We first saw the photo in our office space at The Goshen News. The picture, taken by News photographer Sam Householder, made us wish very much that we were outdoors — and on bicycles.
Householder’s photo showed two cyclists heading out on a ride, traveling on what soon promised to be a path shaded by lush greenery. It accompanied an article in Thursday’s paper bearing the headline, “Pumpkinvine Grows.”
The Goshen News, not alone among media outlets, has been the messenger of dour news lately, much of it related to the U.S. government shutdown. “Pumpkinvine Grows” was a welcome respite, and news we were happy to convey to the widest possible audience.
The occasion was a ribbon-cutting ceremony for three new sections of the Pumpkinvine Nature Trail linking Goshen, Middlebury and Shipshewana. This segment extends from the U.S. 20 tunnel near Jayco, crosses Ind. 13 just south of the Middlebury Dairy Queen and ends at C.R. 35.
Truth be told, the ribbon-cutting was a symbolic unveiling. Bicyclists and walkers have been using this length of trail for months, and for practical purposes the trail doesn’t “end” at C.R. 35. The terminus at this point is within sight, to the southeast, of downtown Shipshewana.
This observation isn’t meant to detract from the celebratory ribbon-cutting, but to add to it. The Pumpkinvine Nature Trail is no less than a community treasure. And as new links are added to the trail, our community will grow that much more rich.
Our thanks go to the Friends of the Pumpkinvine. They had the vision that an abandoned railroad corridor could be repurposed into something better. They’re pursued this goal for two decades, and Elkhart and LaGrange counties are the better for it.
The completed trail is now long enough to provide a viable alternative to motor vehicle transportation. No less essential, in The News’ view, are the opportunities for exercise the trail provides. Wish you were in better shape? Bike, or walk, all or part of the trail between Goshen and Shipshewana on a regular basis and find yourself several steps (pedals?) closer to a fitter you.
The Pumpkinvine Nature Trail is largely in place, ready for recreation, transportation or an alternative to a perhaps too-sedentary life. Many of your friends and neighbors have already given it a try, or incorporated it into their lifestyle. You should, too.