By MEGAN MCCLELLAN
Executive Director, Syracuse-Wawasee Trail Committee
Syracuse-Wawasee Trail is moving south. Though the trails committee has been working on trails for 10 years, the majority of these trails are sidewalk style trails in the city of Syracuse and around Syracuse Lake.
The Miller Family Foundation is helping to continue the trail south by donating $50,000 toward construction of a trail going south from Harkless Drive toward Waco Drive. The foundation is also willing to match dollar-for-dollar community contributions up to another $50,000.
One of the barriers to continuing the trail on the south side of the lake is SR 13. Right next to SR 13, however, is a golden opportunity, the beautiful Conklin Bay wetlands. SR 13 is not only a barrier to safe walking and bicycling but also to enjoyment of these wetlands.
The trails committee, together with the Wawasee Area Conservancy Foundation, has started making plans to create a boardwalk through the wetlands from SR 13 (near Harkless Drive) to the WACF sign and then parallel to SR 13 on WACF’s property. There are plans for educational signage on the boardwalk, while keeping it wide enough for bikers and walkers from the southern side of Lake Wawasee to make it up to Syracuse in a much safer manner. This is also the first step in an off-road connection from Syracuse to the Wawasee Middle School.
Though this part of the trail will be beautiful, educational and very useful, it will not be cheap. The Miller family understands the promise of this section of trail. In order to get the additional $50,000, however, the community needs to show their commitment to the trails as well.
Here is where the community comes in. When any person or organization makes a tax-deductible donation between now and March 1 the effect of each donation will be doubled. A $100 donation will be worth $200 of beautiful trail. In order to make a donation, go to the trail’s website: syracusewawaseetrails.com where you can donate online or print off a donation slip you can mail with a check. While there you can also sign up for the new quarterly newsletter and “like” them on Facebook.
Miller Family Foundation is a non-profit organization established to benefit the arts, sciences and learning, improve the environment and inspire future generations. Syracuse-Wawasee Trail Committee is part of the Syracuse-Wawasee Park Foundation, a 501(c)3 not-for-profit foundation. The committee is a volunteer advisory group helping coordinate the planning, construction and maintenance of local trails located on city and county property.