Kruse co-chairs new trails caucus

State Sen. Dennis Kruse, R-Auburn, fourth from right, joins members of Indiana’s Greenways Foundation and Rails-to-Trails Conservancy at the Statehouse for a briefing of the newly established Indiana Legislative Trails Caucus. Kruse is one of four co-chairs of the caucus, a bipartisan initiative that aims to grow, connect and maintain Indiana’s network of recreational trails and greenways. Leaders discussed the value of connecting recreational trails and how it can improve Hoosiers’ quality of life and Indiana’s economy.

When I’m not in Indianapolis for session and helping craft statewide policy, I enjoy working on projects that will positively impact our community. This interim, along with participating in study committees, I’ve been working with the 33-member Poka-Bache Coalition on advocating for the Poka-Bache Connector Trail.

The planned trail would span 85 miles and would connect Pokagon State Park in Angola with Ouabache State Park in Bluffton, traveling through four counties and seven cities and towns. If completed, this trail would be Indiana’s longest multi-use trail.

To address funding for this project, the coalition is currently submitting trail project proposals to secure Regional Economic Acceleration and Development Initiative (READI) funds. This trail would possess many of the key criterion for READI — encouraging regional collaboration, a strategic investment in quality of place, attracting and retaining talent, and providing economic growth.

This project and the coalition has support from the Indiana Department of Natural Resources and the Indiana Department of Transportation. The DNR has been working hard over the past 15 years to improve and grow our trails. Last year, trail use in Indiana increased exponentially, with many months surpassing 50% increases in use.

As co-chair of the Indiana Legislative Trails Caucus, I can confidently say that Indiana’s trails are very beneficial as they not only serve as a catalyst for economic development and tourism, but also provide access to a healthier lifestyle for Hoosiers to enhance quality of life. I look forward to continuing this work and hope to have an update in the near future.

To learn more about Indiana’s trails and find one near you, visit in.gov/dnr/outdoor/ and click on “Find a Trail.”

If you have any questions or concerns on this or other topics, feel free to contact me at Senator.Kruse@iga.in.gov or 317-233-0930.

What do you think?

State Sen. Dennis Kruse is a Republican from Auburn.

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