Black-Eyed Susan along the Pumpkinvine Nature Trail

Black-Eyed Susan along the Pumpkinvine Nature Trail

Saturday, November 23, 2013

Table Talk

The latest Pumpkinvine newsletter is online: Pumpkinvine Trail Talk

Elkhart Truth article on Sept. 5 fatal accident

Another article about the accident on the Pumpkinvine in September:  Elkhart Truth

Friday, November 22, 2013

The November Pumpkinvine Newsletter is online:  Pumpkinvine Trail Talk

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Remarks at the ribbon cutting ceremony for three new sections of the Pumpkinvine Nature Trail

A generous community built this trail
Middlebury, Ind.
Oct. 9, 2013

It’s an honor to represent the Friends of the Pumpkinvine at this ribbon cutting. Our volunteer organization has championed the rails-to-trails concept for this old corridor for over 20 years, and I’m thrilled today to see two more sections officially opened. It was 20 years ago, October 1993, that we signed a purchase agreement with Penn Central to buy the Pumpkinvine corridor, and the closing was in December of that year. When funding for the corridor was in place, we donated the land to the appropriate public agency.
Between the purchase and donation, we were busy. There were title searches of every corridor parcel, petitions and resolutions of support, letter-writing campaigns to public officials, creation of a website, fundraising letters and dinners, consultations with trail experts, visits to dozens of trails, travel to rails-to-trails conferences, walks with supporters to show off the corridor, news releases, 60 newsletters, a dozen brochures, eight lawsuits, three meditations, two additional purchases of land, and numerous negotiations for fencing.
Given all the hurdles in this 20-year marathon, what sustained the vision to recycle an old railroad corridor into a linear park? Many factors were involved, but the key was the generosity of people in Goshen, Middlebury and Shipshewana. We discovered huge numbers of people who believed that recycling an abandoned railroad into shared public space would improve the communities’ quality of life. Rails-to-trails isn’t just about creating a place for a few bicyclists, joggers, dog walkers or roller bladders to enjoy; it’s about creating shared public space where people can interact on a human scale, where it’s possible to talk to friends as you ride, walk as a family in nature and ride to work off road.
I can illustrate that community generosity with one story. South of Sunrise Lane is a section of the old corridor where the railroad received the land as an easement. That meant that the land reverted to the adjacent landowners when the railroad abandoned service.  Consequently, there was a gap in our ownership of the corridor, too, when we purchased it. But, fortunately for all of us, one family owned all the land on the west side of the Pumpkinvine in the easement area, and they had a vision for the possibilities of a linear park on the Pumpkinvine corridor. They were Ike and Mary Heign. Sometime after Ike’s untimely death, we approached Mary and her family about buying their half of the corridor, and they said yes. What a gift to the community! Without that section, the trail stops and Sunrise Lane; there is no link to U.S 20 on the old corridor.
Someday soon there will be recognition of their vision on the trail in a section named for Ike Heign. To me, they are true heroes of the day.

            I wish there were time to tell more stories about how generous this community has been with this project, but just let me say of our supporters, on behalf of the Friends’ board, thank you for the many ways you have enabled the creation of this trail. Thank you for your gifts of time, talent, money, and words of encouragement. You are the generous community that has created an awesome linear park. 

Photos of the ribbon cutting are at:  Ribbon cutting

Elkhart Truth article on accident of Sept. 5

This article spells out some of the circumstances of the accident:  Elkhart Truth article

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Video on Goshen commons

Here's a link to the video on the trail I did a few weeks ago for the video class at Goshen College. It is posted on Goshen Common website:  Goshen Commons

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Cyclist kills crossing CR 127

We received word this morning that the cyclist hit by an SUV last week while crossing CR 127 on the Pumpkinvine Nature Trail has died. Here's the story:WNDU website.  Note that the article mistakenly calls CR 28 CR 128.

This road crossing is probably the most dangerous on the Pumpkinvine. Cars routinely speed over the hill north of the crossing and just as routinely bikers don't stop or slow down to look to see if cars are coming at that intersection. The speeding cars have little time to slow down if a biker happens to be crossing the road as they speed down the hill.

The Friends of the Pumpkinvine wrote and received a grant in May to place signs on the road warning motorists of a trail crossing, but problems with the county sign-making process has delayed getting the signs up. The signs have come to late for Dale Ewers, 38.


Monday, July 29, 2013

Middlebury trail construction update

The area around the DQ is now rideable, but it's not finished.

The area between U.S. 20 and Wayne St. is scheduled to be open Aug. 1. It will be fall before the seeding and planting is done in this area.

Friday, July 5, 2013

Photos of bike ride from Paul Meyer Reimer

More photos of the Pumpkinvine Bike Ride from Paul Meyer Reimer: Pumpkinvine Bike Ride

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Sunday, June 16, 2013

Elkhart Truth had a nice article on the ride in today's paper.  I think the predicted rain had some impact on the day-of-ride registration. But except for he late afternoon showers, it was a cool and pleasant day.


Friday, May 31, 2013

Ten ways to observe National Trails Day, June 1, 2013

Tomorrow is National Trails Day, a designation promoted by the American Hiking Society. Here are 10 ways to show your support of trails tomorrow.

  1. Walk or ride on your favorite trail.
  2. Try a new one trail with a different bike.
  3. If you normally walk on your favorite trail, try biking. If you normally bike, try walking. You'll see the trail at a different pace and perhaps in a new way.
  4. Organize a group to ride a trail together. End up at an ice cream shop.
  5. Contribute to a local trails group, e.g., Friends of the Pumpkinvine
  6. Post photos of the trail on Google Earth. (The photo can't contain recognizable people.)
  7. Pick up litter along a trail.
  8. Join a national trails group like Rails-to-Trail Conservancy or American Hiking Society.
  9. Write an email or letter of thanks to the managers of local trails. For the Pumpkinvine, that list would be:
  10. Volunteer to help with a trail event like the Pumpkinvine Bike Ride.

Monday, March 11, 2013

Construction will close Pumpkinvine between State Road 13 and CR 43



Trail could be closed several months

Construction on a new section of the Pumpkinvine Nature Trail between York Dr. and the end of the current trail east of the Dairy Queen in Middlebury will require the trail to be closed from State Road 13 to County Road 43. Construction could begin in the next two weeks, and is scheduled to be finished by the end of May 2013.

“The closing is necessary because trail construction is happening at the same time State Road 13 will be resurfaced from the Dairy Queen to State Road 4, making it impossible to have trail traffic exit onto State Road 13 at the Dairy Queen,” according to Scott Van Ommeran, superintendent of Elkhart County Parks.

The decision to close the trail was made by the three organizations responsible for the construction:  Elkhart County Parks (the managing agency), Indiana Department of Transportation (the funding agency) and Walsh and Kelly (the construction firm).

“We do not want people continuing west past County Road 43 and getting to the end of the trail with nowhere to go,” Van Ommeran said.  “The liability of allowing people to blaze their own trail through the construction zone or across private property is too high. After discussion of alternatives to closing the trail, Elkhart County Parks, INDOT and Walsh and Kelly agreed that they could not provide temporary access across private property in order to keep the trail open during construction.”

Trail users are advised to be patient with the inconvenience because the end result will be a great addition to the Pumpkinvine Nature Trail. The suggested routes for trail users coming from the east is to turn north on CR 43 and use CR 14 to reach State Road 13.


Monday, March 4, 2013

Video of 2012 Pumpkinvine Bike Ride

Matt Lind has produced a short video of the 2012 Pumpkinvine Bike Ride.  Thanks, Matt!

2012 Pumpkinvine Bike Ride

Thursday, February 28, 2013