Keeping It Clear: How the Fishing Line Trail is Maintained
As you might imagine, taking care of eight and a half miles of trail is no easy task. When there are limbs down, mowing that needs to be done, or trash that needs to be picked up, it’s primarily volunteers who jump in and do the work.
Noble Trails does have one part-time employee who helps with some of the work. Gary Whonsetler works five to seven hours a week mowing, blowing and trimming sections of the trail. He focuses on a section at a time, taking care of what needs to be done.
Some sections of the trail are outlined with a gravel shoulder, which naturally keeps the grass and weeds at bay. Others, however, need the shoulders mowed occasionally to keep the vegetation from encroaching on the trail.
To help with these tasks, Noble Trails owns a mower, weed trimmer, hopper, broom, rake, air compressor and a trailer. Volunteers supply other equipment from their own personal collections, often bringing out chainsaws, axes, tree trimmers and other items to take on the work that needs to be done.
If you see trucks driving down the trail, it could be Lynn Spidel or Mike Friskney pulling a large blower up and down each section to clear it of leaves and debris. Occasionally you’ll see a truck and trailer out as trail volunteers haul items around to maintain and improve the trails. Outside of these authorized exceptions, there are no vehicles allowed on the trail.
The trails were cleaned of trash and tires several times this year by volunteers. The Kendallville Rotary club pitched in twice, pulling tires, car parts and furniture out of the ravines on the sides of the trail. On one occasion, Rotary filled a 30 yard dumpster (supplied by Kendallville Iron and Metal) in just a few hours of work!
The one maintenance item Noble Trails does not do is clear the trails of snow. If the trails are snow covered, it could be slippery to be out on them, so use caution. So, when the snow is deep, feel free to pull out your cross country skis. If you plan to run, walk or bike the trail, it’s best to wait until the snow has melted and the pavement is clear.
Keeping the trails clean is everyone’s responsibility. If you take items with you on the trail, please take them with you when you leave. Water bottles and food wrappers left by the sides of the trail mar the beauty of our linear park, and can be dangerous for wildlife.
Many times, we rely on the public to spot trouble areas on the trail. We appreciate Facebook messages about downed trees that need cleaned up after a storm. The Noble Trails committee can’t be out all the time, and we are grateful that others are looking out after the trail as well. Noble Trails is actively seeking additional volunteers to help with trail maintenance, such as clearing downed trees and limbs. If you are interested in helping, download a volunteer waiver form at www.nobletrails.org/volunteers and email it to