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Indiana Department of Natural Resources

DNR Home > Divisions > Communications > Outdoor Indiana Magazine - Archives > Outdoor Indiana - July/August 2013 > Outdoor Indiana - July/August 2013 - Featured Stories Outdoor Indiana - July/August 2013 - Featured Stories

From the Director
40 years of the Endangered Species Act
LIMESTONE, STEEL & CONCRETE
Treasures in your own backyard

From the Director

Meet the new boss
Director Cameron F. Clark

Director Cameron F. ClarkThere’s more to a book than its cover, which is one way of saying perhaps you’d like to know a little more about me than the fact I’m a lawyer and the new director of the DNR.

I hunt, I hike, I camp, I climb, I kayak, I backpack, I road bike, and I used to ride horses some. I have too many hobbies, my favorite of which is woodworking.

I fish when I can but not nearly enough.

Personal adventures have taken me across the Rocky Mountains on horseback and through the Grand Canyon on foot.

I understand the importance of habitat conservation for wildlife and for human health and well being.

I’m an advocate for and defender of the natural and societal benefits of hunting.

My primary hunting interest is upland game birds though I do bow hunt and turkey hunt. Early on I hunted pheasants in Montgomery and Tippecanoe counties and later in White and Pulaski counties. These days I chase them wherever I can with the help of Blue, a German shorthair, and soon a young lab named Mel.

I’m a member of the National Rifle Association. I also serve on the board of trustees for the Indiana chapter of The Nature Conservancy. I’m a member of Ducks Unlimited, Pheasants Forever and the National Wild Turkey Federation.

I’m a firm believer in the need to connect kids with nature and pledge not only to continue but also to strengthen DNR programs that make it possible. One of those is the fifth annual Hoosier Outdoor Experience on Sept. 21-22 at Fort Harrison State Park in Indianapolis. I hope you can attend.

In closing, I’m honored by Gov. Pence’s faith in me to lead this agency of dedicated professionals in caring, on your behalf, for the natural, cultural and historical resources of Indiana. I look forward to sharing time with you through these columns and hopefully to meeting you someday, somewhere outdoors in Indiana.

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40 years of the Endangered Species Act

The landmark legislation helped restore the bald eagle and protect more than 1,400 other species of animals and plants in the U.S.
By Nick Werner

A tiny interior least tern chick hides on a tern nesting island at Cane Ridge. Least terns nest on the ground in sparsely vegetated areas near water. In the morning twilight, about 100 people gathered on a bridge in rural Indiana.

They wore heavy outerwear. One woman wore a coat resembling an American flag. Many hung binoculars around their necks. They were young and old. A handful of Amish men wore black outfits capped with straw hats.

Below them was the Mississinewa River, nearly spilling into the surrounding farm fields from snowmelt and a recent rain. And upstream at a bend in the river was one of the largest documented winter roosting sites for bald eagles in the eastern United States, invisible in the darkness except for the ghostly spires of sycamore branches.

A woman in an official-looking khaki coat addressed the crowd.

Lynnanne Fager, a DNR naturalist for Upper Wabash Interpretive Services, was master of ceremonies for the sixth annual Sunrise Eagle Watch. She asked how many in the crowd had never seen an eagle in the wild. Debbie Huff, a wildlife enthusiast from the town of Peru, and four others raised their hands.

As sunrise filled the landscape with soft light, bright white dots emerged from the blur of trees. Eagles were greeting the morning. Bird watchers with powerful scopes reported some were preening, preparing for the daily commute to their hunting grounds.

Huff sneaked a peak.

“That’s one thing off the bucket list,” she said.

Previously, Huff had only seen an eagle in a zoo. Earlier in her life, she assumed the bird would go extinct.
“I think we’re so lucky,” she said. “We’re lucky to have them back. It’s just a neat story, I think.”

The resurrection of bald eagle populations in Indiana and elsewhere after near extinction is the most notable accomplishment of the federal Endangered Species Act, which celebrates its 40th anniversary this year.

Cutline: A tiny interior least tern chick hides on a tern nesting island at Cane Ridge. Least terns nest on the ground in sparsely vegetated areas near water.

