“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.
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.