On Tuesday, the Indiana Department of Natural Resources (DNR) reached an agreement, in principle, to purchase more than 150 miles of abandoned railroad corridors in the state.
The DNR is working with the owners of the former Penn Central Rail Line to purchase the lines, which are in segments spread across 39 Indiana counties, including Clay County.
There are currently 173 miles of rail-trails throughout the state, and this purchase would nearly double that amount.
In a press release from the DNR, the abandoned rail lines and accompanying land would be given to local governments and not-for-profit groups for future expansions of walking/bike trails.
According to DNR Director Robert E. Carter, Jr., there are 12 rail parcels, totaling 55 acres, from north of the Eel River south into Clay City with another parcel near Cory on the Clay/Vigo line.
Carter said the Clay County segments will be donated to the Clay County Commissioners as long as a recreational trail plan is in place. Greenways Foundation of Indiana has offered their services who wish to start a rail committee.
The DNR will also assist funding for trail development and pavement, as they have received a $1.25 million from Lilly Endowment, Inc., for additional construction on five multi-use trails.
Surrounding counties which also will have new rail-trail segments include Greene, Owen, Parke and Vigo counties.