The White River Vision Plan is a joint effort between the City of Indianapolis and Hamilton County Tourism, Inc. in partnership with Visit Indy’s philanthropic arm, Tourism Tomorrow, Inc. to develop a comprehensive and coordinated regional, community-driven plan to enhance 58 miles of the White River in Marion and Hamilton counties. The goal of the vision plan is to create an accessible, recreational, and cultural environment that encourages a unique sense of place for the community as a whole.
The White River Vision Plan will be developed to promote:
As one of the largest Paddling Clubs in the state, the Hoosier Canoe and Kayak Club would like to collect the comments and opinions of its members and represent the club at at least one of the Public Input opportunities scheduled now through November 19th. Although these of course are open to the public, many of us have busy schedules and commitments that would prevent us from having that voice - but certainly if you are able to attend one of these meetings, we highly encourage you to go!
We've opened this forum topic so that our membership can provide comments/questions/suggestions for those of us that attend the meeting can collect and provide collectively as representatives of the club. Please feel free to check out the White River Vision Plan website here
We will be collecting all comments from this forum prior to the October 5th meetings at the Harrison Center in Indianapolis or Nickel Plate Arts in Noblesville.
Thank you for soliciting members' input. Will the resultant Club comments, recommendations, etc. be compiled into a document which is later distributed to us?
I attended the May 3rd kick-off and 2 of the 3 initial public meetings in July, and am pretty familiar with the approach and players.
Urbanization is a constant threat to the riparian (vegetated floodplain) corridor. The Club should advocate for Preservation, Protection and Restoration. While the institutional/agency promoters of this ""Vision Plan" have made many statements to the effect that Ecology is a primary goal, I'm skeptical (having actively engaged in local land use policy for over 40 years, many of them river-impacting. Basically, they seek to ramp up economic development and the attraction attributes for increased tourism. That's not "bad", but it might well conflict with the health of the river, and its desirability as a natural place, as particular sites are identified for development.
I'll have additional comments later.
Clarke Kahlo, 9-11-18
RIP Burt Reynolds and a cautionary tale:
Actor Reynolds was well known for several films, most notably Deliverance, 1972. He recently died and should be remembered for his outspoken views on natural heritage preservation— as emphasized at the very start of the film.
At the start of their foursome canoeing adventure, the “last chance to see the river” before it disappears, Bobby (Ned Beatty) dismisses Lewis’s (Reynolds’) angry condemnation of the impending dam which will imminently flood the Cahulawasse river valley just to “power more air conditioners in your smug little suburbs in Atlanta”, resulting, according to Lewis, in the wanton destruction of the river and its natural heritage.
Lewis: “… Talk about the vanishing wilderness.. They’re damming the river. Dammit, Bobby, they’re damming the river. They’re going to flood an entire river valley. It’s just going to be one dead lake… They’re gonna rape it!”
The 3 other paddlers -- urban, non-outdoor types -- don’t share Lewis’s angst and anger. Bobby and Ed (Jon Voight) both declare that Lewis’s pro-preservation rant was “Extreme! Extremist!”
However, after a day of experiencing the natural beauty of the river, relaxing around the campfire after dinner, Bobby acknowledges Lewis’s anger:
Bobby, reflective and lamenting: “Lewis, what you say is true-- there’s something in the woods and the water that we’ve lost in the city”.
Lewis’s cryptic reply: “We didn’t lose it— we sold it.”
You can learn more about the White River Plan and submit a questionaire at their web site at:
In my survey, I indicated that I felt that the White River was a glimpse of wild life in an urban environment and that better access to this through hiking trails, parks, and paddling access points would be desirable. In particular, paddling access points at 86nd (near Keystone at the Crossing) and at the bike park at 96th street could increase usage within the city. The club used to paddle the White River through town which was a cool paddle - however, we had to contact private businesses for access at our put-in. Having SAFE put-ins and take-outs through to Downtown would be great.
Here is a link to our 2010 paddle trip through downtown.
I share Clarke's concern that "development" of the river could equate to exploitation of the river by commercial interests. This could reduce public access and ruin the natural areas that exist along the river and give it its appeal.
Background image provided by Karl Zemlin www.zemlinphoto.com
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