(This piece was originally published on October 1, 2017 in the Herald Bulletin.)

More than 100 bicyclists from across the state rode through Madison and Delaware counties Saturday to promote the proposed Mounds Greenway project.

Participants in the third annual Ride for the Mounds traveled near the potential greenway route along the west fork of the White River to see existing trails, woodlands and resources along the route.

Tim Maloney, senior policy director at the Hoosier Environmental Council, said attendance for this year’s ride was nearly double last year’s, showing interest in the greenway is growing.

“It’s just one of the many indications that the greenway idea is catching on,” Maloney said.

The greenway proposal would preserve White River as a free-flowing river and conserve 2,300 acres. Maloney has previously said the estimated cost is between $15 million and $40 million, depending on land acquisition costs.

The greenway proposal is being presented as an alternative to the Mounds Lake Reservoir project, which would dam the river and create a reservoir near Anderson.

Along with conserving land, Maloney said a greenway would offer economic and quality-of-life incentives for local residents, as well as connect trails in Muncie to Indianapolis.

The HEC is currently talking with landowners in Chesterfield to begin a trail system that would connect Mounds State Park to trails around Anderson Municipal Airport.

“I think this would be great for this part of Indiana, and I am confident people here will support that,” Maloney said.

Anton Schauerte, a student at Ball State University, said she would like to see trails connecting the Cardinal Greenway in Muncie to Madison County and Indianapolis.

“I like to do long-distance rides, and going to Indianapolis for a weekend is ideal,” Schauerte said. “I would really like to see a trail system to Indy.”

Lynne Stallings celebrated her birthday with her family at the ride, saying she wanted to support the project.

“It’s family, fun, and all for a really a good cause,” Stallings said of the event.

Denise Kelley, who lives in Muncie, said she often rides along the Cardinal Greenway, and would use the Mounds Greenway as a way to extend her rides.

“If there’s a way to make it even better, to expand it, then I am for it,” she said. “I would absolutely use it.”

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