As the popular free guided community bike rides, Trek the Trails, enter their seventh year, riders are focusing on the 100,000 mile mark. In the first six years of the rides, participants have collectively biked 75,723 miles.
Mayor Tom Henry started the rides as a way for residents to explore parts of the trail system that they may not be familiar with and to create social opportunities for families and friends to venture out in a guided tour. The rides have grown so popular that many times more than 100 riders turned out to enjoy our trail network.
“We continue to be a community and region focused on connectivity and quality of life amenities that make us a destination place for individuals, families and businesses,” said Mayor Henry. “A commitment to biking, walking and our world-class trails system is an important reason why Fort Wayne is experiencing positive momentum and investments like never before.”
Trek the Trails offers free guided bike rides each Tuesday night at 6:00 p.m. through Sept. 27. For a complete list of trail rides visit cityoffortwayne.org/trekthetrails. Adults should accompany children and all riders are encouraged to wear helmets
On Tuesday, May 10, an 8-mile ride and 2-mile walk will begin at Salomon Farm Park, 817 West Dupont Road, followed by a Kick-off Party and fundraiser for Fort Wayne Trails Inc. The bike ride and walk beginning at 6:00 p.m. are free, but the 7:00 p.m. party is $10 per person, or $20 per family. The fundraiser includes music, food and beverage. Tickets can be purchased at the party or at www.fwtrails.org.
Besides the 22 Tuesday events, there will be 20-mile Saturday bike rides — for those wanting a longer jaunt — on June 25 and August 27. Similarly, longer hikes of 3 miles will be offered on Saturday July 30 and September 24. Trek the Trails is sponsored by the City of Fort Wayne and Fort Wayne Trails Inc.
Allen County has a 90-mile trail network with 67 miles owned and maintained by the City of Fort Wayne. This year, the City has 5 miles of projects slated along Illinois Road, McKinnie Avenue, Liberty Mills Road, Renaissance Pointe, and the Covington Road.
About the City of Fort Wayne Greenways and Trails
The City of Fort Wayne’s Greenways began as part of the Parks and Recreation Division. From 1975 to 2005 the Parks Division built the 20 mile Rivergreenway. In 2005, as interests grew and more residents began using the trails, the current City Greenways and Trails Department moved to the Public Works Division, a fitting move as the community’s view of trails shifted from recreation to active transportation.
The move helped the City increase its trail miles from the 20 of the Rivergreenway to nearly 70 miles today. Of the 70 City miles – the City designed and constructed 52 miles. An additional 18 miles were built in the City limits by the Indiana Department of Transportation (INDOT), Allen County, Aboite New Trails, housing developers, medical facilities and universities. Three of the miles in the City limits are maintained privately.
City Greenways and Trails Director, Dawn Ritchie, has managed the projects since 2005. During that time she has served with numerous State and national trail organizations and, in 2015, was honored by Mid America Trails and Greenways (MATAG), receiving Indiana’s Outstanding Trail Person Award. MATAG is a regional organization made up of trail leaders from Minnesota, Iowa, Missouri, Wisconsin, Illinois, Michigan, Kentucky, Ohio and Indiana. The award recognized Dawn Ritchie for significant and exemplary service to trails planning, construction, implementation and recreation.
About Fort Wayne Trails Inc.
Created in January 2011, Fort Wayne Trails, Inc. acts as a partner and advocate in the development of a connected multipurpose trail system in Allen County, Indiana. Kent Castleman is executive director and works closely with the City on continued expansion. For more information or to donate, visit the organization’s website, www.fwtrails.org