Marshall County Parks & Recreation welcomes it’s first mountain bike trail (in process)

Last summer, in the midst of COVID-19 turmoil, Marshall County started a new chapter by creating the Marshall County Parks & Recreation Department.

I was asked by the County Council to join the 5-member, all-volunteer board. I was very happy to start this 4 year term, what a privilege!

A view from the DNR’s Mill Pond boat ramp, just north of the county’s Mill Pond property

We have been meeting monthly. Meetings are public, of course. I truly hope we can build a parks department that all residents feel they have ownership of.

Oh, while you’re reading, please click here and (if you have a Facebook account), click “like” on our official page.

walking the Mill Pond property, dreaming

Starting with zero budget and staff presents challenges, but also opportunities. It allows us to be unhindered from the “we’ve always done it that way” attitude that hampers forward movement. We also benefit from fresh energy and perspectives. Building something new is a great was to get people engaged.

The Michiana Area Council of Governments (MACOG) has graciously offered to assist with the creation of a 5 Year Plan, a necessary step for accessing crucial grant funding.

As that gets moving, an ad-hoc committee of mountain biking enthusiasts have already set to work on a new trail at the Mill Pond property. While not an official park yet, Mill Pond is a county-owned property that has been used for a couple decades as a timber harvesting demonstration project.

These volunteers are really restoring my confidence in civic participation… they are pulling together expertise & tools & volunteers to get the work done. When I talked with some of the folks knowledgeable about trail design, I was surprised how much trail we were going to be able to fit on such a small acreage. And now I have just the excuse I needed to buy another bike! Look for soft & hard openings of this trail later in 2021.

Apologies if some of these photos are tilted:

laying out the trail with flags
creating some fun features to play on
avoiding mud ruts with a simple bridge
rock features to make it interesting

While walking the Mill Pond property this summer, we came across a large population of Tall Thistle (Cirsium altissimum). Readers of this blog know that thistles aren’t something to be feared, but celebrated! This Tall Thistle was right at home in a mature hardwood forest, and the plants towered over my head. What a treat! Land stewardship can be daunting, but it’s filled with rewards. Don’t forget to stop and smell the roses (or thistles) when you get the chance.

4 Replies to “Marshall County Parks & Recreation welcomes it’s first mountain bike trail (in process)”

  1. Sister Edith Schneider

    So happy for you and proud of you Adam. I hope all continues in a positive, united, good spirit manner with the park and with your work on the committee in general.

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