Are you ready for a run on the Aboite Trails? How about a walk on Rivergreenway? Maybe bike Towpath Trail and catch a glimpse of Eagle Marsh? Whatever it is you do, it’s important you stay active, and Fort Wayne has made that easier by threading the city with disability accessible, pet friendly, and beautiful trails.
The current 81 miles of trails connects neighborhoods to schools, places to enjoy nature, and paths to explore the town. Events and fundraisers take place on the trails sporadically to inspire people to lead active lifestyles. The Pufferbelly 5k for example, took place on August 8th, and is a race/walk with a 1 mile kids run. Money raised during the event went towards completing the conversion of the former New York Railroad into a path that connects downtown Fort Wayne to Pokagon State Park in Angola.
The Blazer 5k/10k race that took place October 18th on the Aboite Trails, started and ended at Summit Middle School. Trek the Trails is an ongoing event throughout the summer. Bike rides consisting of about 8 or 9 miles explore the trails in a group setting. The dates, times, and places, the Trek the Trails program takes place are listed under the Events tab on fwtrails.org.
Although the leaves are quickly falling, the trails aren't finished yet. Check out the St. Marys Pathway Nature Hike on November 15.
Wondering how the trails are funded? By people like you. It takes about $125 per foot to build the trails. Almost all the funding consists of private donations; while some funding is donated by the City of Fort Wayne, the majority is from private citizens. The major projects of 2015 prove that a little donation from everybody helps.
On the southeast side of town, plans to make new trails on Hanna street, Oxford street, and near Renaissance Point are under way. Out southwest they are working on adding more trails on Illinois and West Hamilton. On the northwest side of Fort Wayne, the Pufferbelly trail is being worked on, along with a new trail leading from Carrol Road to the Life Bridge Church Trailhead. It doesn’t stop there— a new trail is also expected on Maplecrest road. Another new trail connection off Lower Huntington road brings the trails out to Waynedale. There is also a realignment in progress on the Maumee pathway by the Lakeside Golf Course.
The use of the trails as recreation is only the beginning. Fort Wayne Trails hopes that people will use the trails to commute for work, for shopping, to go to worship, to visit friends, and just to explore the city. This goal can be reached the more trails that are built, and the more they are maintained. Construction and maintenance costs money, money that needs to be donated.
How can you help? Participation in the annual runs brings in a large portion of funded money. You can purchase t-shirts online, at the Fort Wayne trails office on 300 E Main Street, or at Pembroke Bakery at the same address. Profits go towards the trail fund. If you participate in any Fort4Fitness event you can list Fort Wayne Trails as a charity partner and Fort4Fitness will donate a portion of your registration fees to the trails. If donating money is not your thing, you can always donate your time and volunteer at any trail hosted event. For opportunities, check the volunteer page on the trail website.