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home : most recent : statewide implications August 23, 2017

4/9/2017 4:13:00 PM
Nickel Plate Trail one of nine picked for statewide study
Happy Trail: Joggers, bicyclists and even those who like to relax enjoy the Nickel Plate Trail on Main Street in Peru. Provided photo
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Happy Trail: Joggers, bicyclists and even those who like to relax enjoy the Nickel Plate Trail on Main Street in Peru. Provided photo

Blair Yankey, Peru Tribune

The Nickel Plate Trail has been selected as one of nine sites across Indiana to participate in a statewide study to gather data on health factors related to trail use and their economic impact.

The 2017 Indiana Trails Study, administered by the Eppley Institute for Parks and Public Lands at Indiana University, is slated to begin on April 10. The project follows up on the Nickel Plate Trail’s last study that was conducted in 2001.

“It’s a huge opportunity,” said Mike Kuepper, president of the Nickel Plate Trail organization. The 40-mile path, which runs from Kokomo to Rochester, was once a railroad line and they are plans to expand it 2.6 miles to connect it to the Cardinal Greenway Trail.

Eppley will collect and analyze data that will inform future trail development, operations and maintenance efforts, accord to a press release issued by the Institute.

Data will be collected by surveys of trail users, a control group of non-trail users and nearby property owners. There will be four, seven-day collection periods in the months of April, June, August and October, the press release said. Trail counters will also be used to capture head counts and compare user patterns statewide.

“Many people ask me how many people use the trail, which I don’t know the answer to,” Kuepper said. “So this study is going to be good for the trail and all our economic development.”

The results of the study are expected to be released by spring of 2018.

Funding for the work will be provided by Indiana University, the Northwestern Indiana Regional Planning Commission, the Greenways Foundation of Indiana, and the George and Frances Ball Foundation.

Other sites chosen to participate in the study include: Rivergreenway in Fort Wayne; Erie Lackawanna Trail in NW Indiana; Pumpkinvine Nature Trail in Elkhart and LaGrange counties; Monon Trail in Indianapolis and Carmel; The Cardinal Greenway from Marion to Muncie to Richmond; Pigeon Creek Greenway Passage in Evansville; The People Trail in Columbus; and the B-Line Trail in Bloomington.

Copyright 2017 Peru Tribune

Editor, John C. DePrez Jr.; Executive Editor, Carol Rogers; Publishers: IBRC and IAR

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