Monday, March 11, 2013

Musings on getting out into nature without a car

Yesterday there was a post from the Fort Wayne Journal Gazette on facebook looking at how other cities have developed their downtowns and asking "Should Fort Wayne be more like Oklahoma City?"

This was my response:
 "I think there is a lot we can pick up from places like that all of those referenced in the story. The towns around Biloxi MS have not just a greenway, they also have what they call blueways - water trails to use for kayaking and canoing. We have lots of water, but we don't do a lot with it. South Bend has had a whitewater course for 25 years, so I'm not sure Fort Wayne needs to duplicate that effort, but we have a lot more outdoor opportunities than we usually let on to. We have rivers, lots of nature areas that are often unused. The co-op of county and city parks, ACRES, LRWP that offers fall hikes is a good start, but we need more co-operation across bodies like this to leverage the outdoor recreation possibilities in Allen County and NE IN. Lets be Fort Wayne, not OKC's shadow, but let's take what we can learn from other places. I feel far more hopeful about FW's future than when I first moved here 14 years ago."

Today, another blog I follow, posted the question of whether her family could get to a local nature area by public transit and bike.

This just tied in so well with our experience of getting to Eagle Marsh this weekend to participate in a cleanup project.  (See yesterday's post.)

Eagle Marsh is located along the Towpath Trail  one of Fort Wayne's many greenways., So bike access is actually very good.  Monday through Friday, Citilink runs a flex route bus to the Towpath Trailhead, adjacent to the marsh. But that service doesn't run on weekends.  So on Saturdays we take the regular fixed route bus to it's end point, and then walk about a mile and a half through a quiet neighborhood to the Towpath trail and then get to the marsh.  It isn't a perfect arrangement, but it gets us their.

But what about other natural areas in Allen County?  Well that gets to be a lot more complicated.  Our two main county parks,Fox Island and Metea are both beyond the boundaries of our bus system, though the county dial-a-ride bus theoretically could get you there during business hours Monday through Friday.  Fox Island is actually adjacent to Eagle Marsh, which on the map  looks like a great plan. In reality, there is a river and busy set of railroad tracks between the properties and no point of entrance to the park.  That entrance is a road that could be biked, though the roads approaching it are both quite busy.  Same for Metea Park, it is just off of a state highway.  So in essence both of the county parks are really auto dependent.

We also have a wonderful asset in Northeast Indiana called Acres Land Trust..  They have nature preserves in 16 counties in the area.  They also run some wonderful programs.  Their Mengerson Preserve is actually on a bus line, but the rest are not.  All are theoretically bike-able on county roads.  But it does come down to the reality that without a car, few people will visit these preserves.


No comments:

Post a Comment