The long awaited, much anticipated construction that will close the gap in the Pumpkinvine Nature Trail between County Road 20 and County Road 33 has started. All the permits from the relevant environmental agencies have been obtained and the contract for construction has been signed with the Pulver Asphalt Paving Inc., Albion, Ind., the same company that built the last section of the Pumpkinvine between County Road 35 and County Road 37. The Timber Bridge over Pine Creek will be done by R. Yoder Construction of Nappanee Ind.
After five years of negotiating, the Friends of the Pumpkinvine purchased the land for the trail route from five families on June 26, 2017 and donated it to Elkhart County Parks in April 2018. In those 10 months, the Friends of the Pumpkinvine and Elkhart County Parks worked out the details of the trail’s route, the location of vegetation screening, fencing for horses, water access for livestock and easements for the landowners to cross the completed trail. In addition, because the trail is to be built close to the south fork of Pine Creek, it was necessary to obtain environmental permits from the Elkhart County drainage board, the Indiana Department of Natural Resources, the Indiana Department of Environmental Management and the Army Corp of Engineers – a process that took almost nine months.
Since April, there have been further discussions about the construction documents with JPR, the firm hired for engineering, the easements across the trail, the details of a proposed overpass and the requirements of a conservation easement that was a part of the grant the Friends of the Pumpkinvine received from the Bicentennial Nature Trust of Indiana Department of Natural Resources to help pay for the purchase of the land.