The 2,300 acres of forest and wetlands near the White River will be more prominent than ever on Sept. 24 as Hoosier Environmental Council hosts its annual Ride for the Mounds.
The Ride for the Mounds will start from Canoe Country in Daleville and will be offering three different bike rides that last 15, 30 or 45 miles. Two of the three rides will pass through Muncie.
The event will also feature food and refreshments before and after the ride, as well as a raffle and a camp-out.
Michael Popa, an outreach associate for the Hoosier Environmental Council, said the event will help to raise awareness for the proposed Mounds Greenway, which would start at the Cardinal Greenway and run to Anderson.
“We wanted to… [provide] attendees an opportunity to see what the Mounds Greenway seeks to conserve,” Popa said.
The event took place last year despite some initial weather problems.
“There were storms early in the day, but by the time check-in began, the weather had cleared,” Popa said. “We ended up having a beautiful day for riding bikes.”
Even if it rains, the ride goes on, but Popa is not concerned.
“This Saturday’s forecast is looking excellent,” Popa said.
Ball State biology professor David LeBlanc said the Greenway is not the first proposal for the area.
“We were fighting against a proposal to build a dam in Anderson that would have flooded most of where this trail is going to be,” LeBlanc said. “Daleville and Yorktown rejected the proposal, which more or less killed the dam.”
The hope is that the Greenway will closely follow the White River.
“[It is] one of the better recreational amenities in this area,” LeBlanc said. “[It has] lots of tree cover and lots of birds and other animals to see.”
LeBlanc said the ride will support a project that he thinks Ball State students would be supportive of.
“I’ve seen many Ball State students walking, running, [and] riding bicycles on [the Cardinal] Greenway,” LeBlanc said. “This [new greenway] will… allow students to bicycle and skate and walk all the way to Anderson… and not have to be on the road and worrying about cars.”
The impact would be felt far beyond the university, however.
“This is how Delaware County starts to look like some of the counties near Indianapolis,” LeBlanc said. “It’s an effort to build what’s called quality of place here. … You build amenities that people want, and then people move here.”
LeBlanc said he believes the event will take place annually.
“Once the Greenway is in place, I wouldn’t be surprised if there was an annual event along the Greenway itself,” LeBlanc said.
For the moment, the aim is that what Popa describes as “a valuable natural amenity worth protecting and appreciating” will remain so.
“Ball State students should want Muncie to succeed,” Popa said. “By supporting projects that enhance quality of life in Muncie… students can play an active role making their city a better place.”