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High Mileage

KENDALLVILLE, IND. (WPTA21)-It wasn’t that long ago most folks rode the rails from city to city, even in town..the interurban, carrying people to work and to shop. Most of the rail beds those iron horses rode are abandoned but many have been put back to work, now carrying walkers, hikers and bikers.

We want to offer people the opportunity to exercise,” says Noble Trails president Terry Gaff, “to be out in the outdoors and enjoy the fresh air and improve their health.”

One of the busiest spots turning rails to trails is Noble County, on this day clearing and bulldozing and paving the latest leg in what shortly will be a trail system across the entire county. This leg will join Kendallville with Rome City nearly ten miles away.

But we also plan on going beyond that in the future to Avilla and beyond in the south into Wolcottville and hooking up with the Lagrange County Trail system,” says Gaff.

Twelve miles of trail have been built in Noble County since 2011 winding through woods, across streams and past lovely farm land. Noble Trails is the group that started the whole thing, spent seven hundred thousand dollars on the system so far all paid for by grants and tax money. That pleases Kendallville Mayor Suzanne Handshoe, also a trail fan.

Talk about the ability to decompress after a rough day walking through this with the tree canopy is just absolutely lovely,” she says. “So we’re big supporters of this.”

Mike and Lucretia McKenzie are fans too, biking the trails two and three times a week.

I just feel a lot better physically stronger,” says Mike, “a lot more stamina I feel like. Since we’re 65 we need it!”

Improving health is just one of the benefits of a trail system, attracting new businesses and new citizens is another. It’s an effort in which everyone wins, everyone agrees is a good thing. Something rare these days. Which is why this beautiful corner of 21 Country will push on with its effort, not rolling to a stop until the last mile has been breached.

Eric Olson

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