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The Department of Natural Resources (DNR), in collaboration with the towns of Whitestown and Zionsville, celebrated the opening of two new sections of the Big 4 Trail today.

This celebration signifies the successful completion of two adjacent trail projects. In Zionsville, the town constructed a 1.79-mile asphalt multi-use trail with the assistance of a $1,812,295 Next Level Trails (NLT) grant, which was awarded in March 2021 during the grant program’s second round. In Whitestown, the town extended the trail 1.54 miles, thanks to a $1,163,590 NLT grant announced in April 2022 during the program’s third round.

“Through Next Level Trails, Governor Holcomb set a priority to foster connections among and between communities,” said DNR Director Dan Bortner. “Today the Big 4 Trail is providing a new connection between Whitestown and Zionsville, doing exactly what this program was created to do.”

The two trail projects intersect at Whitestown Road and East County Road 400 South, the town boundaries. From there, Zionsville's new trail extends east to Heritage Trail Park, where it connects with the existing Big 4 Trail. Heading south, NLT funds extended the trail from Starkey Avenue to Zionsville Road. The project includes a new trailhead near the Vonterra neighborhood.

“We are beyond excited to complete our two trail extension projects and join Whitestown along the Boone County Big-4 Rail Trail,” said Jarod Logsdon, superintendent of Zionsville Parks and Recreation. “Residents can now enjoy 9 miles of connected, multi-use travel between our two communities, visiting various shops, restaurants, and parks. We welcome visitors and trail enthusiasts to begin their journey with us at the Zionsville Road trailhead and explore the charm and character across Boone County.”

West of the town boundaries, Whitestown's recently completed NLT project links with the existing Big 4 Trail just east of Albert South White Drive. The existing trail continues for 1.7 miles through the town until it meets the western segment of the newly constructed trail at County Road 575 East, ultimately ending at County Road 500 East.

“The connection between Whitestown and Zionsville represents a joint effort between local governments, community organizations, and generous supporters, all committed to enhancing connectivity and promoting active lifestyles within our community,” said Whitestown Parks director Dominic Cornett.

With both sections finished, the contiguous Big 4 Trail connecting Whitestown and Zionsville spans nearly 9 miles.

As part of the governor’s Next Level Connections initiative, NLT is the largest infusion of trails funding in state history. The now $180 million program is administered by the DNR and facilitates critical trail connections within and between Hoosier communities. To date, NLT has awarded $150 million to 75 projects across the state. Thirty million dollars will be awarded in fourth round of the program, with award announcements expected in December.

To date, 26 NLT projects are complete, totaling more than 81 miles of new trail open to the public. An additional 13 projects are actively under construction, with more projects slated to break ground later this year.

More information about NLT is at on.IN.gov/NextLevelTrails.

To view more DNR news releases, please see dnr.IN.gov.

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