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DNR Home > Divisions > Communications > Outdoor Indiana Magazine - Archives > Outdoor Indiana - March/April 2014 > Outdoor Indiana - March/April 2014 - Featured Stories Outdoor Indiana - March/April 2014 - Featured Stories

From the Director
Moonstruck
TEXAS TEA, brewed in Indiana
Shakamak State Park

From the Director

Spring into spring
Director Cameron F. Clark

Director Cameron F. ClarkIf variety really is the spice of life, we’re blessed to live in Indiana.

That’s because we get to experience four distinct seasons—spring, summer, fall and winter.

To be honest, there are four seasons everywhere, but the degree to which they play out in other areas of the country can vary significantly. Summer in some parts of Alaska, for instance, may be colder than winter just about anywhere in Arizona other than Flagstaff.

In Indiana, our seasons generally are well defined by Mother Nature’s disposition. We get snow and cold in winter, heat and humidity in summer, with spring and fall providing suitable adjustment periods between the two extremes. 

Indiana now sits on the cusp of winter’s transition into spring. There may be no better time to explore the Hoosier outdoor scene.
The gates are open year-round at our state parks, but now is when more and more campers begin making their first visits of the year. Our state forests, fish & wildlife areas and nature preserves also begin to come alive.

In March, wildflowers start to emerge in southern Indiana, while sandhill cranes and osprey return to northern Indiana. Peregrine falcons—a year removed from coming off the state endangered species list—will soon lay eggs for a new brood of chicks. And fishing will heat up for winter-run steelhead on the St. Joseph River in South Bend and for walleye in the tailwaters of Salamonie Lake dam.

By the time April rolls around, turtles and snakes start to become active as temperatures rise. Mark your calendars for April 19, the first of four days this year when Indiana residents can fish without a license. (The other dates are May 17, and June 7-8.)
Personally, I’m looking forward to the kickoff of spring turkey hunting season on April 23.

A few days later, another Indiana rite of spring arrives with the opening of trout fishing on inland streams.

So, dust off the winter blahs, get outside and enjoy. Summer will be here before you know it. 

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Moonstruck

Words by Marty Benson, photos by John Maxwell and Frank Oliver, OI staff

The photo shows the skyline of downtown Indianapolis with the White River in the foreground. The tallest buildings, from left, are OneAmerica Tower, Chase Tower, Market Tower, and the J.W. Marriott.From Hoagy Carmichael writing “Moon Country” and “Winter Moon” to Michael Jackson dancing as if walking on it, the moon has long inspired Indiana-born songsters.

Our sky’s other most prominent heavenly body has also spawned many tunes. One by the now-defunct rock band The Clash proclaimed: “... no one ever pointed a telescope at the sun.”

The lyric alludes to a difference in how we think about the two orbs. One is bright and obvious. It rarely wows when not setting or rising. The other consistently causes mystery and wonder.

Stare at the sun and you squint. Stare at the moon and you dream.

Perhaps that’s why the phrase “shoot the moon” has many meanings. In some card games, it’s a bold bid. In some settings, it’s a juvenile prank. For OI photographers, it was the darkest of assignments, a chance to create a little lunacy with Hoosier landscapes.

Cutline: The photo shows the skyline of downtown Indianapolis with the White River in the foreground. The tallest buildings, from left, are OneAmerica Tower, Chase Tower, Market Tower, and the J.W. Marriott.

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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TEXAS TEA, brewed in Indiana

Home-grown oil production is on the rise
By Nick Werner
Photography by Frank Oliver

A 40-foot drilling rig run by Magnum Drilling Services of Evansville and financed by CountryMark drives pipe at a location east of Terre Haute. Nearby, a CountryMark parcel produces 800 barrels a day during one year, about $30 million worth of oil.The tower of pipes, pulleys and hydraulic hoses rose 40 feet into a clear summer sky.

At the base of the drilling rig, a driller and two rig hands operated the contraption, each dressed in white hard hats and fire-resistant work shirts. The rig’s owner, Danny Veeck of Magnum Drilling Services, monitored progress as he stood by his heavy-duty pickup.

“We are about 82 feet deep,” he told three onlookers, including a representative from CountryMark, the oil company financing the effort.

As the hole grew deeper, the rig hands swung additional 30-foot sections of drill pipe into place.

The plan was to drill a well 1,400 feet deep in this soybean field east of Terre Haute. Since 2011, a neighboring parcel with about a dozen wells had produced 800 barrels a day for CountryMark, or about $30 million worth of oil annually, constituting the largest oil find in Indiana in 25 years.

How would Magnum know if it struck black gold?

Not by seeing it gush out of the top of the rig and rain oil, if that’s what you’re thinking. At least that’s not what’s supposed to happen. Modern technology prevents the blowouts that characterized the brash drilling of the early 20th century. Today’s process is much less dramatic.

Veeck periodically dipped a ladle-shaped strainer into a holding tank where a muddy soup of water, limestone and shale was being pumped from the well.

“You’ll see an oily film and you’ll be able to smell it,” he said.

Cutline: A 40-foot drilling rig run by Magnum Drilling Services of Evansville and financed by CountryMark drives pipe at a location east of Terre Haute. Nearby, a CountryMark parcel produces 800 barrels a day during one year, about $30 million worth of oil.

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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Shakamak State Park

Home away from home
Part of a series
By Marty Benson, OI staff 

A fishing boat rental dock awaits autumn action at Shakamak State Park’s Lake Lenape. Shakamak’s three lakes are well known for their beauty and high-quality fishing.When the Smith Navy, as a fellow angler calls it, hits Shakamak State Park waters every year, people notice.

Three lines each per man aboard often trail the lone 17-foot Lund, some from poles as long as 20 feet. Jim Smith, a retired railroad engineer from Decatur in Adams County, is captain. His wife, Suzanne, doesn’t fish. Neither does daughter Carla Alspaugh of Wells County. The women swim, bicycle, hike and enjoy the peaceful scenery while the one-boat armada trolls.

“It looks like an octopus,” said veteran park fisherman John Osborne, who lives in Lakewood, N.Y., but grew up in Lafayette.

Paraphrasing the fun-poking Osborne, if poles were oars, Smith’s boat would look like a Viking ship. 

Virginia Amick is another park angler. She and husband Marion have rented a home nearby—for 13 straight years—so she can fish there. It’s their home away from their Fort Wayne home.

Because of the tangle of fiberglass protrusions extending from Smith’s boat, she refers to him as Spiderman. 

 The park boasts three lakes. Age separates them. Not much else does. Viewed quickly on a map, they look like a single large mass, but the water is separated by dams or causeways. Boats can’t cruise from one to the other.

Lake Shakamak covers 57 acres. It is the pre-Depression granddaddy. The 49 acres of Lake Lenape, which looks like the east branch of Lake Kickapoo on a current map, came next. When created, it was clearly divided from Lake Shakamak. The 290-acre Kickapoo fills the former land void now.

Cutline: A fishing boat rental dock awaits autumn action at Shakamak State Park’s Lake Lenape. Shakamak’s three lakes are well known for their beauty and high-quality fishing.

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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