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Indiana Department of Natural Resources

Nature Preserves > Properties > Newest Nature Preserves Newest Nature Preserves

There were eleven dedications in 2014, with six new preserves and five additions to existing preserves, for a total of almost 1,500 acres.
Trevlac BluffsTrevlac Bluffs Nature Preserve
This 77-acre nature preserve is about 6 miles northwest of Nashville in Brown County. It protects an upland forest in the Brown County Hills Section of the Highland Rim Natural Region. The topography is a long ridge with a steep, north-facing 200-foot bluff. The bluff overlooks the forested floodplain of Beanblossom Creek and rugged ravines and uplands that slope south away from it. About 60 percent of the property is floodplain that straddles Beanblossom Creek for more than a mile, while the forested uplands dominate the rest.

This nature preserve protects one of only two stands of Eastern hemlock in the Brown County Hills project area. In the forested uplands, white, black and red oak, shagbark hickory, and sugar maple are common canopy trees, while American beech and greenbrier are common in the understory. The dominant trees are uncommonly large, with diameters generally exceeding 2 feet at breast height and several measuring close to 3 feet. As part of one of the most important forest systems remaining in the lower Midwest, the nature preserve supports a wide diversity of species. National research has identified this region as one of three critical forest blocks in the Midwest for breeding migratory songbirds.

This nature preserves adjoins Yellowwood State Forest along its eastern border. Protection of this nature preserve was through the cooperative effort of the Indiana Heritage Trust, Bicentennial Nature Trust, DNR Division of Nature Preserves, The Nature Conservancy and Sycamore Land Trust. The nature preserve is owned and managed by Sycamore Land Trust.


Munsee Woods Nature PreserveMunsee Woods
This 36-acre nature preserve is about 3.5 miles southeast of Muncie, near Prairie Creek Reservoir, in Delaware County. It protects an upland forest, a floodplain forest and wetlands in the Tipton Till Plain Section of the Central Till Plain Natural Region.

The property occurs within a glacial meltwater valley with gentle forested uplands and spring-fed wetlands that sustain a perennial tributary stream of the White River, West Fork. This groundwater sourced tributary is important to White River water quality, especially in drought or other stress. Groundwater-fed seep springs occur throughout the property and a fen with sedge meadows border a portion of the stream. The woodlands consist of upland forest types with fine oaks. The forest block is significant for the county, lending critical mass to the wildlife habitat of Prairie Creek Reservoir. An array of plants and animals are expected to use the landscape, including migrating and nesting songbirds, amphibians and box turtles. Noteworthy plant species include skunk cabbage and marsh marigold. The nature preserve was protected through the cooperative effort of the Indiana Heritage Trust, DNR Division of Nature Preserves, and Red-tail Land Conservancy. The tract is owned and managed by the Red-tail Land Conservancy.

Cave River Valley Cave River Valley Nature Preserve
This 63-acre nature preserve is about 3 miles north of Campbellsburg in Washington County. It protects a portion of the Clifty Creek drainage, along with upland forests and important karst topography in Indiana’s Mitchell Karst Plain Section of the Highland Rim Natural Region. The topography consists of a deep wooded valley with steep limestone bluffs, narrow backbone ridges and seven caves, with streams emerging from the caves into whitewater cascades. The most extensive caves are River Cave and Endless Cave, which are home to blind fish, blind crayfish and cave crickets. This area was the eighth-largest Indiana bat hibernaculum in 2007, with additional surrounding summer habitat for the federally and state-endangered Indiana bat. Noteworthy animal species here include protected bat species, the Gemmed satyr butterfly, and multiple cave species.

The property has a long cultural history of using Cave River for milling. Beginning in the 1800s, mills and dams were built to grind cornmeal, make whiskey and apple cider, and provide power. The commercial cave history begins with the first written description of Endless Cave or Dry Cave dating to 1896 by Dr. W.S. Blachley. The caving community long ago named and surveyed this cave system, which will be managed for bat health. Guided tours will be allowed during summer. Protection of this nature preserve was through the cooperative effort of the Indiana Heritage Trust, DNR divisions of State Parks, Nature Preserves, and Fish & Wildlife and The Nature Conservancy. This tract is owned and managed by the DNR Division of State Parks.

