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Erie Trail and Grand Kankakee Marsh Trail

In February 2023, the PTC applied to the Indiana DNR for a competitive Indiana Trails Program (ITP) Grant to extend the 11-mile Erie Trail through North Judson.  The application included a required 20% local match with funding from our generous supporters, PTC events, and membership dues.  


In February 2024, the DNR and PTC entered a contract with approval of a $300,000 ITP award to be used solely for qualified new trail development.  The trail route will include Hoosier Valley Railroad Museum donated land and land where the PTC has an easement on the former C&O Railroad thanks to foresight of the Town of North Judson.  The Northern Indiana Community Foundation was a critical contributor to the grant application as was the Rails-to-Trails Conservancy.  The PTC entered a professional services contract with Territorial Engineering to help assure the trail meets strict ITP Grant standards.


An important element of the planned one-mile extension is a new trailhead within North Judson and adjacent to the Hoosier Valley Railroad Museum.  Going northwest from the trailhead the name “Grand Kankakee Marsh Trail” will be applied.  The Town of LaCrosse recently obtained a DNR Next Level Trails 4 Grant to develop a segment of the Grand Kankakee Marsh Trail north of the Kankakee River.  The PTC hopes to eventually connect at the river with the LaPorte County trail extension. 


The current Erie Trail is a non-motorized paved route extending southeast from North Judson past US 35 to Starke County Road 700 East. An equestrian trail borders the paved trail from Starke County Road 100 W to Starke County Road 700 E. 


Located on the rail-banked former Erie Railroad, the Erie Trail has great views of the Kankakee River sand country, rich farmland, natural groves of oak savannah, wildflowers, prairies and marshlands. A level rail-bed beckons hikers and bicyclists.  Both the Erie Trail and the new Grand Kankakee Marsh Trail will host the Great American Rail-Trail from Washington, DC to Washington State; the American Discovery Trail from Delaware to California; and USBR 35 from Ontario to near New Orleans.

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