Heritage Trail

Several trail events planned
for summer, fall

Group acquires buildings to serve as welcome center

(June 2015) – The Heritage Trail Conservancy recently purchased two buildings on the corner of First and Cragmont streets in Madison, Ind., contributing to the existing Heritage Trail Parklands. The main building will be updated and transformed into a welcome center and gift shop. The smaller building will be used to house equipment, according to Heritage Trail president Bob Greene.
“We hope the building will be an interpretive center for the history and the railroad and the environment,” Greene said.
The trail project to link the Madison hilltop to the riverfront in downtown started in 2007. The Indiana Department of Natural Resources put a conservation easement on the land to protect it as green space forever. It also created a $300,000 matching grant donating half of the amount that was raised by the Conservancy. The other half came from corporate philanthropists.

Photo by Emily Ward

Heritage Trail Conservancy President Bob Greene poses in front of the newly acquired building that will serve as the trail’s new welcome center in downtown Madison, Ind.

Because the Heritage Trail Conservancy is a nonprofit entity, it is mostly supported by donors with very little government funding. “Our in-kind donations came to about half million dollars that went to buying the land and cleaning it off,” Greene said.
The buildings are located right in the heart of the park, where the trail begins. With the Heritage Trail Conservancy’s latest purchase, the land acquisition totals to 20 acres.
“Our funds are limited because we have spent most of our money on purchasing the land. We thought that it was important to acquire the land when it was available and protect it,” Greene said.
John Marsh and Sonny Ash created the designs for the building’s remodel. The plans include a new roof, new windows and an Indiana limestone facade.
The buildings will be the epicenter of the Heritage Trails and Parklands and is still being developed. As of now the trail is 1½ miles long, according to Greene. He said he hopes to continue to expand and build onto the trail.
“We really hope to turn these building into something special,” Greene said.
The Heritage Trail is also sponsoring many events throughout the summer on the trail. Some events were held in May to kick off the season. Here are the other events coming up beginning in June:

• June 1 - July 31: The Heritage Trail Challenge. Take the challenge this summer on the trail.   
• Summer 2015: Yoga and Hiking the Heritage Trail returns and back by popular demand. Come with Becky Staab for six sessions of yoga and hiking on the trail. Open to all levels, ages and well behaved dogs on leashes. June 4 and June 25 at 5 p.m.; July 6 and July 20 at 8:30 a.m. Meet at Vernon Street and Vaughn Drive.
• June 12: Flashlight hike. Meet at the trailhead at Vernon and Vaughn. All children need to be accompanied by an adult. 9-10 p.m.  
• June 21: 2-4 p.m. Summer Solstice on the trail. Walk at your own pace with refreshments at the Heritage Trail Conservancy Welcome Center.
• Sept 11: Flashlight hike. Meet at the trailhead at Vernon and Vaughn. All children need to be accompanied by an adult. 9-10 p.m.
• Sept. 20: 2-4 p.m. Fall Equinox Walk on the trail. Walk at your own pace with refreshments at the Heritage Trail Conservancy Welcome Center.  
• Oct. 18: Fall Walk and Talk with the naturalist. 2 p.m. Meet at the Heritage Trail Conservancy Welcome Center.
• Dec. 20: Welcome Winter Walk. 2-4 p.m. Food, refreshments and a fire. Hike at your own pace.

For more information, call Becky Staab at (812) 701-0284 or visit the Heritage Trail Conservancy’s Facebook page.

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