Mosquito CreekMosquito Creek Nature Preserve addition
This acquisition added 51 acres to the existing Mosquito Creek Nature Preserve, about 2 miles east of Laconia in Harrison County. It is in a block of high-quality, forested habitats along the Mosquito Creek drainage, in Indiana’s Mitchell Karst Plain Section of the Highland Rim Natural Region. The topography consists of heavily dissected slopes and ravine forest uplands along both sides of the West Branch of Mosquito Creek. The uplands include limestone glades. The nature preserve also contains a spring cave, a dry cave and small waterfalls. These community types contain species that depend on large, unfragmented forest ecosystems. Noteworthy animal species include a large component of moths and butterflies that are state-rare and state-endangered, and bird species such as the hooded warbler, sharp-shinned hawk, and red-shouldered hawk.

Protection of this nature preserve was through the cooperative effort of the Indiana Heritage Trust, DNR Division of Nature Preserves, and The Nature Conservancy. The addition is part of a much larger conservation effort in partnership with The Nature Conservancy. The nature preserve is owned and managed by the DNR Division of Nature Preserves.

Coal HollowCoal Hollow Nature Preserve
This 153-acre nature preserve is about 3.5 miles north of Bloomingdale in Parke County and is in the Sugar Creek watershed. It protects deeply entrenched tributaries of Sugar Creek in Indiana’s Entrenched Valley Section of the Central Till Plain Natural Region. The topography consists of a gorge more than 80 feet tall with sandstone outcrops covered in unique vegetation. Seeps in the fractured bedrock provide a cool and protected environment for ferns and mosses.

A stand of Eastern hemlock occupies the gorge’s upper rim. These dense conifers provide habitat for unusual animals, including the black-throated green warbler and Northern saw-whet owl. Many unique and beautiful plants including blue cohosh, spikenard, bulblet fern, walking fern, blue ash, witch hazel, and plantain-leaved sedge are found in the preserve.

Coal Hollow is part of the Healthy Rivers INitiative, a large conservation area along Sugar Creek involving many partners. It is part of a forested stream corridor that includes Turkey Run State Park and Covered Bridge State Forest. Protection of this nature preserve was through the cooperative effort of the Indiana Heritage Trust, DNR Division of Forestry, DNR Division of Nature Preserves and The Nature Conservancy. This tract is owned and managed by the DNR Division of Forestry and Division of Nature Preserves. It is managed within the larger Healthy Rivers INitiative and will be open to hunting during designated seasons.

Green’s Bluff Nature Preserve additionGreen’s Bluff
This acquisition added 462 acres to the existing Green’s Bluff Nature Preserve, about 5.5 miles south of Spencer in Own County. The nature preserve is in both the Crawford Upland and Escarpment sections of the Shawnee Hills Natural Region. The topography is geologically important, featuring heavily dissected ravines and ridges along Raccoon Creek, caves containing bats and a rare cave beetle, a natural arch, springs and sinkholes.

The nature preserve is an integral part of the Raccoon Creek Valley with steep, hemlock-covered cliffs, broad floodplain forests, a great blue heron rookery and unique tributary ravines. These community types contain species that depend on large, unfragmented forest ecosystems. Noteworthy plant and animal species found in the nature preserve include the mountain spleenwort and the Indiana bat. The occurrence of limestone and sandstone soils here account for exceptional plant life.

This addition buffers the existing Green’s Bluff nature preserve, enhancing its viability. Protection of this nature preserve was through the cooperative effort of the Indiana Heritage Trust, DNR Division of Nature Preserves and The Nature Conservancy. This nature preserve is owned and managed The Nature Conservancy.

Portland Arch Nature PreservePortland Arch Nature Preserve addition
This acquisition added 99 acres to the existing Portland Arch Nature Preserve, about 6 miles southwest of Attica in Fountain County. It protects a branch of the Bear Creek drainage, along with a block of upland forest in Indiana’s Entrenched Valley Section of the Central Till Plain Natural Region. The topography has sandstone cliffs, erosional sandstone formations known locally as “Tecumseh’s Cave” and “Devils Tea Table,” oak woodlands and a native forest savanna restoration on former farm fields. There are also several springs that well-up on the property and flow into the branch of Bear Creek that flow through Portland Arch.

The site is used by many species of brushland birds, including yellow-breasted chat, summer tanager, brown thrasher, red-headed woodpecker and whippoorwill. This preserve was dedicated in memory of Ron Campbell and Sam Miller, whose passion for Portland Arch and Indiana’s nature preserves offers a legacy of personal commitment and excellence for all to follow. Miller was involved in Portland Arch from the beginning, becoming a volunteer steward for 30 years. Campbell was the first “field” person for the DNR Division of Nature Preserves, and primary property manager for all the preserves. Portland Arch was among his favorite natural areas. Protection of this nature preserve was through the cooperative effort of the Indiana Heritage Trust, DNR Division of Nature Preserves and The Nature Conservancy. It is owned and managed by the DNR Division of Nature Preserves.

