I attended a very interesting forum last night held by Purdue University’s Center for Regional Development.
Approximately 60 people from Crawford, Dubois, Orange, Perry, Pike and Spencer County developed lists of strengths and weaknesses and the unique challenges faced by the counties that comprise Indiana’s Region 15 Planning Commission.
It will be several months before the results of this forum will be compiled into a plan of action for Region 15, but it was not surprising that one consensus strength of this region is tourism. In addition to the top attractions of Holiday World and French Lick there are many other smaller attractions such as wineries, parks and forests, camping, boating, horseback riding, golf, excursion trains and zip lines just to name a few.
It pointed out to me the value the trails project in Santa Claus brings to the table.
Trails, in addition to being a tourist attraction in and of themselves, can provide connectivity of existing tourist destinations as well as encourage the development of additional attractions along those trails. This represents additional revenue for the region and a method of stimulating moderate growth.
It is not far-fetched to envision a future where the entire Region 15 area is interconnected with a series of biking and hiking paths adding to the tourist experience in the woods and hills of Southern Indiana.
John Bowen, President
Trails of Santa Claus, Inc.