Unravel the Syracuse-Wawasee Trail’s Path to the Future

Trails highlight the vibrance of a community. They offer an irresistible path that discloses the beauty of locals and their culture, and of majestic water and nature views. A journey to a trail, be it a walk, a hike, or by bike will never fail to energize you physically and mentally, and win a piece of your heart with every visit.

Syracuse, Indiana boasts over 12 miles of walking/bicycle trails—the Syracuse-Wawasee Trail. Currently, it connects Syracuse, Syracuse Lake, and the northern part of Indiana’s largest iconic natural lake, the stunning Lake Wawasee. Aside from wetlands, the trail will also lead you to downtown shops, parks, the community center, history museum, and so much more.

The Syracuse-Wawasee Trail Committee helps maintain and further develop the trail to make it a major destination where people can discover the beautiful community of Syracuse more.


Newest Section: The Conklin Bay Boardwalk and Trail

It was in 2015 when the vision to develop the Conklin Bay Boardwalk and Trail started. After relentless efforts, grants were received, and there was no stopping the committee from making their vision a reality. Despite some challenges and adjustments to the original plans, in May 2020, the new trail was finally opened—adding about 1.37 miles to the formerly 11-miles of trails.

One notable thing about the trail is its uniqueness because it includes wetlands. One-third of a mile is a wetland boardwalk that goes through the Rolland Wetland Conservation Area. There are four overlook areas that offer the perfect spots for nature enthusiasts to observe the natural lake ecosystem. Continuing south, the trail will lead you to two-thirds of a mile of concrete trail along SR 13, going to the Wawasee Area Conservancy Foundation (WACF) nature preserves, and then finally ending at the Grandview Drive. The Conklin Bay Boardwalk and Trail connects to the Harkless Drive.

There is unlimited potential to the heights of development possible. This feat paved the way to bigger plans for the trails.


The Trail’s Bright Future

The Trails Committee kicked off a feasibility study in March 2020 in partnership with USI Consultants Inc. Options for expansion and connection of the existing trail system, expanding connectivity to neighborhoods, parks, and businesses, and provision of safe routes for the exploration of Lake Wawasee were looked into. It took 6 months for the report to be completed.

It’s exciting to think about doubling your outdoor adventures on the trail with three new proposed sections, or an additional 12.4 miles of future trail development.

Quick Overview of Proposed Trail Sections

The map above shows the proposed trail development. On the western side is a yellow dotted trail—proposed Trail Section 1. This has 4 segments that will provide connectivity to the new athletic fields on Kern Road, and continue south to connect with the existing path at Syracuse Elementary School, until it reaches CR 1200 N. Segments will also include the Syracuse-Webster Road and Chicago Street.

Proposed Trail Section 2 (in purple) has 6 segments. It will pick up from where Conklin Bay ends, continue south to the Wawasee Middle School (the only school which is not yet connected to the trail system), and around Lake Wawasee to the public boat launch.

On the east side of the lake, proposed Trail Section 3 (in magenta) goes from Hatchery Road to Turkey Creek Road to connect residents on the north and east side of Lake Wawasee with the lake’s public access point. It will continue to Wawasee Drive, CR 1250 N, and then to Bishop Road. A short but important connection will be established from CR 1290 N to the existing trail.

Depending on funding, these sections can be implemented individually or combined. Route alternatives which may be considered as supplements or replacements to the primary route alignments are also included in the report.

The more exciting part of the plan? Executive Director Erlene Yentes disclosed that in the long term, the Committee considers not only expanding the trail in this community, but to potentially even connect it with North Webster.

Coinciding with this vision, North Webster is currently working on building a 4-mile section in town, and is aiming to get a trail to the Wawasee Middle School—something that the Trail Committee has been eyeing on, as well. Feasibility studies are also taking place in the Towns of Milford, Etna Green, and the City of Warsaw. Connecting communities is a huge, and welcome development that will definitely enhance the public’s quality of living and economic opportunities.


You Can Help Make This Development Plan Come True

There are a handful of things you can do to help unravel the Syracuse-Wawasee Trail’s next level of beauty and growth.

The Trail Committee is asking for insights from residents, trail users, and businesses to polish the strategic plan. Simply answer the survey on their website. Your inputs are vital in achieving a connected community. Likewise, the Committee relies on public support for maintenance and operations so your donations will go a long way. Last year, an annual fundraiser was conducted; the next one is scheduled in August at the Blue Barn Farm & Event Center—stay tuned!

Expanding the trails is near and dear to our hearts. Our very own Angie Racolta is actually a member of the Trail Committee! We believe that a home is more than a residential structure—it’s all about the community. With the Syracuse-Wawasee Trail’s future development, one will simply find more reasons to keep on falling in love with Syracuse. We are beyond excited to see these plans manifest so everyone can experience just how “life is better on the trails!”

Looking for a home in Syracuse? We can help you find the perfect home. Contact The RGroup today!

*All photos courtesy of the Syracuse-Wawasee Trail Commitee

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