Even before it was officially open, I saw area residents walking down the trail enjoying its beauty and safety. But Vivian walks with a greater purpose: she is training. She participates in the Maple City Walk's marathon walk in the fall that uses the Pumpkinvine as it's main venue, and in the past, walkers needed to use county roads for 3.4 miles (1.7 miles each way) of the 26.2-mile marathon course. Now the new section of the trail has eliminated two miles of that on-road route, making for a much safer walk.
Comment from Vivian: "Since the distance between CR 33 and CR 35 by county roads is 1.7 miles, the marathoners previously had to walk 3.4 miles on the county roads for the round trip to Middlebury. Now that the new section of the trail is open, the marathoners will only have to walk .7 miles on county roads between CR 20 and CR 35 for a total of 1.4 miles for the round trip."
Those of us who are primarily cyclists have a tendency to forget that walkers make up over 40 percent of trail users and that a new section of trail that takes walkers off the county roads improves their safety significantly, too.