HAPPY TRAILS: Website details trails throughout Hancock County

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The Shirley Heritage Trail is one of the many trails featured on the new Hancock County Trails website.

HANCOCK COUNTY — Looking for a trail to run, walk or ride in Hancock County?

There’s a new website that can help.

The Community Foundation of Hancock County (CFHC), in partnership with Hancock Flat 50, recently launched a new Hancock County trails and parks website: trailsandparksINhancock.org.

The site features trails and parks throughout the county, including Cumberland, Fortville, Greenfield, New Palestine, McCordsville, Shirley and Wilkinson.

A description and Google map are provided for each trail that includes trail type, width and length, trailhead and parking locations and amenities. Park information includes hours of operation, restroom availability, sports opportunities, dog-friendly spaces and amenities like picnic tables and playgrounds.

The comprehensive website is the result of six years of collaboration among county, city and town representatives who started working on the Hancock County Trails Plan in 2017.

After an initial 18-month planning period, the implementation phase of the plan was launched in 2019.

According to the community foundation, volunteers have worked tirelessly to support trail expansion, safety signage, programming and promotion to bring the county-wide trail plan into fruition.

“This website is a vision that the team has had since our county trails plan was finalized in 2018,” said the community foundation’s president and CEO Mary Gibble.

“We have many residents and visitors who love to stay fit in the outdoors through walking, jogging and bicycling,” she said. “We are happy to share the trails and parks that Hancock County has to offer them as well as create policies that keep these individuals safe and honor residents who share the roads.”

Gibble thinks the website will be a great tool to encourage both residents and guests to get out and explore the county’s comprehensive system of trails.

Teri House Gottschalk, Hancock Health’s Healthy 365 Education navigator, agrees.

“A vibrant community is a healthy community,” said Gottschalk. “Walking, jogging, biking, or playing with kids and grandkids at a park are all great activities that help keep our families, neighbors and co-workers connected and healthy, both mentally and physically.”

The new trails website also serves as a tourism guide, encouraging users to get out and explore county trails and the places they lead, including local parks, nature reserves, historic sites, art features, shops and restaurants.