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 - September/October 2012 > Outdoor Indiana - September/October 2012 - Featured Stories Outdoor Indiana - September/October 2012 - Featured Stories

From the Director
Reverend Peyton
Hoosier surfin' safari
Hog Wild

From the Director

Repair work
Robert E. Carter, Jr.

Director Robert E. Carter, Jr.You often read in this column and elsewhere in Outdoor Indiana about DNR efforts to protect the state’s best remaining natural places, but there’s another kind of job we eagerly tackle.

Fixing what’s broken.

Consider two tasks completed this summer—a “daylighting” project at Indiana Dunes State Park and the restoration of Roxana Marsh near East Chicago and Hammond.

During the early development of the state park, a 1,400-foot section of Dunes Creek was routed through a culvert and an area above it paved for visitor parking.

More recently, it was determined high bacteria levels at the nearby beach not only came from the creek’s discharge into Lake Michigan, but also were made worse by the pipe that years before replaced the original stream’s natural cleansing action.

In 2005, DNR remedied the problem by removing 95,000 square feet of concrete pavement and 500 feet of the pipe to restore—or “daylight”—that section of the stream and a wetland.

Good work, at least until a storm ripped through the park three years later and dumped 16 inches of rain in four days. A 20,000-square-foot section of the remaining parking lot collapsed.

DNR’s Engineering division went back to the drawing board and designed a new plan to daylight the entire creek. More pavement and pipe were removed, a sidewalk and boardwalk added, and Dunes Creek was fully restored to a naturally flowing stream.

At Roxana Marsh, the DNR partnered with the Indiana Department of Environmental Management, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service to remove almost 110,000 cubic yards of contaminated sediment—PCBs, heavy metals and pesticides.

The dredging removed common reed, an invasive plant also known as Phragmites. Clean sand was added, native wetland species were planted and a pond was dug to provide habitat for migratory birds and wildlife.

Roxana Marsh is part of the larger Great Lakes Legacy Act Project aimed at turning a toxic hot spot—the Grand Calumet River—into an asset.

Dunes Daylighting and Roxana Marsh. It’s also what we do. Naturally.

Back to the top

Reverend Peyton

Indiana's troubadour
By Marty Benson

“The Reverend Peyton” poses in his Brown County cabin with a portion of his instruments and guns. His songs highlight Indiana’s outdoors, his other home. “Between the Ditches” his Big Damn Band’s latest work, came out in August.You can savor the wisdom of fly-fishing’s classic short story in a few ways.

Read “A River Runs Through It” from author Norman McLean’s book.

Watch the 1992 film version.

Or ask Josh Peyton to roll up his right pant leg.

The namesake of The Reverend Peyton’s Big Damn Band has an excerpt tattooed on his calf.

“It is an art that is performed on a four-count rhythm between 10 and 2 o’clock,” the design proclaims, describing the sport’s casting technique.

“Sounds like music, doesn’t it?” asks the owner’s deep voice, between fly-casts at Yellowwood Lake.

For roughly 115 days a year, Peyton lives about 15 minutes away in a redone late 19th century Brown County cabin. So does Breezy, who triples as his wife of nine years, fishing companion, and washboard player. The rest of the time they are on the road.

Music, fishing and the outdoors sum up most of Josh’s 31 years. He says he’s not sure which passion hit first.

"The Reverend Peyton” poses in his Brown County cabin with a portion of his instruments and guns. His songs highlight Indiana’s outdoors, his other home. “Between the Ditches” his Big Damn Band’s latest work, came out in August.

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

Back to the top

Hoosier surfin’ safari

Fall on Lake Michigan is … time to ride waves
By Nick Werner

Photography by Frank Oliver

Brian Tanis, left, of Holland, Mich., and Joe Galan of Downers Grove, Ill., are surfing fans of Indiana’s Lake Michigan waters. Protected by wetsuits, they brave ice-covered rocks, bone-chilling wind and water temperatures to ride fall and winter waves. Crouched on the balls of his feet at the end of a concrete jetty, a man in a wetsuit withstood a screaming north wind blowing in his face as he looked out on Lake Michigan.

In recent days, similar gusts had bulldozed a record 23-foot high wave, registered by a buoy about 80 miles offshore.

Scott Compton, holding a surfboard at his side, studied the pounding, olive-colored surge, indifferent to the spray that exploded like geysers in front of him.

After a few false starts, he launched off the jetty like Olympic swim champion Michael Phelps.

He paddled toward the new oil refinery and the aging steel mill. He paddled away from the abandoned marina and the barely visible Chicago skyline across the lake.

Eight-hundred miles from the nearest ocean, Indiana’s Lake Michigan shore might be the world’s most surprising surfing destination. On this frigid October afternoon, no one would mistake it for Malibu. Yet it is part of a network of Midwestern communities where, after almost 40 years, Great Lakes surfing is clawing its way out of obscurity.

“You meet another surfer every time you go out,” Compton said. “It keeps growing.”

Brian Tanis, left, of Holland, Mich., and Joe Galan of Downers Grove, Ill., are surfing fans of Indiana’s Lake Michigan waters. Protected by wetsuits, they brave ice-covered rocks, bone-chilling wind and water temperatures to ride fall and winter waves.

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

Back to the top

Hog wild

Mississinewa Lake
Feral pigs are invasive menace

By Nick Werner
Photography by Frank Oliver

An image from a trail camera shows a sow and her piglets leaving a wallow and feeding in vegetation. Piglets with a mixed ancestry of domesticated pigs and Eurasian boars are light brown with dark horizontal stripes, resembling large chipmunks. Piglets mature quickly, and females are capable of reproducing in their first year. In a low-lying clearing, two biologists found the clues they sought: a water-filled crater the size of a hot tub and a mud-plastered cedar tree. The ground in between was upturned, like a spring garden ready to plant.

The enemy had been here … and might still be nearby.

One pointed to a hillside thicket of thorn bushes and honey locust trees, about 20 yards away.

“It’s conceivable that they are lying up there right now, just listening to us,” he said.

Steve Backs, a wildlife researcher with the Indiana DNR, and Joe Caudell, who researches wildlife disease with the U.S. Department of Agriculture, command the state’s unsung resistance campaign against feral pigs. Or, more accurately, they are the state’s resistance campaign—a two-man army trying to hold off a ravenous horde of hoofed and hairy bushwhackers.

For more than 20 years, feral pigs have waged a stealthy offensive through southern Indiana. Few Hoosiers have seen one. Many residents are unaware they exist. But people living on the frontlines know the scorched-earth destruction the pigs leave behind.

An image from a trail camera shows a sow and her piglets leaving a wallow and feeding in vegetation. Piglets with a mixed ancestry of domesticated pigs and Eurasian boars are light brown with dark horizontal stripes, resembling large chipmunks. Piglets mature quickly, and females are capable of reproducing in their first year.

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

Back to the top