IN.gov - Skip Navigation

Note: This message is displayed if (1) your browser is not standards-compliant or (2) you have you disabled CSS. Read our Policies for more information.

Indiana Department of Natural Resources

DNR Home > Divisions > Communications > Outdoor Indiana Magazine - Archives > Outdoor Indiana - March/April 2011 > Outdoor Indiana - March/April 2011 - Featured Stories Outdoor Indiana - March/April 2011 - Featured Stories

Director's Column
Plant Feature
Young archers take aim - with slideshow
Trailing
Treasures in your own backyard

Director’s Column

A salute to DNR retirees
Robert E. Carter, Jr.

Director Robert E. Carter, Jr. People come and people go in just about any workplace, but one of the things you find at the Department of Natural Resources is that it’s often a long time in between the coming and going.

That’s because the DNR consistently attracts people who are committed to our mission to preserve, protect and conserve Indiana’s natural, historical and cultural resources. They believe in what they do, in what we do as an agency, and dedicate themselves to making it better for others.

But sooner or later, even the most loyal servants realize when it’s time.

Although I’ve come to accept that change like this is inevitable, it’s important to single out a few recent DNR retirees for their service. It’s impossible to single out every one, but there are a few I do want to mention.

Tom Flatt and Bob Ball both spent 38 years with the DNR Division of Fish and Wildlife before retiring in December. Tom was a fisheries aide, laborer, assistant property manager, district fisheries biologist, regional supervisor, and most recently aquatic habitat coordinator. Bob primarily was a research biologist, studying largemouth and smallmouth bass, walleye, grass carp, and freshwater mussels, and from 2005 to 2006 supervised a recreational and commercial fishing survey on 361 miles of the Wabash River.

Earl McCleerey spent his entire 36-year career as a district forester in Crawford, Harrison, Perry and Spencer counties, helping provide forest management guidance to private landowners.

The Division of Law Enforcement has the most retirees with six, including Mike Crider, whose legacy is the Sportsman’s Benevolence Fund, which raises money to support venison donation programs that feed Indiana’s needy.

Mike was my executive officer when I joined the DNR in 2005 as director of the Division of Law Enforcement, and he succeeded me in that capacity when I became the DNR director.

At one time, Mike thought he was headed for a run at county sheriff. Funny, that’s what I was in Clay County before coming to the DNR.

Congratulations to these and all of the recent DNR retirees. Thanks and good luck.

Back to the top

Plant Feature

Pawpaw
(Asimina triloba)
By Michael A. Homoya

It seems everyone has heard of the proverbial "pawpaw patch," but how many have seen one?

If you've done much hiking in Indiana, odds are extremely high that you have. That’s because pawpaw is the most common small tree in the understory canopy of Indiana's forests.

Pawpaw can be found on well-drained floodplains, north-facing slopes, flatwoods, and deep ravines, usually growing in colonies that can be quite extensive (hence the name pawpaw patch).

While the plant can grow to heights of 30 feet, its most conspicuous features are its large leaves, each averaging about a foot in length. The leaves, when bruised, emit an odor that most people find unpleasant. It’s so bad that even a hungry white-tailed deer usually won’t eat them.

The flowers are malodorous as well, although their smell, which reminds of rotten apples, differs. Each flower consists of two rows of three rather leathery, deep purple petals. They bloom in early spring, well before the tree’s leaves emerge.

The fruit of the pawpaw tree also goes by the name of pawpaw. It’s shaped like a big bean or stubby banana with a green outer skin that becomes brownish-yellow or black when fully ripe. A ripe pawpaw has a creamy, custard-like consistency that smells and tastes like an over-ripe banana, hence one of its other common names, “Indiana banana.”

To read the rest of this article subscribe to Outdoor Indiana or pick up a copy at most Borders and Barnes and Noble bookstores, and state park inns. To subscribe, click here or call (317) 233-3046.

