Batesville Herald Tribune, Batesville, Indiana

April 8, 2013

Hiking club’s first 10K parallels canal

Debbie Blank
The Herald-Tribune

BATESVILLE — Now that Whitewater Valley Walkers, a Franklin County hiking club, has been established, Brookville is the newest and smallest of 10 Hoosier cities boasting groups belonging to the Indiana Volkssport Association.

The first Whitewater Valley Walkers event is a 10K Saturday, April 20, along the Whitewater Canal Trail, reports Vice President Denny Fritz, Brookville. The route goes from the Indiana Department of Natural Resources Whitewater Canal State Historic Site’s grist mill in Metamora, where participants can register from 11 a.m.-3 p.m., to the Twin Locks near Shack Road and then back to Metamora. Walkers should be finished by 5:30 p.m.

Children under 12 must be accompanied by adults. Pets must be kept on leashes and owners need to clean up after them. Water and restrooms will be available at the mill and several trail locations, Fritz says.

Everyone is welcome and may participate for free. Persons who want INVA credit will pay $12. They may also purchase a beginner’s passport for $8, so events and mileage can be logged.

Fritz recalls “the way we got this started.” He suggested to Whitewater Canal Trail leaders, “‘If we’re going to have people using our trail, why don’t we sponsor a walking club?’” Other officers are President Mick Wilz, Brookville; Secretary Gary Schlueter, Metamora; and Treasurer Don Vonder Meulen, Brookville.

WVW is separate, but affiliated with WTC. During the walk, Whitewater Canal Trail (www.whitewatercanaltrail.com) volunteers will observe Earth Day by planting trees at noon. As people are hiking on the section closest to Metamora that day, volunteers will be cleaning up the Yellow Bank section.

The 50 or so Whitewater Canal Trail members are automatically Whitewater Valley Walkers members, the vice president explains. WTC membership has three levels: $25, Steersman (individual); $50, Crew (family); and $100, Captain (business or sustaining).

The fee to join the walking club only is $10. For details, Fritz can be contacted at 812-584-2687 or ddfritz@aol.com.

What are the advantages of membership? “Obviously, there are some personal benefits – exercise, friendships with other club people .... the further benefit is there are year-round events. If you join INVA, wherever you walk ... you can obtain national and international credit.”

There will be other ways to get active with Whitewater Valley Walkers in 2013. “We’re already talking about doing a Brookville event, probably in September,” Fritz says. “We may do it during the antique machinery show weekend.” He also envisions a future German-themed hike in a nod to the local population and one around Brookville Lake.

INVA’S BEGINNINGS

• The Indiana Volkssport Association, which promotes residents’ “health, physical fitness and well-being,” has planned noncompetitive, family-oriented walking, biking, swimming and cross country skiing events in the state since 1985, according to the Web site http://avaclubs.org/INVA/. “This group is like old friends all across the state,” according to Fritz.

• A walk or “volksmarch” (a German term meaning “a people’s walk”) is the most common activity and usually consists of a 10-kilometer (6.2 mile) route “chosen for its natural beauty, scenic interest, historical value and safety.”