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Cardinal Greenway


Connecting East Central Indiana.




 Indiana Trail
 Riders Assoc.



Cardinal Greenway, Inc.

is a non-profit organization of volunteers dedicated to creating and maintaining the Cardinal Greenway Trail, the longest rails-to-trails project in Indiana.

Cardinal Greenway takes its name from the traditional definition of a greenway as "linear open space, linking parks, nature reserves, cultural and historical sites with each other and with populated areas for use by non-motorized travelers." The Cardinal was the name of the last passenger train to regularly travel our rail-trail, deriving its name from the state bird of all five of the states which crossed on the Chicago/Cincinnati/Washington line. Our trail name Cardinal Greenway becomes a small but meaningful tribute to the golden age of American railroads.

The Rails-to-Trails movement began in 1965; twenty years later the national Rails-to-Trails Conservancy was founded. In 1991 Congress passed the Intermodal Surface Transportation Efficiency Act (ISTEA) declaring that a portion of revenues from gas taxes must be used to develop modes of transportation other than highways. This included preservation of abandoned railway corridors for development of bicycle and pedestrian facilities. The 800th trail opened on National Trails Day, June 1, 1996; as of September 30, 1997, 921 rails-to-trails were open in 48 states. Including the Cardinal Greenway trail, there are another 1156 trails underway in 50 states. But Indiana is lagging behind with only 12 trails covering 45 miles.

In 1993 Cardinal Greenway purchased 60 miles of the former railroad corridor from CSX Transportation Corporation to develop a rails-to-trails recreational linear park covering five counties in Eastern Indiana (Wayne, Randolph, Henry, Delaware and Grant). The route begins in Richmond, adjacent to the Whitewater Valley Gorge Park at the historic Gas Company Works building on U.S. 40 and extends northwest through Wayne County and the small towns of Webster, Williamsburg and Economy. The trail continues through Losantville in Randolph County and Blountsville in Henry County and enters Delaware County near the southern end of Prairie Creek Reservoir and Park. Bisecting the heart of Muncie, the trail crosses the White River and continues northwest to the town of Gaston. Between Gaston and Jonesboro in Grant County is a gap, a 11.3 mile section of abandoned rail corridor purchased buy landowners. A route(s) will be chosen using public roads to connect the two sections of Cardinal Greenway. The Cardinal Greenway resumes in Jonesboro and overlooks the Mississinewa River and the western edge of Gas City. Continuing northwest, the trail extends all the way through Marion.

During 1994 Cardinal Greenway selected a design team which specifically addressed trail issues of management and planning strategy, site analysis, project development, and funding. A Master Plan was completed in early 1996 and final tracings were submitted to the Indiana Department of Transportation (INDOT). A ground breaking ceremony in September 1997 sets in motion the construction of 10 plus miles for the Phase 1 section of the Cardinal Greenway from the Wysor Street Depot in Muncie to County Road 534 East, southeast of Prairie Creek Reservoir. Since that first ground breaking ceremony the trail has been extended from the Wysor Street Depot to the Town of Gaston north of Muncie. This provides the trail user with a total of 20 completed miles. The trail includes trail heads, rest areas, and interpretative signage.
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Copyright 2002
Cardinal Greenway, Inc. - 700 E. Wysor St. - Muncie, IN 47305  Phone 765-287-0399