Time to experience the Whitewater Canal Trail

April 30, 2016 4:47 PM | Anonymous

Source: Batesville Herald Tribune  

Now that the weather’s in that sweet spot between not too cold and not too hot, several activities are planned along sections of Franklin County’s Whitewater Canal Trail, reports member Terry Duffy.

Saturday, April 23, area residents can celebrate Earth Day and the grand opening of the Billy Jean Jobe Trail at 10 a.m. Participants should meet at the bottom of 7th Street hill just west of Main Street in Brookville.

He says, “It’s a short section of trail that runs along the old canal right of way along the Whitewater River at the south end of the Owens Corning facility and goes off into the woods.” WCT members “have this saying, ‘We don’t mind building short sections because we collect the dots and then we connect the dots.” Someday this 0.3-mile trail – “a nice little in-and-out walk for somebody at lunchtime” – will connect with the Whitewater Canal Trail, which is planned between Metamora and Brookville.

The trail has a woman’s name because “Billy Jean and Dob Jobe have been major contributors to the community and big supporters of the canal trail. They’ve been our cheerleaders since Day One. There’s an overlook above that section of trail named after Don Jobe,” according to Duffy.

“Come help us celebrate! Refreshments will be provided. Be the first to take a tour of the trail.”

A free Whitewater Canal Trail Historic Walking Guided Tour is slated for Saturday, April 30, from 10:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m.

The 1.5-mile hike on “pretty much level” ground will be led by WCT board Secretary Mike Morthorst, Cincinnati, who’s involved in lots of historic canal activities.

Participants should meet at the trailhead parking area, which is located across from the Duck Creek Aqueduct on Pennington Road (Main Street) just east of the Metamora village.

This event is part of the Tri-State Trails Challenge. For more information, persons may go to the Green Umbrella Regional Sustainability Alliance Web site at www.greenumbrella.org to register, sign up for weekly e-mails showcasing free group events on the trails, download a Trails Challenge Passport to log your activities and possibly win prizes. The Web site suggests, “Visit our National Trails Day Celebration June 4 to turn in your Trails Challenge Passport. Finishers get a Tri-State Trails Nalgene water bottle stuffed with trail goodies and will be entered into a raffle for bigger prizes.”

Two separate events will converge on the same day, Saturday, May 14. For more competitive citizens, a Tow Path Dash 5K and 10K Fun Run and Walk begins at 8 a.m. at Whitewater Canal State Historic Site, Metamora, says organizer Anne Fairchild. Registration is at the nearby gazebo starting at 6:30 a.m. The historic site is partnering with WCT on the event.

Fairchild says, “All ages are invited.” The event is timed and there are awards. Jay Dishman, Whitewater Canal State Historic Site manager, observes, “Participants really enjoy coming out for this event each year. They like the ambiance of the old canal town and the scenic views of the Whitewater Valley.”

The 10K course begins in the pre-Civil War village and snakes past the old grist mill, covered bridge-style aqueduct as well as the 19th century shops and homes. The main portion of the trail continues into the fields and woods of the Whitewater Valley alongside the original canal towpath. Following the 5K and 10K, tours of the working grist mill and a canal boat ride on the Ben Franklin III will be available.

The fee is $25. If registration is received by April 25, a T-shirt is included. To register online (add $2.50), go to whitewatercanaltrail.com and click on the red Eventbrite Registration button. Fairchild can answer questions at 812-273-4531 or afairchild@indianamuseum.org.

Those who would rather mosey along the trail may take part in the Whitewater Valley Walkers 10K May 14 between 9 a.m.-1 p.m. Registration is at the Whitewater Canal State Historic Site.

According to Duffy, “It’s just a casual group of people walking up and down the trail. You can just show up and walk.”

The Whitewater Canal Trail group always is scouting for volunteers to do “really light work, like picking up sticks and clutter on the trail. Sometimes we organize crews to take out a big tree that fell over,” Duffy says. Persons willing to help may call WCT President Shirley Lamb at 765-647-2583.

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