Trail Info: Wabash and Erie Canal
Located at the far northern edge of Wesselman Park, stretching "originally" from the Boonville Trail in the nature preserve to the tennis court area on the north western edge of the park. You can enter from the north parking area as noted on the map, there is a large trail opening there that heads up towards the canal and splits east and west. I grew up in these woods as a kid, it's nice to see that the trails are still active and in use, though they are a lot different than I remember them. Nature has reclaimed a lot of the trails that were once there. The longest trail was right next to the canal, The "Berm" as it is on the Boonville Trail in the nature preserve, it ran the entire length of the canal up to the tennis court area, the trail made a left and ended up at the back fence of the tennis courts. The trail is only a third of it's original length but has branched out a bit. There was a ravine that I would ride my bike down, it is still part of the eastern most trail and that's good to see. Seems that lack of foot traffic allowed nature to reclaim most of the southwestern end, which is sad because there used to be a wetland type area directly behind the tennis courts that would fill with water during the spring. The same type of "spring lake" exists in the nature preserve. Although there is still a cut path between the railroad and Tennis court.
The canal itself was rich with wildlife, cattails and tadpoles made this place fun to be around as a kid. I think this is a nice little trail system that really needs to be returned to it's original glory, - Tim
Note, As a lad you would see people walking down the tracks all the time coming from Stockwell to Boeke and never thought twice about it. I walked these tracks again some 20 years later and I dont quite get a comfortable feeling. People in their yards seemed on edge. I hear it's an abandoned railroad now. Times are different, that is for sure. Final note : This trail has educational potential, It is also part of my childhood past. I will help clear the trails that are overgrown.
Update: 01-15-05 I wandered through the trails today since it's alot easier to deal with in the winter when the brush is dormant. Looks like the trails are still there on the west end, but they are very narrow and would not be accesable due to over growth.They need to be widened a bit. Mother nature has claimed alot of the bigger hardwood trees also, alot of them cover the original canal trail. I guess if enough trees fall on a trail, it becomes a useless path. Still a nice hike.
Update: 05-20-07 Did some work on the west end, cleaned up the existing trails and blazed a new loop path. Trail is clear as far as debris, cut away all the treefall that made the trail impassable. Also Updated the map for the new trail section. ENJOY!!
Headed out to the west end of the woods today to balze new trails for the nature portion of the trail. added some wooden crossings. Had fun but it was alot of work. had a few chain saw problems but I prevailed. Made lots of progress.
Headed back out to the trails today to see how they looked after a week. Looking good so far. went around with a trash bag and picked up a lot of trash, also added some steps in a muddy area.
Today my son and I built some birdhouses to be placed along the nature
We built a few variety of homes.
Robin Shelf, Colony house, wren & finch, sparrow.
Today we finished the signs, we have 18 interpretive signs we are getting
ready to place along the trail system along with the bird houses we made. The
nature portion of the trail should be complete.
Work on the Wabash and Erie part of the system should begin around August.
Checked on the signs today, looks like they aren't as waterproof as I hoped they would be. 85% are still holding up but some have small leaks.
I designed them to be replaceable, looks like I'm going to have to redo a few of them. I'm also going to try to leave out any colors and just stick with black and white copies. I used a green color that washed away fairly quick.
If I could afford it, I would laminate them. But right now I'll just replace them and learn from trial and error.
Finally got around to laying mulch on the nature trail today. took me about
6hrs to do it but it ws worth it. this area is very spiritual to me so i have a
passion for the hard work it takes to keep it up. I'm learning all kinds of
things about trail maintenance that i never really would have imagined 2 or
three years ago. the signs I've made for the trail
have tought me alot about moisture, sunlight and ozone. The types of materials used have opened my eyes to the world of vandelism. most of the signs were made of scrap materials at almost no cost to me, I figured there would be some vandelism in an unprotected area, so I didn't want to spend a whole lot on signs that I figured would disappear anyway.
I tried a few different things just to see how they would hold up to the weather, so went well and some not so well. One thing I won't use again is plexiglas. Most of the small signs I made were either kicked or stomped on. All I found were the pcs of most of them.
I still have nine interpretive signs that I need to put up for the
Wabash and Erie portion
of the trail. Eagle Scout Dillion Daniels has already placed two large signs on the entrance to the trail and they look very professionally done.
It's been a long road to this point, but it's been worth it.
Southern Indiana Trails BLOG