Back to the top

Young Archers Take Aim

By Ben Shadley
Photography and slideshow by Frank Oliver

Slideshow on Indiana’s National Archery in the Schools Program

NASP archers and spectators watch the 2010 state tournament in the Muncie Convention Center.Calling Indiana’s National Archery in the Schools Program anything but a success is way off target. Since NASP’s introduction in 2005, more than 30,000 students from 150 schools have joined.

“The idea is to introduce kids to archery,” said state NASP Coordinator Tim Beck. “Where they go from there is up to them. We don’t push competition, but it is important.”

Indiana NASP is cosponsored by the DNR and the Indiana Field Archery Association. The program is administered by the DNR Division of Law Enforcement. More than $70,000 from Indiana chapters of the National Wild Turkey Federation helps keep students on the range.

NASP archers and spectators watch the 2010 state tournament in the Muncie Convention Center.

To read the rest of this article subscribe to Outdoor Indiana or pick up a copy at most Borders and Barnes and Noble bookstores, and state park inns. To subscribe, click here or call (317) 233-3046.

Back to the top

Trailing

Delphi Historic Trails
Old canal brings new life to small town
By Ben Shadly

A restored portion of the Wabash and Erie Canal. Delphi matured early. By 1876, the northwest Indiana town reached its current population of about 3,000. Its early growth was spurred by the Wabash and Erie Canal, which connected the Great Lakes with the Ohio River. The canal was built to transport goods and people; it also brought commerce to towns lucky enough to be along the route.

Delphi was one of those towns.

From about 1840 through the Civil War, shipping to the East fueled the town’s economy, and its future seemed bright. Not long after the canal’s completion, it became clear the transportation operation wouldn’t be economically viable. In 1876 the state sold the canal, piece by piece, and Delphi returned to being a small town like countless others across Indiana.

For many Delphi residents, the canal quickly became a mistake to be forgotten, but that flash of prosperity laid the foundation for a trail system that once again attracts business and people. Today, 13 trails retrace historical routes in and around town.

A restored portion of the Wabash and Erie Canal runs by the Wabash and Erie Canal Conference and Interpretive Center (left side of canal) in Delphi. The clear, blue water is pumped in from a nearby stone quarry.

To read the rest of this article subscribe to Outdoor Indiana or pick up a copy at most Borders and Barnes and Noble bookstores, and state park inns. To subscribe, click here or call (317) 233-3046.

Back to the top

Treasures in your own backyard

Charlestown State Park
Future flagship already sails true
By Marty Benson
Part of a series

View of Ohio River from a wooded ridge along Charlestown State Park’s Trail 6. “What’s in a name?” Juliet ponders in Shakespeare’s famous play.

In real life, answers vary, from a little to a lot.

Sometimes, as with Charlestown State Park, the names suggested, while not-quite-right, tell more than the chosen.

Indiana’s third-largest state park, one of two named precisely for its town, overflows with history, natural wonders and legend. These features produced more- colorful entries in an early 1990s naming contest—Gunpowder ... Ammo ... Devil’s Backbone ... Prince Madoc ... and Rose Island.

DNR’s Mike List, who’s been planning the park’s development for 20 years, said the Clark County attraction can become “one of the flagships” of the state park system. Today, 15 years after opening, its wonders are being enjoyed by a steadily increasing number of people each year.

Potential’s OK, but current visitors already know what’s there can blow you away, figuratively, and, as those first two also-ran names suggest, not long ago, literally.

Charlestown the park comprises 5,118 acres, most of them still unused, even for trails. That’s partly because of their ruggedness, partly because a lot of the land once served as a security boundary around a group of government ammunition factories.

List, who in 1990 reviewed the initial 859 acres available as Army surplus, said he was unsure what he’d find.

"Turned out it's a beautiful, gorgeous, fairly pristine natural area," he said.

View of Ohio River from a wooded ridge along Charlestown State Park’s Trail 6.

To read the rest of this article subscribe to Outdoor Indiana or pick up a copy at most Borders and Barnes and Noble bookstores, and state park inns. To subscribe, click here or call (317) 233-3046.

Back to the top