Thursday, August 17th, 2017

Forks gets grant to tie Ehler Island to property

Posted: Thursday, February 14, 2013

The Historic Forks of the Wabash board of directors received a $56,000 grant from the Indiana Department of Natural Resources in conjunction with the Wabash River Heritage Corridor Commission on Tuesday, February 5. The grant will be used to develop an uninhabited island, owned by the Forks, and tie it to its property by a walking path and footbridge.

The island to be developed is known as Ehler Island for the family that once owned it. A narrow channel separates it from the Forks of the Wabash property. It is located south of the Forks at U.S.-24 and Ind.-9 and is separated from River Road by the Wabash River.

Plans for the island include campsites that will be available to canoeists and kayakers who are traveling down the Wabash River. Visitors to the Forks will also be able to walk the island.

The Historic Forks board was required to provide a 20 percent match for the project and the Huntington County Community Foundation made a $4,000 grant that is counting as part of that match. The $10,000 balance of the local match will come in the form of in-kind donations of labor, use of equipment and other items used in the construction of the project.

The work is expected to begin in the spring and will include the construction of a paved trail beginning near an outdoor pavilion on the Forks property leading to a footbridge over the channel. The southeast end of the island will be developed for campsites that will have no amenities. A launch site for watercraft such as kayaks and canoes will also be constructed.

The Forks grant is one among five totaling $420,983 awarded through the Wabash River Heritage Corridor Commission. The remaining grants will be used to develop facilities in other parks in the state. The funds come from royalties for oil and minerals extracted from beneath the Wabash River and 19 counties located along the Wabash River, Little River and the historic portage to the Maumee River can apply for the funds.