Calvert-Porter Nature PreserveCalvert-Porter Nature Preserve addition
This acquisition added 77 acres to the existing Calvert-Porter Nature Preserve, about 3.5 miles north of New Ross in Montgomery County. It is in the Sugar Creek watershed and protects a flatwoods forest remnant with biologically diverse ephemeral wetlands in Indiana’s Tipton Till Plain Section of the Central Till Plain Natural Region.

The addition consists of a high-quality wet and wet-mesic forest types. The ephemeral wetlands are dominated by red maple, pin oak and red elm. While the upland areas surrounding the sloughs contain Shumard’s oak, swamp white oak, shellbark hickory, American beech, American elm and other trees, shrubs and herbaceous plants. Animal species found in this Nature Preserve include forest-dwelling amphibians. This biologically diverse woodland will buffer the Calvert-Porter Nature Preserve from additional conversion of the surrounding landscape, thereby enhancing its viability.

Protection of this nature preserve was through the cooperative effort of the Indiana Heritage Trust, DNR Division of Nature Preserves and The Nature Conservancy. It is owned and managed by the DNR Division of Nature Preserves.

Bender Nature Preserve Bender (Lloyd W.) Nature Preserve addition
This acquisition added 55 acres to the existing Bender Nature Preserve, about 2 miles north of Albion in Noble County. It protects an upland and floodplain forest along the Elkhart River watershed and within the Northern Lakes Natural Region. This nature preserve contains a stretch of the South Branch of the Elkhart River, a meandering broad floodplain— known as “the spreads”—and wetlands. The uplands are morainal ridges interspersed with poorly drained basins.

This nature preserve protects mature, upland oak-hickory forests, a partially forested shrub swamp, a wetland seep and old-growth, bottomland forests in the floodplains. The wetlands provide habitat for several protected species.

This nature preserve is an important addition to the original Bender (Lloyd W.) Nature Preserve and protects wetland habitat on both sides of the Elkhart River. This tract is owned and managed by ACRES Land Trust.


Kokiwanee Nature PreserveKokiwanee Nature Preserve
This 133-acre nature preserve is 2 miles southeast of Lagro in Wabash County. It protects a high-quality, biologically diverse landscape with old-growth forests, natural springs, waterfalls and south-facing bluffs and cliffs along the Wabash River. It is located in the Bluffton Till Plain Section of the Central Till Plain Natural Region.

The topography is characterized by glacial activity with a remarkably diverse landscape of plant communities. Natural communities this nature preserves protects include cedar glades, calcareous fens, seepage bogs, till-plain forests with more than 20 major canopy species on rich soils and riparian areas.
For 40 years Kokiwanee was operated as a Girl Scout camp, introducing thousands of girls to nature. Protection of this nature preserve was through the cooperative effort of the Indiana Heritage Trust, DNR Division of Nature Preserves and ACRES Land Trust. This nature preserve is owned and managed by ACRES Land Trust.

Russell Bend Nature Preserve  Russell Bend Nature Preserve
This 283-acre nature preserve is 3.5 miles northwest of Bloomingdale in Park County. It protects deeply entrenched tributaries of Sugar Creek in Indiana’s Entrenched Valley Section of the Central Till Plain Natural Region. The preserve includes waterfalls and rugged topography with high quality forests and an extensive and healthy stand of Eastern hemlock.

This nature preserve consists of sandstone gorges featuring bedrock outcrops covered in unique vegetation. Seeps in the fractured bedrock provide a cool and protected environment for ferns and mosses. Many unique and beautiful plants, including blue cohosh, spikenard, bulblet fern, walking fern, blue ash, witch hazel, and plantain-leaved sedge, are found in the preserve. The preserve is part of a larger forest block that provides habitat for such species of concern as the worm-eating warbler and the broad-winged hawk.

Russell Bend is next to Coal Hollow Nature Preserve. Both are part of the Sugar Creek Conservation Area, owned by the DNR Division of Fish & Wildlife and part of the Healthy Rivers INitiative, a conservation project along Sugar Creek involving many partners. The preserves are part of a large forested stream corridor that includes Turkey Run State Park and Covered Bridge State Forest. This tract is owned and managed by the DNR Division of Fish & Wildlife. It is managed within the larger Healthy Rivers INitiative and will be open to hunting during designated seasons.