IHP to attract visitors

Karen Reynolds

Contributing Writer

Leslie Townsend, a representative from the Indiana Historic Pathway or IHP, met with local residents and Ripley County Tourism officials in November to present information about the newest National Scenic Byway and its importance to Southeastern Indiana.

Indiana’s newest scenic byway meanders along from Vincennes on US 50 to Lawrenceburg, making a slight detour at Shoals onto US 150 all the way to Clarksville.

IHP celebrates the early settlement and transportation routes of the State from pre-history to the present. Roads beginning with the hooves of bison along the Buffalo Trace and extending through native peoples and pioneer explorers to stagecoaches and then railroads, automobiles and trucks, stimulated the growth of towns and villages of southern Indiana.

Indiana Historic Pathways is a grass roots organization that uses only volunteers. The area they concentrate on spans 16 Indiana counties, including Ripley County. Indiana’s newest scenic byway passes through all 16 of these counties.

This historic byway continues to stimulate community growth and development. IHP has a map detailing the route of the byway listed on the back of a tear-off map which depicts special historical places for each Indiana county. Ripley County’s points of interest listed are: Versailles State Park, Milan ’54 Basketball Museum, Busching covered bridge, Otter Creek covered bridge, Big Oaks National Wildlife Refuge, Tyson Temple United Methodist Church and the Ripley County Tourism Bureau.

IHP has a task force that plan and execute activities such as education and public outreach, marketing, resources, Volksmarches, tear-off maps and rack cards to be used for education, and photo contests. Their current logo, which features the buffalo, is the result of a logo contest. Volksmarches are walking tours in the German tradition and include a seven-mile walk. Further information may be obtained by going to the website at www.indianahistoricpathways.org.

Future plans include getting a grant to have their logo featured on road signs along the byway. They are currently planning a new four-color brochure. They hope to hold more Volksmarches in conjunction with area parks. They also plan to do more educational workshops for teachers and the general public.

IHP requests volunteers to help with their plans. If walking and preserving the past are things you enjoy, this organization wants to talk to you. Call 1-800-489-4474 for more information or go to www.usi.edu/hsi/resources/IHP.asp.

Townsend told those gathered at the meeting at the Tyson Library recently their purpose is to “attract visitors into southern Indiana and to educate Indiana’s citizens about our rich historical past.”