Beginning this week, Indy Parks is participating in an Indiana Trails Study conducted by the Eppley Institute for Parks and Public Lands at Indiana University. Organizers want to know more about trail use, health factors related to trail use, and the economic impact of trails throughout the state.
Data will be collected on the Monon Trail and eight other Indiana trails via surveys of trail users, a control group of non-trail users, and nearby property owners. Trail counters will also be utilized along the trails to capture head counts and compare user patterns statewide.
The nine trails chosen to participate in the study are:
- Monon Trail in Indianapolis and Carmel
- The B-line Trail in Bloomington
- The People Trail in Columbus
- Rivergreenway in Fort Wayne
- Erie-Lackawanna Trail in northwest Indiana
- Pumpkinvine Nature Trail in Elkhart and LaGrange counties
- The Cardinal Greenway from Marion to Muncie to Richmond
- Nickel Plate Trail in Kokomo, Rochester and Peru
- Pigeon Creek Greenway Passage in Evansville
The Eppley Institute is collecting and analyzing statistically valid data to inform future trail development, operations, and maintenance efforts. This study follows the nationally-acclaimed 2001 Indiana Trails Study that provided data to trail managers, trail advocates, and the State of Indiana.
In the initial study, feedback was collected from trail users and adjacent property owners along six trails in Indiana. The 2017 study expands to a mix of nine urban, suburban, and rural trails throughout the state.
Indiana University, the Northwestern Indiana Regional Planning Commission, the Greenways Foundation of Indiana, and the George and Frances Ball Foundation are providing funding for the study.
Each trail’s managing organization will supply volunteers, trail counters, and other assistance to the researchers. Data will be collected in April, June, August and October. Results are expected to be released by the spring of 2018.