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Outdoor Indiana - January/February 2022

About Outdoor Indiana

Outdoor Indiana, the state's premier magazine, delivers the wonders of the Hoosier outdoors to subscribers' homes and offices six times a year in 48 pages of vibrant color. For the best of state parks, lakes, wildlife, forests, trails, hunting, fishing, wildflowers and outdoorsy people, plus inside information from DNR experts, subscribe for $15 per year or $28 for two years. Follow the magazine staff on Facebook.

An Eastern screech owl at Celery Bog Nature Area, a part of the Indiana Birding Trail (IBT) in West Lafayette.  Photo by Frank Oliver.

An Eastern screech owl at Celery Bog Nature Area, a part of the Indiana Birding Trail (IBT) in West Lafayette.
Photo by Frank Oliver

Featured Stories

  • From the Director


    DNR Director Dan Bortner

    DNR Director Dan Bortner

    Your Indiana DNR facilities are constantly evolving to better meet the needs of Hoosiers and our guests. Last year brought a series of improvements, including renovations to Abe Martin Lodge at Brown County State Park and the Pavilion at Indiana Dunes State Park. There will be even more new to see and do in 2022, thanks to a more than $100 million continuing initiative by Governor Eric Holcomb.

    While you may not notice our critical updates to utility lines at several properties, you will find improvements to hiking, biking and horse trails across our system. Additional upgrades to bridges, staircases, and other wooden facilities along many of our trails in state forests, state parks, and Fish & Wildlife areas will be forthcoming, along with Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) accessible options to meet your needs. We are also improving the safety and accessibility of 40 playgrounds across our properties.

    This year we will begin renovations to the inn at Spring Mill State Park. Expect to see improvements to the guest rooms, lobby, and indoor pool area.

    Additionally, the updated Nature Center at Pokagon State Park opens this spring.  The new exhibit focuses on the native people who lived in northern Indiana before European settlement. It will feature a black ash basket made in the traditional manner by an artisan from the Pokagon Band of Potawatomi who is a descendant of Simon and Leopold Pokagon, for whom the park is named.

    Happy New Year! We cannot wait to see you outdoors.


    Indiana’s canals had a big impact on Hoosier landscape
    By Scott Roberts, OI staff

    A bufflehead skips across the water at Willow Slough FWA as it scurries to liftoff.

    The Wabash and Erie Canal Museum worked to preserve this portion of the Wabash & Erie Canal in Delphi.

    One spring day in 1966, Sam Ligget of Terre Haute and a couple of his friends were walking along Canal Road just outside of the city limits.

    He leaned over a metal bridge and saw stone remnants in the creek.

    “That doesn’t belong here,” he remembers thinking about the stone. “This is sand, there shouldn’t be any stones like that here.”

    He couldn’t get the stone out of his mind. Ligget started to research construction projects in the area and found out the stone was the remainder of a culvert from what was once the longest canal in the Western Hemisphere, the Wabash & Erie Canal. When completed, the canal ran from Toledo, Ohio to Evansville, a total of 468 miles, 380 of them in Indiana, and part of it ran through Terre Haute.

    Ligget became enthralled with canals. He learned all he could about the route this one took through the city and how it was built. That’s why he was adamant the city keep the timbers from that culvert when a construction company dug them up while building the State Road 641 bypass around Terre Haute in 2007. The timbers are now in Fowler Park, some of them kept underwater for preservation, others under a shelter so visitors can view them.

    He has found remains of the canal throughout Vigo County. Some abandoned ditches and small rivers have turned out to be parts of the canal, and Ligget still gets excited every time he finds a new area.

    “Half the time you don’t know what you’re looking at if you haven’t done the research, then you realize there are parts of the canal everywhere,” he said.

    Remnants of this and other canals can be found statewide.


    Indiana Birding Trail guide promotes state’s best birding sites
    By Scott Roberts, OI staff

    A bufflehead skips across the water at Willow Slough FWA as it scurries to liftoff.

    A peregrine falcon in downtown South Bend near the five St. Joseph County spots on the Indiana Birding Trail.

    DNR ornithologist Allisyn Gillet says when she first started birding, she was concerned about getting lost, especially when visiting new locations.

    “I wondered ‘will I have a place to park my car? Will I know where the trailhead is? Will my area have delineated paths and trails?’ All these things went through my head,” she said.

    The Indiana Birding Trail (IBT) guidebook answers those questions and more for 66 sites across the Hoosier state, 35 of which are owned or managed by the DNR. The Indiana Audubon Society (IAS) published the guidebook with input from a committee of representatives from DNR’s divisions of State Parks, Fish & Wildlife, and Nature Preserves; local Audubon societies; the St. Joseph County Parks Association; Wild Birds Unlimited; and local tourism agencies Indiana Dunes Tourism, Steuben County Tourism, and Visit South Bend.

    “I’m so glad that this guide is out because it gives information about accessibility, whether there are bathrooms, where the parking is, and those can be big barriers to those just starting birding,” Gillet said.

    The IBT guidebook also lists site-specific information on what species can be found, best seasons to visit, and best birding times, as well as a few general tips and ethical practices for birders ranging in experience from beginner to advanced.


    Indiana Birding Trail guide promotes state’s best birding sites
    By Scott Roberts, OI staff

    A bufflehead skips across the water at Willow Slough FWA as it scurries to liftoff.

    A hiker poses for an ice-hike photo. Guided hikes are offered on Saturdays at noon in January and February.

    The boot spikes of 30 hikers crunched in the snow and ice as Turkey Run State Park interpretive naturalist Aaron Douglass led the group into Gypsy Gulch on the park’s Trail 2 last February.
    Steam wafted from their breath as the temperature hovered at 19 degrees to create a visual winter wonderland.

    As the hikers walked along a rocky ledge and turned a corner, the terrain opened into a canyon, and they saw blue-green icicles frozen in place about halfway down a ridge. Some hikers gasped as the ice from a frozen waterfall glittered in the sun, suspended just above the ground.
    “That was amazing, kind of like a bucket list item I didn’t even know I had,” said Stephanie Rose of Crawfordsville, who hiked that day with her 8-year-old daughter, Amira. “I loved the colors. I couldn’t even believe I was looking at it.”

    It’s that kind of experience Douglass and park managers were hoping for when they started their ice hike series two years ago with forays into Rocky Hollow Nature Preserve. The park expanded its offerings last year with treks into Bear Hollow and Gypsy Gulch. With the expansion came an increase in participation. Turkey Run hosted a hike every weekend that January and February, and all the available spots were filled.

    Because of that success, the park is bringing the hikes back this year.

Subscribe to Outdoor Indiana magazine

Visit the Indiana State Parks online store to subscribe. Cost is $15 for a one year subscription (6 issues) or $28 for two years (12 issues).


Printing and distribution costs for Outdoor Indiana magazine have increased. One way we’re offsetting these costs is through the Friends of Outdoor Indiana Group administered through the Indiana Natural Resources Foundation. Donations to our friends group helps keep our subscription price low and ensures we’ll be around to bring you the best of Indiana’s outdoors for years to come. Donate at the INRF website and include “Friends of Outdoor Indiana” in the “In Honor Of/In Memory Of” line.

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