Black-Eyed Susan along the Pumpkinvine Nature Trail

Black-Eyed Susan along the Pumpkinvine Nature Trail

Saturday, December 27, 2014

Friends of the Pumpkinvine receive grant from community foundation

Earlier this month, we learned that the board of directors of the Elkhart County Community Foundation has awarded the Friends of the Pumpkinvine a two-year, $300,000 challenge­ grant to close the gap in the Pumpkinvine Nature Trail between County Road 33 and County Road 20. The “challenge” part of the grant means that the foundation will match funds that the Friends of the Pumpkinvine raise over the next two years dollar for dollar up to $300,000.

This grant is a wonderful affirmation of the contribution the Pumpkinvine Nature Trail has made to this community and the desire of the foundation to see the trail extended in this area. Closing gaps in the trail is the Friends’ top priority and was the subject of our fall fund appeal.

The Friends of the Pumpkinvine have been in discussion with the landowners in this section for two years and together with them have outlined a tentative route for the trail through this section. The Friends also commissioned an estimate of what building a trail in this section would cost and used that estimate in the grant application to the Elkhart County Community Foundation.

The Friends of the Pumpkinvine board would like to thank you, our loyal supporters, for all you have contributed toward the creation of the Pumpkinvine Nature Trail, a level of support that has made the trail into a community asset the foundation want to see finished, too.

We will keep you informed through our newsletter, website and Facebook page about how you can help with the local match. To make an immediate donation, send a check to: Friends of the Pumpkinvine, PO Box 392, Goshen, IN 46527-0392. Or you can donate online at:

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

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Help beautify the Pumpkinvine by removing invasive species

You are invited to join other Friends of the Pumpkinvine Nature Trail in removing invasive shrubs, such as Multiflora Rose and Bush Honeysuckle, in the forested region, near mile-marker 4.5, west of where the trail meets CR 33. The removal is schedule from 9 a.m. to noon on Saturday, December 13.
Meet at Abshire Park at 9 a.m. to car pool. If you prefer to ride your bike, plan to meet the others near County Road 33 at 9:15 a.m. If you have a spade and/or loppers, please bring those and dress warmly.
If you can help, contact Bob Carrico at or 574-266-1362. Please give your phone number or e-mail so we can contact you if we have to reschedule in the event of inclement weather.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Talk to eighth graders

On Oct. 15, I spoke to two eighth-grade classes at Pierre Moran Middle School in Elkhart about the Friends of the Pumpkinvine. The classes were Business/Marketing and Youth Philanthropy. The teacher, Emily Davidson, has invited 10 area non-profit organizations to address the class to explain what their organization does and how they raise money. After hearing from the 10 non-profits, the class will decide which organization they would like to help with marketing and offer them their services.

I began each class by asking the students how many had heard of the Pumpkinvine Nature Trail and how many had ridden on it. It surprised me that out of 37 student, only five or six had heard of the Pumpkinvine and three or four had ridden on it.

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Friends of the Pumpkinvine 2914 Photo Contest

The Friends of the Pumpkinvine are sponsoring a photo contest to highlight the beauty of the Pumpkinvine Nature Trail. Here are the contest rules:

  1. Theme:  The colorful Pumpkinvine Nature Trail.
  2. Entries must be submitted by sending them as attachments to by December 31, 2014.
  3. Each entrant may submit up to three images. Submission of more than three images will disqualify all entries. Indicating your name, and home address in the body of the e-mail. We will use this e-mail address to notify you if your photo is selected as one of the winning photographs.
  4. Entries must be submitted by the original photographer. Do not submit a photo taken by someone else. You must be the sole owner of the copyright of any image submitted. Your submission of the photo is your guarantee that you are the author and copyright holder of the photo.
  5. No photographer identification may appear on the image.
  6. All submissions must be made from images taken on the Pumpkinvine Nature Trail in 2014. The trail must be recognizable in the photo. Photos of small objects like individual flowers, for example, will not be eligible. 
  7. If people in the photograph are recognizable, you must provide name and phone number or email for each one.
  8. Photos must be taken with a camera with ample megapixels and resolution for printing. No phone photos accepted.    
  9. Prizes: 1st - $100; 2nd -$75; 3rd - $50; 4th. $25  
  10. Judging will be by the Goshen Photographer’s Guild.
  11. The winning photographers will be notified next January. Their photos will be published in the March issue of Pumpkinvine Trail Talk, may be displayed at the next year's Friends of the Pumpkinvine brochure, Pumpkinvine Bike Ride brochure and at other appropriate locations, including the Friends of the Pumpkinvine website, and blog
  12. By entering the Contest, all entrants grant an irrevocable, perpetual, non-exclusive license to the Friends of the Pumpkinvine Nature Trail, Inc., to reproduce, distribute, display and create derivative works of the entries in any media now or hereafter known.

