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September 3, 2013

Public's input sought on trails

Rep. Friend wants residents' opinions on possibility of a user fee.

State Representative Bill Friend, R-Macy, is seeking the public’s input on the state’s recreational trails.

Recently, Friend addressed the Natural Resources Study Committee about issues affecting the trails.

“Indiana has roughly 3,000 miles of recreational trails with no visible means of support,” Friend said, according to a press release. “Without a funding mechanism in place to repair and maintain our trail systems, future Hoosiers might not have the opportunity to enjoy them.”

During the meeting, he requested input from the Department of Natural Resources, bicyclists and trail-users on suggestions for how to fund the maintenance and upkeep of Indiana’s recreational trails. He requested public opinion on establishing a user-fee, administered by the DNR, which would generate revenue for an Indiana Trail Maintenance Fund.

“I hope to hear from those that utilize the recreational trails with ideas or suggestions on how together; we can maintain our recreational trails so that we can continue to enjoy them as well as future Hoosiers,” Friend said.

Friend urged the DNR to establish a statewide trail policy to address six major concerns:

• Establish what law enforcement entity has the authority to enforce jurisdiction on the trails.

• Develop criteria regarding the width of the right-a-way on the trails.

• Establish who is responsible for the upkeep (vegetation, signage, etc…) on the trails.

• Establish who is responsible for paving, maintaining and repairing the trails.

• Establish who is liable when medical incidents or other situations occur on the trails.

• Establish a good-neighbor policy as a means of conflict resolution to prevent disagreements from going through the court system.

Those wishing to comment may contact Friend at h23@iga.in.gov.

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