Board of Directors

Barry Dupen, president

Mark Scrafton, vice president

Eric Blank, secretary

Karla Barnhart, treasurer

Wayne Engdahl


The Friends of Eel River Trail is a non-profit all-volunteer citizen group, founded in 2006. Our goal is to build a recreational trail connecting South Whitley, Columbia City, and Churubusco, Indiana. Parts of the trail will run along the abandoned railbed of the historic Eel River Railroad line, and are for nonmotorized traffic only. Other sections will run along picturesque local roads.

Our first project was the Columbia City Trailhead, built in 2010 and donated to the City of Columbia City. The second project was a paved trail from Calhoun St. to the abandoned railroad trestle in South Whitley. We are now in the process of acquiring land and funds for additional trail construction.


September 2014 Signage is complete on the South Whitley trail.

Trail 1

Trail 1 Trail 1

December 2013 Paving is complete on the South Whitley trail.

Trail 1

Fall 2013 The Board donated a parcel of land to Columbia City for extending the city's Blue River Trail to the west of Line Street.

Spring 2013 Two big donations for the South Whitley trail: $1000 from NIPSCO and $500 from the Greenways Foundation.

October 2011 The Board kicked off a fundraiser to pave 1600 feet of railbed from Calhoun St. to the old wood trestle in South Whitley. Click here for photos and ways you can contribute.

Trail with trestle

September 2011 The Friends of the Eel River Trail took ownership of two railbed parcels in South Whitley. One parcel runs northeast from Calhoun St. to the old wood trestle for about 1600 feet. The second parcel starts at State Route 205, running northeast for about 1800 feet. The Friends thank the Indiana Department of Natural Resources and the Town of South Whitley for making these parcels available for the trail.

May 2011 Kevin Eubanks of Columbia City (left) donated a portion of his property to the Friends of the Eel River Trail. This part of the trail will start on Line Street in Columbia City, and head west.


May 2010 The Columbia City Trailhead opened for business on Whitley St. in Columbia City. The Trailhead includes parking, restrooms, benches, a water fountain, and a bike rack.