford County, where Cadillac is the county seat, for three years.
            Other work experience includes being owner, president and CEO of Michiana laminated products in Howe. Sutter had retired from that position before taking the town-manager position.
He began the new job on Nov. 12.
            “Shipshewana is an incredibly vibrant community,” he said. “To watch and observe what is happening in this community impresses me every day.”
One of his priorities is to connect the Pumpkinvine Nature Trail from where it ends at 850W to the town center.

Pumpkinvine flash back

Five years ago – Dec. 2007
Pumpkinvine receives grants for $1.82 million: $517,530 supplemental grant for Shipshewana to Elkhart Co. line; $300, 854 supplemental grant for Middlebury to LaGrange Co. line; $999,489 for Wayne St. to U.S. 20 in Middlebury.

10 years ago – Dec. 2002
·         Middlebury awarded $150,000 grant for .65 miles of trail between Wayne St. and York Dr.
·         Jim Smith joins Friends board.

15 years ago – Dec. 1997
·         The Elkhart County Board of Zoning Appeals granted the City of Goshen a special use permit to develop a linear park and trail along the Pumpkinvine corridor between State Road 4 and County Road 28.
·         A cumulative gift of $500 will get founder’s name engraved on a plaque to be located on the trail.

20 years ago – Dec. 1992
·         On Dec. 5 the Friends of the Pumpkinvine Steering Committee approved a constitution and bylaws. Committee members are: Larry Beachy, Linda Clark, Karen Fergison, Quinn Holdeman, Jr., William Hostetler, Galen Kauffmann, Norm Kauffmann, Joe Lehman, Lowell Miller, Chet Peachey, Sharol Raber, and John Yoder.
·         Penn Central is doing an appraisal of the Pumpkinvine to determine an asking price.

Monday, November 19, 2012

A blast from the past

At the Dairy Queen today, I met a Paul Mishler who was at one of the information meetings we had about the proposed Pumpkinvine Nature Trail in Shipshewana 20 years ago, and he said he remembers one gentleman at the meeting be very much against the trail.  I said, "One! I don't remember any being for it."  He agreed. Paul and Dan Unternahrer were out on the trail enjoying the warm November day.

Monday, October 22, 2012

Late October along the Pumpkinvine

I've been out of town most of the last three weeks, and as a result, I missed the early fall colors of the trees along the Pumpkinvine. So today I was hoping that there would still be a few areas of color, and if not, I would just enjoy a peaceful ride.

I started at Abshire Park around 10 a.m. Earlier in the morning, the sun had been shining, and I regretted that I had started mid-morning because by the time I got to the trail, the sky was overcast making for very muted colors. Still, between SR 4 and CR 28, where trees had perhaps 20 percent of their leaves, there were moments of yellow and red, like accents in an otherwise unremarkable landscape.

The Pumpkinvine is not unique among rail-to-trails projects in having trees along both sides, but I've observed that other railroads, like Norfolk Southern through Goshen, are not tree lined. I'm not sure what makes them that way, but I'm just grateful that whoever was responsible for the care of the Pumpkinvine corridor when it was a railroad was either too busy or didn't care about cutting back the trees, and as a result we can enjoy their colors every fall.

Although the section between CR 28 and CR 127 wasn't as colorful, it had its moments also.

After exiting the woods east of CR 127, I entered the area where the trail diverts from the old railroad bed and goes around farm fields. The farmers had harvested the corn and beans, giving the fields a uniform color of brown and green, like a checker board.

As was the case in past years, the section west of CR 33 had the most color. The sky was still overcast when I went on to CR 35, but when I returned there was enough sun to bring out the yellow color.

 What I like about these photos are the way the black of the trees contrasts with the yellow of the leaves. 

I also saw the Elkhart Count Parks staff in a truck as they were blowing leaves off the trail. The truck was pulling a leaf blower and driving very slowly.

Monday, August 27, 2012

5 reason to cycle

Here's an interesting article on one person's commitment to cycling: .5 reasons why my bike is my main transportation

Request for a Pumpkinvine jersey

Today I was on my bike waiting for the stop light at College and U.S. 33  (wearing my PV jersey). As usual, I straddle the white line between the left-turn and straight-ahead and right-turn lanes on College so cars can come beside me and turn right on red. A car came up beside me, and the man rolled down his window and said, “I’d like a jersey like that.”  I said, “We’ll be selling them at the bike shops, soon.”  We need to keep our distribution plan moving for putting the jerseys in the area bike shops. It should be happening, soon. 

Sunday, August 26, 2012

What do people like about the trail?

On August 28, I'm scheduled to give a program for the noon Kiwanis in Goshen. I've given two presentation to the Elkhart Optimists in the past month, so the framework will be the same. However, instead of talking about who uses the trail, I'm going to change that section to why people like the trail. Here are the main reasons:

  1. It's safe. Numerous people have told me how much they enjoy biking when they don't have to worry about sharing the road with cars because they don't trust the drivers to see them and respect them. Who can argue with the fact that we've had three cyclist deaths in Elkhart County this year. A neighbor of mine refuses to ride on the road. She loads her bicycle into the back of her car and drives to Abshire Park to ride the trail. Other adults who ride on the road have children or grandchildren who are too young to do so. When I ride with my grandson, who is five, we ride the trail. Ironic, isn't it, that today people praise the safety of the trail that opponents said would a magnet for crime, drugs and vandalism.
  2. It's flat. Railroads were built with a grade of two percent or less. For that reason, their abandoned roadbed makes an ideal place for most riding. I know that some cyclists like the challenge of hills. Fine, enjoy them all you want. Most people enjoy flat lands. The Pumpkinvine, built for the most part on an old railroad bed, is flat. How flat is it? The verticle rise between Middlebury and Shipshewana is about 60 feet over about six miles, or 10 feet per mile. That's flat.
  3. It's cool.  Where we were able to put the trail on the old Pumpkinvine right of way, it's tree lined and shady. On the hottest days this year, it would feel 10 degrees cooling riding in the shade compared to riding in the sun. ___ Percent of the trail is tree lined. The trees also provide a windbreak on windy days.
  4. It's interesting. You see all ages of people walking and riding, a variety of bicycles and riding styles. You also see wildflowers, wild turkeys, deer, birds, dogs and a variety of farm animals -- horses, cattle, sheep and at CR 1150W -- camels. You see 19th century farming with horses, like a spread out version of Conner Prairie. Soon there will be buffalo west of CR 37.
Those are the main reasons people like the Pumpkinvine. 

Monday, July 9, 2012

Bike ride statistics through the years

PV Bike ride statistics



Percent change