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Indiana Department of Natural Resources

DNR Home > Divisions > Communications > Outdoor Indiana Magazine - Archives > Outdoor Indiana - January/February 2013 > Outdoor Indiana - January/February 2013 - Featured Stories Outdoor Indiana - January/February 2013 - Featured Stories

From the Director
Best of the best
Vintage year for protecting natural lands
Summit Lake

From the Director

Bicentennial Trust progress
Robert E. Carter, Jr.

Director Robert E. Carter, Jr.
Ideas that come from DNR landholding divisions or local groups are rated with a scoring system similar to the one used by Indiana Heritage Trust. Proposals that make the grade are presented to the IHT project committee and, if approved, go on to the Bicentennial Commission.

Through October, all 24 projects sent to the Commission got the thumbs up.

Hoosiers who appreciate the outdoors are the real winners, though.

BNT funds are being used to expand trail projects in Hendricks, Lake, Noble and Putnam counties, purchase land for parks in Blackford, Elkhart, Hamilton, LaGrange and LaPorte counties, and assist private land trusts in purchasing more than 1,500 acres of woods and wetlands.

DNR proposals also have proved worthy.

Our Division of Nature Preserves is adding a site in Jasper County that connects previously separated tracts of the Stoutsburg Savanna Nature Preserve and a site in Wayne County that will bring to 60 the number of Indiana counties with at least one nature preserve.

Our Forestry division is adding 704 acres to Yellowwood State Forest in Brown County.

And our Division of State Parks & Reservoirs is adding to its inventory in Perry and Wabash counties.

All good additions, and all to conserve natural spaces for future generations.

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Best of the best

From boot camp to conservation officer
By Nick Werner

Pete Slavin, a drill instructor, yells at the recruits as they take off running during the first day of training. At full staff, DNR Law Enforcement employs 214 conservation officers.Dressed in business suits, 17 young men sat silently as two vans shuttled them in darkness to Camp Atterbury.

The vans drove for 10 minutes through an early-morning rain.

The wheels quit rolling, the side doors blasted open, and four men in dark uniforms and campaign hats blitzed the entryways.

They ambushed the passengers, growling orders. Many of those in the vans sat helpless, caught in a crossfire of disorienting demands, angry gesturing and furrowed eyebrows before they could escape.

“From this point on you are no longer civilians,” the intruders yelled. “You are going to be Indiana Conservation Officer recruits. You will not speak unless spoken to. When you are spoken to, the first and last words out of your mouth will be ‘sir.’ Your eyes will be straight ahead at all times. You will not go anywhere without asking permission. You will not scratch your nose without permission ...”

April 2012. Recruit School for the 31st class of recruits had begun.

Cutline: Pete Slavin, a drill instructor, yells at the recruits as they take off running during the first day of training. At full staff, DNR Law Enforcement employs 214 conservation officers.

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.

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Vintage year for protecting natural lands

By Nick Werner

An American goldfinch feeds at Oak Ridge Prairie County Park in Lake County. Indiana Heritage Trust added 27 acres to the northeast corner of the park.Bob Greene knows how to evangelize.

Greene served as a United Methodist minister before becoming full-time volunteer executive director of Heritage Trail Conservancy, a Madison-based land trust. He says he believes God called him to pursue conservation, and he understands how nature can lift spirits.

Lately, he has been spreading the word about Indiana Heritage Trust.

“There isn’t anybody in the State of Indiana since 1992 that has been more grateful for the Indiana Heritage Trust,” Greene said of himself.

IHT is a DNR program that helps preserve Indiana’s natural heritage. IHT funds property acquisitions for lands that represent outstanding natural resources and habitats, or have recreational, historical or archaeological significance.

To date the program has protected more than 56,000 acres in more than 50 Indiana counties.

Heritage Trail Conservancy used IHT funds in 2012 to buy 9.7 acres of undeveloped ground along the Ohio River in Madison, near Clifty Falls State Park. The land, called Heritage Park, is a green space with walking trails, and supports abundant wildlife. Future plans include a floating interpretive center.

“It’s open 365 days a year, free of charge to people who are rich and poor, young and old, people of all faiths, people of all nationalities,” Greene said. “It cuts across demographics. That’s what I’m most proud about.”

Cutline: An American goldfinch feeds at Oak Ridge Prairie County Park in Lake County. Indiana Heritage Trust added 27 acres to the northeast corner of the park.

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.

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Summit Lake

It’s just right
By Marty Benson

Part of a series

A full harvest moon rises over a fishing boat on Summit Lake last September. Anglers and landscape photographers are among the many admirers of Summit Lake State Park. Something was fishy at Summit Lake almost from the start.

Birdy, too.

Anglers and bird watchers still can’t get enough. Lured by the largest self-contained lake in the state park system, swimmers, hikers, campers, picnickers and sightseers flock there as well.

In the early 1980s, an impoundment created for flood-control and recreation started filling acres of former farmland. Then and for a few years after, the figurative deck was temporarily stacked for birds and fish.

Finned refugees transferred from a leaky lake nearby made for productive but illegal fishing. Drought exposed renewed wetlands and mud flats, drawing in waterfowl and shore birds.

Those conditions waned, but Summit Lake still reigns as king of the mountain among Indiana state parks for fishing and birding, or at least sits near the crown.

Cutline: A full harvest moon rises over a fishing boat on Summit Lake last September. Anglers and landscape photographers are among the many admirers of Summit Lake State Park.

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.

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