I’ve told my story many many many times.

Tunnel Hill State Trail…

It’s where I first rode a bicycle as an adult. I rode the bike in an attempt to lose weight and promote better health.

What I didn’t know then was that I would fall desperately in love with cycling and the Tunnel Hill State Trail.

Tunnel Hill State Trail is effectively how I found Heron Pond which made me fall in love with hiking. It was also where Hiking with Shawn was born.

It’s fair to say that Tunnel Hill State Trail saved my life.

I started going there in 2012.

Fastforward to 2024, the trail’s conditions have significantly declined. It’s not as good as it was in 2012. It was nearly pristine back then.

The blame? Most likely lack of state funding. Plus, the site had its own leadership at one time. Now they make one person run more than one sites. You can’t blame the superintendent or the workers. They’re doing everything they can.

But funding is funding and that’s where the title of this post comes into play.

I’m super proud to announce that I and six other lovers of the Tunnel Hill State Trail have teamed up together to form Friends of the Tunnel Hill State Trail.

The Friends will help raise money for the trail, volunteer to maintain it, educate the public about it, and do everything possible to keep it a gem of Southern Illinois so that everyone can enjoy it.

I just submitted the paperwork to IDNR. I’m in the process of getting a 501(c)(3) status for it.

I can’t wait to blog more about this, soon! Stay tuned!