May 4, 2023 - The Poka-Bache Coalition, which represents local public agencies, non-profit trail groups, state and federal agencies, community foundations, visitors’ bureaus and community members, announced today that a Poka-Bache Connector Task Force has been appointed and has already begun to meet.

Members of the Poka-Bache Connector Task Force:

Janella Stronczek

City Councilwoman

City of Bluffton

Myndi Love

Trail Advocate

Town of Ossian

Richard Hickman


City of Angola

Dawn Ritchie

Greenways Manager

City of Fort Wayne

Natalie DeWitt

City Councilwoman

City of Auburn

Ken Shelton

County Commissioner

County of Steuben

Beth Shellman

Town Manager

Town of Huntertown

Mike Lautzenheiser

Plan Commission Director

County of Wells

Bill Hartman

Highway Director

County of Allen

Mike Watson

County Commissioner

County of DeKalb

Pam Howard

Town Manager

Town of Waterloo & Auburn/Waterloo Trails

The Poka-Bache Connector will be a multi-use, non-motorized trail that will connect from Pokagon State Park in Angola to Ouabache (pronounced “Wabash”) State Park in Bluffton. The 81-mile trail will bring Steuben, Dekalb, Allen, and Wells counties together. Within these counties, the trail connects seven municipalities: Angola, Waterloo, Auburn, Huntertown, Fort Wayne, Ossian and Bluffton. This trail is a crucial part of the United Trails project in Northeast Indiana. It is planned as a tourist destination and will support cultural and economic growth for all four counties. The trail will connect over 121,000 people, 140 recreational areas, 10 libraries and 50 schools within 1 mile of the trail. As of November, 2022, 34.2 miles of the trail have been completed, and another 7.5 miles are being actively worked on. 

The Poka-Bache Connector Coalition determined that an inter-local agreement between the eleven local agencies that would be connected by the trail would be the most appropriate mechanism to collaborate and synergize efforts to complete the project. The Coalition chose to utilize the Interlocal Cooperation provisions of Indiana Law (Indiana Code 36-1-7).  Each of the local agencies approved and adopted the agreement, then appointed one member to the Poka-Bache Connector Task Force. The Coalition will now serve in an advisory role and support the needs of the appointed Task Force members.