Lake County, IN – Trail Expansion Connects Merrillville to Regional Network, 100th Mile Milestone


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Lake County, IN – A major celebration took place as Governor Eric Holcomb and local officials inaugurated the newest section of the C&O Trail, connecting Merrillville to the broader regional trail network. This extension, part of the Next Level Trails (NLT) program, signifies the completion of the 100th mile in this statewide initiative. 

The trail expansion, funded by a $2.23 million grant, spans 2.82 miles and enhances access to scenic routes and local communities throughout northwest Indiana.

According to the Indiana Department of Natural Resources, this collaborative project between Merrillville and Lake County is a critical component in linking various existing trails, including the Oak Savannah Trail to the expansive 17.7-mile Erie Lackawanna Trail. Rick Bella, president of the Merrillville Town Council, lauded the project as a perfect example of regional cooperation spurred by the NLT funding.

Jim Basala, CEO of Lake County Parks, expressed enthusiasm about the new trail section, encouraging residents and visitors to explore the increased recreational opportunities it provides. The NLT, initiated as part of Governor Holcomb’s Next Level Connections framework, has now invested $180 million in trail development across Indiana, fostering substantial community and environmental benefits.


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