In our research perambulations, we discovered another early DNR document which reinforces the idea of the White River as a high quality recreational resource. It’s a Guide to The White River– From Muncie to Martinsville. It was printed by DNR in 1985, just about 5 years following DNR’s major 2-volume plan titled The Recreational Potential of the White River, July, 1979.
The Guide is a 72-page pocket-size (4″ x 8″) compilation of all of the attractions and natural amenities along the river corridor. It includes natural features, recreational opportunities, and historical and cultural amenities along the river corridor. It lists and describes these, section by section, and includes maps and photos.
Back in 1979 and 1985, the term “greenway” hadn’t yet been used in the parlance of parks planners and politicians. The greenway movement didn’t materialize in the U.S. until the late 1980’s and the published books about greenways started being produced after 1990. Thus neither of the two DNR documents use the term “greenway”, although its plans essentially propose what we now refer to as such.
My speculation is that the Guide was produced by IDNR for the purpose of keeping its 1979 plan “alive” because the politicians at the time (the Reagan era) in Indiana were philosophically averse to creating additional public park lands.
Most of the data in the Guide was compiled in 1984 by fourth year landscape architecture students at Ball State University in Muncie. As stated in the Acknowledgements section, “Without their work, this book would not have been published”.