Some landowners fighting planned Wabash River Trail

Some northern Indiana landowners are opposing plans to build a 33-mile recreational trail along the Wabash River.

Organizers of the proposal want the Wabash River Trail to eventually follow the river between Peru and Huntington. A small trail section has been completed in the town of Lagro, along with a boat launch, public restrooms and a pavilion.

Trail organization attorney Mark Frantz said the next section for development would be between Lagro and Wabash. He said planners are now looking for willing landowners and want the trail to draw people to the area.

But attorney Dustin Kern told the Kokomo Tribune that some landowners in Miami County want seclusion and not more people in their backyards.

“Farmers and landowners have a lot of pride in their property and what they've worked for,” said Kern. “They don’t want people on their property.”

Kern requested last week that the Miami County Board of Commissioners sign a pledge to ensure they won't use eminent domain to take land to build the trail. He also asked officials to prohibit construction of the path.

Commissioner Josh Francis said the board will review Kern’s requests.

“I don’t have any problem with trails, but I think they should be done with some guidelines,” Francis said.

Frantz said his organization doesn’t intend to build the trail where it’s not wanted.

“Where the trail goes will ultimately be up to which landowners are willing to allow the trail to be on their property, both in Miami County and Wabash County,” Frantz said. “We have indicated from the beginning that routing the trail will be a collaborative effort between willing landowners and city and county entities.”

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