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Spaulding Outdoors: Federal grant brings Indiana DNR $1 million for trails
Spaulding Outdoors
By Jack Spaulding

Thanks to federal portioning of road tax collected on fuels, Indiana’s DNR has a windfall from Uncle Sam to be used to improve and expand the trails system on public lands. Under the grant, the DNR will administer $1,025,103 in federal grants on six trail projects in six different counties around the state using only $20,000 to help defray the cost of administering the grants.

“We’re following Gov. Daniels’ directive to offer healthful outdoor opportunities within a reasonable driving distance of each Hoosier,” said Kyle Hupfer, DNR director. “We hope the people of Indiana will enjoy hiking, wildlife watching, cycling and other outdoor activities with the new facilities made possible with these grants.”

The grants come from the federal Recreational Trails Program (RTP). Every year, a portion of the federal transportation bill is apportioned to each of the states through the Federal Highway Administration to fund recreational trails. The amount distributed to each state is based on the total of federal motor fuel excise tax paid by users of off-road recreational vehicles such as snowmobiles, off-road motorcycles and all-terrain vehicles.

The program stipulates 30 percent of the funds are to be spent on motorized trails; 30 percent goes to trails for non-motorized sports; and 40 percent spent on diverse-use trails.

The RTP funds can be used for acquisition and development of public trails and can include, but are not limited to, development of trailhead facilities, maintenance and restoration of existing trails and trailhead facilities, stream and river access sites, bridges, boardwalks, crossings, signage, equestrian facilities, safety and educational programs, sanitary facilities, and other support facilities and administrative costs.

In order to be eligible for federal funding, states must establish a trails advisory board composed of different trail interest groups including: hikers, sportsmen and women, motorcyclists, bicyclists, mountain bicyclists, ATV riders, four wheel drive riders, snowmobilers, equestrians, trail users with disabilities, water trail users, park and recreation agencies, environmental groups, soil and water conservation districts, and trail support groups. Projects receiving money and their grant amounts are:

•Department of Natural Resources, Division of Outdoor Recreation Redbird State Riding Area Phase V, Greene County $255,103 - Acquire more land for motorized vehicle trail use at Redbird State Riding Area.
•Whitewater Canal Trail, Franklin County $150,000 - Acquire three acres and develop a 2.6 mile segment of Whitewater Canal Trail from Metamora to the east with a mountain bike spur.
•Sugar Creek Township Trail, Hancock County $150,000 - Acquire and develop a two-mile multi-use trail, including parking and amenities.
•Rivergreenway Loop Trail, Adams County $150,000 - Partially acquire and develop the 3.5-mile Rivergreenway Loop Trail, including site amenities and river access.
•Brown County State Park Trail, Brown County $150,000 - Develop 10 miles of trail and two trailheads to add to the existing mountain biking and hiking trails system within Brown County State Park. •Towpath Trail-Phase I, Allen County $150,000 - Develop and add .85 mile of trail to the Fort Wayne’s Greenway system, connecting it to the Aboite trail system.

Since 1994, the DNR has administered 59 RTP grants totaling $6,914,358 for Indiana projects. Applications are due May 1 of each year. For more information about the RTP program, visit www.in.gov/dnr/outdoor/grants/rtp.html

Cabela’s King Kat schedule
The Cabela’s King Kat Tournament Trail is up and running for 2006 bringing back many of last years hot spots plus some new water where anglers are sure to bring in some trophy fish. Entry fees for the Cabela’s King Kat Tournaments are $150 per qualifying event. The tournament trail is devoted to bringing competitive catfishing to a new level and gives anglers a chance to advance to the Cabela’s King Kat Classic in October. Last year’s classic purse was worth over $55,000 in cash and prizes.

2006 Schedule of Tournaments:

•Santee, S.C., Feb. 25
•Lake Hartwell, S.C., March 18
•Wetumpka, Ala., April 1
•Caruthersville, Mo., May 6
•Lake Erie, Monroe Mich., May 13
•New Madrid, Mo., May 20
•Milford Lake, Kan., July 17
•Waverly, Mo., July 28
•Owensboro, Ky.(Ohio River), Aug. 12
•Memphis, Tenn., Sept. 16,
•Special Event - U.S. Cats/Cabela’s King Kat at Henderson, Ky., Aug. 5
•Cabela’s King Kat Classic at Pickwick/Wilson Lakes, Sheffield, Ala., Oct. 13-14

Tournament hours are 6:30 a.m.-3 p.m. On night events the hours are: 6:30 p.m. Friday through 8 a.m. Saturday morning. For entry forms or more information phone 270-395-6774, fax 270-395-4381 or visit www.kingkatusa.com

Open house dates
In the interest of hearing Hoosiers’ input on the operation, funding and staffing of Indiana’s state forests, the DNR has announced dates for open houses at each state forest property.

Meetings at each property will include displays about recreational activities, budget issues, staffing, major projects, the 2005-2007 Division of Forestry Strategic Plan, invasive species control and forest resource management. Attendees will have an opportunity to talk with DNR personnel or, if they prefer, submit written comments concerning forest and recreation management policies and programs. Light refreshments will be served.

Open House dates and locations are:

•Thursday, Feb. 2: Ferdinand/Pike State Forests, 3-7 p.m. (EST) - about 20 minutes south of Jasper on State Road 264, 4 miles northeast of Ferdinand. Phone 812-367-1524.
•Thursday, Feb. 16: Martin State Forest, 4-6 p.m. (EST) - 4 miles east of Shoals on U.S. Highway 50. Phone 812-247-3491.
•Saturday, April 8: Greene-Sullivan State Forest, 10 a.m.-2 p.m. (EST) - 1.5 miles south of Dugger on State Road 159. Phone 812-648-2810.
•Tuesday, April 18: Selmier State Forest, 4-6 p.m. (EST) - about 4 miles northeast of North Vernon at 905 East Co. Road 350 N. Phone 812-346-2286
•Thursday, April 20: Jackson-Washing-ton State Forest (includes Starve Hollow Beach SRA), 3-7 p.m. (EST) - 2.5 miles southeast of Brownstown on State Road 250. Phone: 812-358-2160.
•Saturday, April 22: Harrison-Crawford State Forest, noon-3 p.m. (EDT) - 11 miles west of Corydon. Phone 812-738-7694.
•Tuesday, April 25: Owen-Putnam State Forest, 3-7 p.m. (EST) - 6 miles west of Spencer on State Road 46. Phone 812-829-2462.
•Saturday, April 29: Clark State Forest (includes Deam Lake SRA), 11 a.m.-3 p.m. (EDT) - one mile north of Henryville on State Road 31. Phone 812-294-4306.

For more information or detailed directions, call the State Forest office at the number listed above.

Published in the January 25, 2006 issue of Farm World.

1/25/2006