If you could come up with a name and logo that would unify the hiking and biking trails across St. Joseph, Elkhart, Marshall and Kosciusko counties, what would it be?
A name and logo that would lure both visitors and locals to explore the trails?
The Michiana Area Council of Governments is using $60,000 of federal and local money to find that “trail branding” answer. Local trail users have already been taking surveys to help consultants, a Pennsylvania firm named Merje, get a vibe for the personality that the new name and logo should carry.
Friday is the last day for the public to go online to take two brief surveys — linked with this story online — to gauge their use and perception of local trails and their feelings for what kind of visuals should be used.
The current trail names would stay as they are, said Zach Dripps, principal planner with MACOG. So, you’d still refer to the Pumpkinvine Nature Trail in Elkhart County, or the Mishawaka Riverwalk. In South Bend, you’d still hit the Riverside, East Bank or Northside Trail. Not to forget the LaSalle Trail in northern St. Joseph County. There’s the Indiana Michigan River Valley Trail, a title originally crafted for several of these trails that link Niles to Mishawaka.
MACOG wants the public to see these as more than a tangle of lines on a map — to see them as a trail system, something that can be marketed as a destination.