The 10k volksmarch at Spring Mill State Park, has been named one of the country’s top 10 organized walks as a result of a poll of the members of the clubs of the American Volkssport Association, which host more than 1,700 self-guided trails in the United States.

The organization’s walks go through a wide variety of areas, from national parks to quaint towns to exciting cities. Wendy Bumgardner, who writes a column on walking for the Web site About.com conducted the poll, asking a select group of the association’s members about their favorite walks of 2007.

Don Vartanian, president of the Indiana Volkssport Association, said that the ranking was well deserved.

“It’s a very enjoyable walk with lots of natural beauty,” he said. “The pioneer village gives a good feel for our Indiana heritage and I find that most interesting while doing my walk.

“It is one of my favorite walks and I would encourage anyone to add Spring Mill State Park to their list of places to go.”

Bumgardner’s article described the Spring Mill walk, which is available year round, as “a lovely hike in southern Indiana” that goes through “a virgin forest, along a stream, by sinkholes and caves, a restored pioneer village and grist mill. The walk starts at a charming inn worth a stay.”

The inn is the Spring Mill Inn at the state park in Mitchell.

Top spot went to the Grand Canyon, Ariz.; followed in order by the waterfront in Honolulu, Hawaii; West Point, N.Y.; World Forestry Center in Portland, Ore.; Garden of the Gods, Colorado Springs, Colo.; Virginia City, Mont.; Mackinaw City, Mich.; and Truckee River Trail, Reno, Nev.

To access the entire article, see walking.about.com/od/trails/a/topten2007.htm.

For more information about Spring Mill State Park and Spring Mill Inn, call (812) 849-4129 or go to dnr.IN.gov/parklake/properties/parkres.html.



The Indiana Park and Recreation Association (IPRA) honored the Fort Wayne Parks and Recreation Department at its annual state convention in Indianapolis on Wednesday, January 16, 2008.

Director Al Moll accepted the prestigious Essential Services Award in Health and Fitness for the Department’s Lifetime Sports Academy program.

“The IPRA award is very meaningful to the Department, as it is verification from our peers that LSA truly is the outstanding program we know it to be,” said Moll. “And thanks to a successful public-private partnership that funds it, LSA continues to grow as it offers free instruction in golf, tennis and swimming to kids of all backgrounds and income levels.”

The Lifetime Sports Academy teaches the basic, intermediate and advanced skills in the lifetime sports of golf, tennis and swimming.  Group lessons focus on skill development, training and participation and are taught by certified coaches and highly trained professionals and volunteers.  The summer program, located at McMillen Park, is open at no cost to all youth ages 8-18.  It offers kids from all backgrounds the chance to become friends and teammates in a supportive environment.

Through the past decade, 13,720 students have registered for a total attendance of over 100,000. This successful public-private partnership has ushered in many improvements to the McMillen Park neighborhood in addition to providing great summer activities for many underserved youth.

The Waynedale News Staff
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