More than 70,000 walkers, joggers and cyclists journeyed Fort Wayne trails last month – smashing the previous trail user mark by nearly 18,000. Trail count numbers for June of this year hit 73,226. The previous high mark for June was 55,432, set in 2012.
“No doubt, the great weather we had last month contributed to the increased usage, but it’s clear the popularity of our trails and resident attachment continues to grow. We’ve seen steady numbers all year long, as residents are tapping into our trails for leisure, exercise and as a mode of transportation,” said Dawn Ritchie, Director of Greenways and Trails for the City of Fort Wayne.
In 2015, with record rainfall and flooding, June user totals of 27,523 were the lowest since counting began in 2010. Infrared counters are utilized to track trail users in 14 locations on City’s 70 miles of trails. The Fort Wayne Trail Network adds another 20 miles outside of the City – creating a network of 90 miles in Allen County.
The City is working together with Fort Wayne Trails Inc. and Allen, Dekalb, Steuben and Wells counties to build the State Visionary Trail which will connect Pokagon State Park in Angola to Ouabache State Park in Bluffton.
Currently, about 22 miles of the 80-mile trail, which will come through Fort Wayne, have been completed. Later this month, the City and Fort Wayne Trails Inc. will make a presentation to the Regional Development Authority in hopes of gaining support to fund portions of this trail and further expand the trail network.
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 those 70 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 within the City limits are maintained privately.
City Greenways and Trails Director, Dawn Ritchie, has managed the trail construction projects and maintenance since 2005.