The Bontrager Family Foundation has awarded the Friends of the Pumpkinvine a $25,000 matching grant toward the cost of construction of the Pumpkinvine Nature Trail between County Road 20 and County Road 35. In other words, the Family Foundation will match other trail-development donations – dollar for dollar – up to a total of $25,000. “Via this grant, the Bontrager Family Foundation has offered a powerful incentive to other prospective donors to invest in the closure of this remaining ‘gap’ in the Trail between Middlebury and Goshen,” said John Ferguson, Friends board member. The estimated cost for this .5-mile segment is $600,000, with all but approximately $55,000 of this amount having been already pledged or received.
“We as a family appreciate the Pumpkinvine Trail as it offers recreation opportunities for the community and transportation routes for Jayco’s and other’s employees,” said Wilbur Bontrager, Jayco chairman. It enhance safety for those that otherwise would ride on our roadways. We as a family feel it’s become a valued community asset and
also needs to be completed through several more critical areas.” Jayco, Inc. founders, Lloyd and Bertha Bontrager,
had committed themselves to supporting local causes even before founding the company in 1968. Sons Wilbur and Derald, with other Bontrager family members and their Jayco colleagues, continued their generous support of numerous causes through the years. The Bontrager Family Foundation was launched following the sale of Jayco to Thor Industries. “We wanted to continue our ability to support charities as we have in the past,” said Wilbur Bontrager, a member of the second of three generations of Bontragers now involved with the Family Foundation.
“Personally, I love the Pumpkinvine Trail,” said Jason Bontrager, a third generation Bontrager family member. “I use it on average two-three times a week for biking, running, and walking during all four seasons. The Ridge Run Trail and the Essenhaus connector have been great additions, too, and I and many others are very grateful for them. It is such a great benefit to the communities of Middlebury and Goshen, not just for exercise but also as a much safer alternative to riding on roadways. I plan to bike even more on the Middlebury-to-Goshen route once the ‘gap’ is completed. In the future, I look forward to helping make our area safer for cyclists whether commuters or recreational riders. I hope other area trails, like the Friends of Quaker Trace Trail, can find ways to further connect our community by developing more trails like the Pumpkinvine!”
This donation from the Bontrager Family Foundation is a tangible way the family has chosen to express their appreciation for the Pumpkinvine Nature Trail as it is and to help close the gaps in the trail. The Friends of the Pumpkinvine are very grateful for their vision and community spirit.