If you have additional questions, please contact us at info@whitewatercanaltrail or call (513) 295-4820.
- Why is this trail important?
- What is a rail-trail or greenway?
- What are the benefits of this trail for Franklin County?
- How is this trail funded?
- How do you keep the people from leaving the trail and going onto private property?
- Why is this trail important?
Why is this trail important?
This 15-mile stretch of historical property tells the story of Franklin County's canal and railroad history. It also showcases the beauty of the county's hills and river. By using this land for county citizens to exercise and enjoy nature, the history will be preserved and appreciated. By joining together, Franklin County can take advantage of this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to clear the brush and bring a clear vision of progress to our trail.
What is a rail-trail or greenway? Rail-trails are the way to hike miles of peaceful, tree-lined, auto-free pathways from town to town. They're also the way to bicycle historic routes connecting schools, shopping and parks. Additionally, they provide a way to get safe exercise, see wildlife habitats, meet friends in the community, and see a part of history intact. A rail-trail is a recreational, non-motorized transportation path (also known as a greenway) which has been converted from an abandoned railroad corridor for public use. More than 11,000 miles of rail-trails are open already throughout all 50 states. Commuters pedal to work in Milwaukee and Seattle, while farmers in Iowa rent campsites to trail users. Home listings in Indianapolis frequently advertise proximity to the Monon Trail. Rail-trails offer more than recreational opportunities for bicyclists, roller bladders and hikers. The corridors can revive entire neighborhoods almost overnight. Trail conversion can spur rehabilitation of homes adjacent to the former railways . Places long forgotten where the tracks were pulled up can suddenly find themselves enjoying a rejuvenated community spirit and even becoming a destination for tourists.
What are the benefits of this trail for Franklin County?
- Historic Preservation/Community Identity - Many community leaders have been surprised at how trails have become sources of community identity and pride. These effects are magnified when communities use trails and greenways to highlight and provide access to historic and cultural resources. Many trails and greenways themselves preserve historically significant transportation corridors. The fact sheet "Preserving Historic and Cultural Resources" has more information.
- Economy/Revitalization - The economic effects of trails and greenways are sometimes readily apparent (as in the case of trailside businesses), and are sometimes more subtle, like when a company decides to move to a particular community because of amenities like trails. There is no question, however, that countless communities across America have experienced an economic revitalization due in whole or in part to trails and greenways. Check out "Economic Benefits of Trails and Greenways," our fact sheet describing the growing evidence of the positive economic impact of greenways and trails.
- Conservation/Environment - Linear greenspaces including trails and greenways have all the traditional conservation benefits of preserving greenspace, but also have additional benefits by way of their linear nature. As tools for ecology and conservation, greenways and trails help preserve important natural landscapes, provide needed links between fragmented habitats, and offer tremendous opportunities for protecting plant and animal species. They also can be useful tools for wetland preservation and improvement of air and water quality. In addition, they can allow humans to experience nature with minimal environmental impact. See the fact sheet "Enhancing the Environment with Trails and Greenways" for further details.
- Transportation/Livability – In addition to providing a safe place for people to enjoy recreational activities, greenways and trails often function as viable transportation corridors. Trails can be a crucial element to a seamless urban or regional multi-modal transportation system. Many areas of the country incorporate trails and similar facilities into their transit plans, relying upon trail facilities to "feed" people in to and out of transit stations in a safe and efficient manner. The ability to avoid congested streets and highways, and travel through natural areas on foot or by non-motorized means, is a large factor in a community's "livability." Check out the "Trails and Greenways for Livable Communities" fact sheet for more information.
- History and Local Culture - History is preserved, local culture is enhanced. Natural habitats for wildlife. Educational resources for schools, scout groups and other community groups. Pleasant route for walking, running, and bicycling. Very inexpensive to maintain. Property values near trails increase and local economies are boosted by trail users. Auto-free, level grades, great for exercising. A link that can join several communities together.
- Health Benefits - Trails and greenways create healthy recreation and transportation opportunities by providing people of all ages with attractive, safe, accessible and low or no cost places to cycle, walk, hike, jog or skate. Trails help people of all ages incorporate exercise into their daily routines by connecting them with places they want or need to go. Communities that encourage physical activity by making use of the linear corridors can see a significant effect on public health and wellness. In our fact sheet "Health and Wellness Benefits," see how trails and greenways are helping to create healthy communities from coast to coast.
How is this trail funded?
A successful method of funding trail design, development and management is to combine private sector funds with funds from local, state, and federal sources. The following funding sources will all be considered when looking for funding for the Whitewater Canal Trail:
- Federal Funding: Surface Transportation Program (STP), Community Development Block Grants, Land and Water Conservation Funds, Recreational Trails Program (RTP) and the National Scenic Byways Program.
- State Funding: Typically state funding sources for trails will focus on improving recreation, water resources, land conservation and off-road transportation. The DNR will most likely be providing details and information about trail funding.
- Local Funding: Although local government may have less money available for trail development than do other public sources, their funds can be used to match federal and state dollars in order to obtain a higher level of funding for this project.
- Private Funding: The private sector can contribute significant financial support to a local project of this kind. The following types of private funding have been used to develop other trails: land trusts, local and national foundations, local businesses, volunteer work groups, individual sponsors, and a new program called "Buy a Foot". This is a fund-raising and awareness program for trails. Citizens are encouraged to purchase one linear foot of the trail.
How do you keep the people from leaving the trail and going onto private property?
- This question is usually asked by someone who has never visited a trail. The people using trails are people with the love of the outdoors and the respect of private property. Property owners can post a sign if they wish.