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Pumpkinvine Advisory Committee

Once a month, representatives from Goshen Park and Recreation, Middlebury, Shipshewana, Elkhart County Parks and the Friends of the Pumpkinvine meet to discuss issues related to the Pumpkinvine Nature Trail. The group is called the Pumpkinvine Advisory Committee (PAC), and its purpose is to foster cooperation and consistent policies among the four government agencies that manage the Pumpkinvine Nature Trail. With so much cynicism around about government, it's refreshing to  participate in meetings where government officials listen, make good decisions, and in general are responsible public servants.

The group makes decisions by consensus and most of those decisions don't require approval from the boards or councils the PAC members work for. An example of a PAC decision is the agreement to color code the mile markers -- Goshen, blue; Elkhart County Parks, brown; Middlebury, green; and Shipshewana, black -- so that users would know who is managing the section they are in.

If PAC creates a policy that would have legal implications, the agency representatives seek approval from their boards or councils. In other words, PAC does not function at this point as an official inter-governmental agency that makes policy on it's own. Although members have discussed drawing up an inter-governmental agreement, they don't think its necessary at this time.

The issues the PAC members discuss in a typical meeting include updates on trail construction projects (if any), problems encountered on the trail, like lines painted on the trail surface or rough pavement that needs fixing. A major topic concerns events that various groups are planning for the trail. Last year PAC agreed on an application process for groups using the trail to raise money in an effort to be prepared for the groups and avoid conflicts if two groups wanted events on the same day. They want groups to have a good experience, and knowing ahead of time where the group plans to walk or run allows the managing agencies for those sections to be sure that the trail is cleaned off and any needed repairs are done.

Another PAC initiative was the policy on what powered vehicles people with disabilities could use on the trail. The group hammered out the wording and then each managing agency had its board or council approve the measure. The Friends of the Pumpkinvine agreed to pay for the flags that would be attached to the vehicles to identify them as approved trail vehicles.

The Friends of the Pumpkinvine also assist the group by providing the trail map, managing the Pumpkinvine website (, and answering emails from people who want information about the Pumpkinvine. One person asked what sections of the Pumpkinvine were shaded because they had a skin condition and couldn't be in the sun very long. Others ask where they can park, what's the longest paved section or if there are bikes to rent. 

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Facebook feedback

On August 4, I posted this question on our Friends of the Pumpkinvine Facebook page:  “What improvements would you like to see to the Pumpkinvine Nature Trail?”  By Aug. 28, there were 28 comments. Here’s a summary. Note that in many cases a comment mentioned several ideas, so when someone “liked” that comment, it isn’t clear which idea they are referring to. In other words, the “Liked” column isn’t very accurate.

Times mentioned
Completion of the trail between CR 33 & CR 35
Pave limestone section from SR 4 to County Road 28
More drinking fountains
Half-miles and mile markers on all the trail
Additional toilets
Fix the holes east of County Road 127

Install tire pumps at parking lots

Extend the trail to North Park in Shipshewana
Cut back trees at county-road crossings
More signs with trail rules
Complete the trail into Shipshewana
Bridges over busy county roads

Additional parking
Better signage in Goshen to locate the Maple City Greenway
Build a spur to Bonneville Mill Park

A snow blower for Elkhart County Parks

Lights on the trail
Extend the Pumpkinvine to Elkhart, Wakarusa and Nappanee
Better signs between County Road 35 and County Road 33
Make the Abshire Trail a boardwalk