Evan Bontrager speaks about the Pumkinvine Nature Trail and the wonderful recreational opportunity it offers for Michiana's bike riders.


President Elect Ellen Janowsky presided. Special Sergeants from the Interact Club fined members raising funds for their upcoming service trip to Costa Rica. They did this by quizzing members on their knowledge of San Jose and Costa Rica.

The speaker was Evan Bontrager. He chairs the Pumpkinvine Bike Ride Fundraiser that runs this Saturday, June 15, to raise funds to complete the rails-to-trails project from Goshen through Middlebury to Shipshewana. He also chairs the Maplecity Bicycle Advisory Committee, which works with city planners on bicycle and pedestrian infrastructure.

While several Rotarians indicated they would be riding the Pumpkinvine, Evan encouraged everyone. He talked about the Pumpkinvine’s history and Rails-to-Trails as a national transportation network. It turns out that these trails go far beyond recreation because they are also used for work commuting, commerce, and as linear quiet parks.

Evan stressed that trails can have a large impact on commerce especially when proper signage is provided for riders to direct traffic. While he could talk about the health reasons, and the intangibles like meeting tourist riders from Wisconsin and New York on the trail this past weekend, he wanted hard numbers for local officials. That’s why a trail riding count will be conducted on several portions of the Pumpkinvine and MapleHeart Trails in August and September. Evan hoped to combine that information with several other bike advocacy groups to work on building a better regional pedal infrastructure.