A long-planned recreational trail between Kickapoo State Park just northwest of Danville and the city of Urbana moved significantly closer to reality this week with the state’s announcement it had purchased the final piece of property for the project.
The Kickapoo Trail will be a 10-foot wide path that roughly follows 30-mile right of way of the old interurban tracks from Danville through Oakwood, Muncie and Fithian in Vermilion County and Ogden and St. Joseph in Champaign County before it ends in Urbana. The route largely runs parallel to U.S. Route 150.
The path not only will provide recreational opportunities for hikers, bicyclists and others, but will serve as an economic opportunity for the counties and communities through which it passes.
The trail will be a great addition to the recreational areas already in place in Vermilion County. In addition to Kickapoo State Park, there is the Middle Fork National Scenic River and the recreational area associated with it; Harry “Babe” Woodyard State Recreational area near Georgetown; and the Vermilion County Conservation District’s parks: Kennekuk County Park west of Danville, Forest Glen Preserve east of Westville, Herron County Park and its wetlands northwest of Danville; and Lake Vermilion County Park.
Each of these offer unique opportunities to those who enjoy being outdoors, such as camping, hiking, picnic areas, fishing, mountain bike trails, exhibits and special events. All of these are within 150 miles of metropolitan areas such as Indianapolis, Springfield and Chicago, with St. Louis and Cincinnati just 200 miles or so away.
It’s easy to see the kind of economic potential this new trail will add to the existing facilities. Its construction should start in the spring. That’s good news for all involved.