Shelbyville Daily Union

Local News

December 27, 2013

Lake Shelbyville Trail Expansions, Improvements Partnerships Formed

(Continued)

"We look at how to make the cost less by bringing together resources," Banta said.

Steve Buchtel, executive director of Trails for Illinois, spoke on trail usage and community benefits.

"More than one-third of trail users spend money during their trail visit. Visitors from outside the trail area create an economic impact by purchasing outdoor gear," Buchtel said.

He added that the trail produces a triple benefit in profit for the area, health for users, and protection for the environment.

Buchtel also noted that organizations, such as Americorps and the National Civilian Conservation Corps, can help with trail building projects.

"Lake Shelbyville is our demonstration project for Americorps," Buchtel said.

Louis Yockey, landscape architect with the Illinois Department of Natural Resources, said there are IDNR funds available for trail development and that the Greenway Trails Panning and Assistance Program can help to target those funds.

"The idea is to connect local trials to regional and national trails," Yockey said.

Other IDNR trail plans include the Snow Flake cross country skiing trail in Eagle Creek State Park and an equestrian trail in Wolf Creek State Park.

The Chief Illini Trail, which runs 11 miles from Lone Point to Eagle Creek, is the trail in most need of work, according to Corps of Engineers Nature Resource Specialist Phil Manhart.

"One problem with the Illini Trail is users are getting lost. The trail markers are missing." Manhart said.

The trail has been subjected to damage from high water and toppled trees. Bridges have fallen to disrepair and wild brush has overtaken areas of the trail making it harder for people to use.

"We're looking to reroute some areas instead of replacing or repairing bridges," Manhart said.

Manhart also noted that the Camp Camfield trails, which is popular with mountain bikers, is maintained by a group of volunteers.

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