The Indiana Natural Resources Commission has authorized establishment of the largest nature preserve in the DNR system - the Ten O'Clock Line Nature Preserve at Brown County State Park.
"Recreation and resource protection are key elements of the state park mission," said Dan Bortner, director of the DNR Division of State Parks and Reservoirs. "Brown County has great opportunities for recreation, with wonderful trails for a variety of riders. This addition will guarantee that future generations will benefit from the natural resources found there as well."
The 3,339 acres feature a large, intact block of upland and floodplain forest that provides habitat for many species that are dependent on forest interiors, including the cerulean warbler, whip-poor-will, broad-winged hawk, timber rattlesnake and red bat.
"This nature preserve provides permanent protection for some of the rarest wildlife in Indiana, as well as one of the rarest trees in the state, the yellowwood. It also preserves one of the largest unfragmented forests remaining in Indiana," said John Bacone, director of the DNR Division of Nature Preserves.
As part of a state park, the land already was protected by property regulations. Nature preserve status represents an additional commitment by the Division of State Parks and Reservoirs that the land will stay natural, meaning there won't be a lodge, picnic shelter, new parking lot or other development in the acreage.
Horse trails located in the Ten O'Clock Line Nature Preserve will remain open to equestrian riders, and hikers can access the preserve from Trail 9.
The history of the new nature preserve's name dates back to 1809, when the Treaty of Fort Wayne was negotiated between William Henry Harrison, then governor of the Indiana Territory, and Little Turtle, a Miami chief. The secondary name for the treaty line, the "Ten O'Clock Line," which became Indiana's northern boundary at statehood in 1816, remains today. The treaty line passes through the heart of the new nature preserve.
The next largest DNR nature preserves are Rocky Hollow-Falls Canyon in Turkey Run State Park at 1,608 acres and Dunes Nature Preserve at Indiana Dunes State Park at 1,530 acres.
There are 233 nature preserve sites in Indiana encompassing nearly 39,000 acres.
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