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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LIMESTONE, STEEL & CONCRETE

A new way to enjoy the State Fair
By Marty Benson
Photography by John Maxwell

Many think of the Coliseum when they think of State Fair architecture. The Art Deco/Art Moderne building’s interior is undergoing an entire rebuild but the outer shell is going to remain intact, including restoration of the glass block windows.Some go for the food.

Some go for the shows.

Some go because that’s what they do this time of year.

But did you know you could go for the buildings?

Not what’s in the buildings, but the structures themselves?

Sounds weird at first, but in the midst of the hoopla, have you ever stopped to look at what houses some of your favorites at the State Fair, some of which date to the turn of the 20th century?

You should, because, in large part, they are the tradition. Most have stayed essentially the same. The State Fair Architectural Tour will tell you why and how. Even if you know nothing about architecture, you’ll learn a different way to enjoy August in Indy.

“I really didn’t know what to expect,” said David Heighway of Noblesville, who took the tour for the first time a few years ago and is a repeat customer. “When you go to the fair, you’re usually overwhelmed by all of the other stuff that’s going on.

“The tour took me to some spots you should go and showed me things you don’t normally notice.”

The DNR Division of Historic Preservation & Archaeology (DHPA) and the State Fair Commission have teamed up to offer the tour since 1998.

Paul Diebold, architectural historian with the DHPA, came up with the idea. He says the fairgrounds offers more than people realize.

“Yes, the fair’s fun, it’s amusement, it’s a learning experience to see the animals, but it’s also a historic place because those things have happened over such a lengthy period of time,” he said.

The tour is given on one of the standard trolleys on which fairgoers can buy rides each day. The specially scheduled tour rides are free.

Cutline: Many think of the Coliseum when they think of State Fair architecture. The Art Deco/Art Moderne building’s interior is undergoing an entire rebuild but the outer shell is going to remain intact, including restoration of the glass block windows.

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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Cagles Mill Lake

Lieber SRA/Cataract Falls SRA
All in the Family
By Marty Benson

Part of a series

A 140-foot covered bridge was built at the upper falls at Cataract Falls near Cloverdale in 1876. It was open to traffic until 1988. Before then a primitive bridge crossed Mill Creek between the upper and lower falls. It washed out during the 1875 flood. Size usually matters. But sometimes there’s a twist.

Cagles Mill Lake is one of the smallest of Indiana’s federal flood-control projects, but it was the first, and it was first because it’s one of the smallest.

The name “Cagles Mill” may sound unfamiliar. Names like “Lieber,” “Cataract Lake” or “Cataract Falls” probably ring a louder bell. All are not exactly the same place, but all essentially apply to the same destination. Sort of.

You’ve heard of the sum being greater than its parts? Here, the parts may seem greater than their sum.

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers built, owns and named Cagles Mill Lake. The 8,075 acres of water and park-like ambiance offer beauty, history and fun. The recreational features are managed by the DNR, which leases the land. The primary function of the dam is flood control.

Located near Cloverdale, off Interstate 70 between Indianapolis and Terre Haute, the area attracted admirers long before there was a lake. An early settler called the surroundings “a sensitive display of rolling hills surrounded by numerous streams and creeks.” The account says “the hills often rise into steep rock bluffs or furnish valleys with soil as rich as the prized river bottoms.”

In 1936 and 1937, severe floods hit the Ohio River Valley and brought about legal changes that made much of those river bottoms into lake bottom. First, the federal Flood Control Act of 1938 authorized the building of large reservoirs throughout Indiana to reduce the likelihood of downstream flooding.

Plans for those large reservoirs stalled during public meetings in 1945, according to Clark Baker, who is the Corps’ natural resources project manager for Cagles Mill. He says the main objection was loss of land from tax rolls.

Because smaller projects required less land, they posed less of a threat. The Corps also could complete them and prove their benefits faster. Smaller suddenly meant better, and Cagles Mill came first.

Cutline: A 140-foot covered bridge was built at the upper falls at Cataract Falls near Cloverdale in 1876. It was open to traffic until 1988. Before then a primitive bridge crossed Mill Creek between the upper and lower falls. It washed out during the 1875 flood.

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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