By John Yoder
Elkhart resident Robert Carrico, a member of the Friends of the Pumpkinvine Nature Trail board of directors, received the 2021 Outstanding Trail Advocate award from the Indiana Greenways Foundation at the organization’s virtual Annual Luncheon, April 29, 2021. The foundation gives this award each year to the trail advocate who has demonstrated outstanding leadership in promoting trails in Indiana.
Bob joined the Friends of Pumpkinvine Nature Trail board in 1995, and since then, he has filled multiple roles as the Friends worked to buy and develop the Pumpkinvine Nature Trail between Goshen, Middlebury and Shipshewana. He was the first and only webmaster for www.pumpkinvine.org and also served as vice-president, secretary and trail operations manager. In that latter role, he has worked in partnership with the trail’s managing agencies to help with trail maintenance like filling the cracks in the trail’s asphalt surface every spring to make the surface smoother for riders.
He also took the initiative to plant wildflowers in open areas along the trail where the trail has diverged from the old railroad bed. The result is that there are numerous spectacular patches of wildflowers along the trail that are a visual feast for trail users.
As a member of the Pumpkinvine Bike Ride committee, he has been involved in planning routes for the ride, painting turn signals at corners, setting up tents at the rest stops and storing ride equipment like coolers in the basement of his home. Since the first Friends’ ride in 2000, the bike ride has raised over $150,000, funds that have been critical for purchasing land, trail improvements and the day-to-day expenses of the Friends of the Pumpkinvine Nature Trail, Inc.
Bob also has been a member of the Pumpkinvine Advisory Committee, the interagency group made up of the head of the trails four managing agencies that meets every other month to formulate common trail policies and discuss any trail issues.
“Bob’s contribution to the beauty, sustainability, visibility and physical soundness of the Pumpkinvine Nature Trail has been a gift of time and talent that deserves recognition,” said John Yoder, board member of the Greenways Foundation and former president of the Friends of the Pumpkinvine. “He has helped to make the Pumpkinvine Nature Trail much more enjoyable and attractive than it would be without his dedication and hard work.”
The Greenways Foundation is a statewide, charitable trust providing leadership and advocacy in the growth and use of Indiana greenways and trails. A video of Carrico receiving the award is available here: 2021 Trail Advocate Award to Robert Carrico. Additional Images of Robert Carrico.