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.
- From the Director
Life’s milestones stick with us, and in the Bortner household, they’re cause for celebration.
When it comes to preserving Indiana’s exceptional natural places, Indiana recently hit such a milestone worth celebrating: The dedication of our state’s 300th nature preserve, Toothwort Woods Nature Preserve in Jennings County. For those of us who love history and nature, this is a big deal.
Nature preserves safeguard natural places in Indiana that are home to something noteworthy, whether that’s distinctive plants, geological features, or habitat for wildlife that needs extra protection.
How we got here is a fun story. In the 1960s, when many Americans had their eyes on the moon and the stars, here on Earth, Hoosiers came together to pass the Nature Preserves Act, which allows us to permanently protect special places of natural significance across the state. Pine Hills Nature Preserve at Shades State Park became Indiana’s first nature preserve.
Fast forward to the 1990s, and Indiana established a fund to help acquire and protect such land, which is now called the President Benjamin Harrison Conservation Trust Fund.
Today, thanks to the Hoosiers who came before us, the DNR, private land trusts, universities, and local communities have permanently protected 55,769 acres of Indiana as nature preserves.
It’s a legacy worthy of celebration. Check out on.IN.gov/naturepreserves to learn more about these special places, how to visit them, and how you can join our cause in protecting them.
- Warning: THIS IS A SAPPY STORY
By Scott Roberts, OI staff
Anyone who’s eaten pancakes or waffles with maple syrup knows it has a way of sticking around.
The Young family is a prime example. It’s been part of their lives for 14 generations. They have gathered at Gray Woods Sugar Camp in Parke County every year since 1820 to make the sweet treat. In that time, their sugarhouse, the place where sap is boiled into syrup, has been moved only a half mile from its original location. They use a plaque at the rear of the structure to tally how many gallons they produce each year.
In 2023 a member of the second-to-latest generation, Makhalea Young Whitehead, now 26, and her younger brother, Shane Young, now 22, were overseeing the goings on for the first time. Even so, they weren’t nervous.
“Our dad made sure we knew the entire process by the time we were 5,” Makhalea said. “We may run into issues, but we have the entire family here to help.”
The process went smoothly, as the family hit its average of around 100 gallons.
What Makhalea likes most about making syrup is that it gets the family together, 13 members strong last year, which might not happen otherwise. She has fond memories of dipping hot dogs and hard-boiled eggs into the potion and eating them, as well as long nights of laughter and sharing stories over a fire as the sap cooks.
To read the rest of this article subscribe to Outdoor Indiana or pick up a copy at one of our state park inns. To subscribe, click here or call (317) 233-3046.
- GET TO THE POINT
A different kind of hunting
By Marty Benson, OI staff
Think “shed hunting” means shopping for yard barns?
Nope, here it’s an(other) good excuse to wander the woods, not the local mega hardware.
Even if you know the term means playing finders-keepers for the pointy weapons bucks lose—or shed—read on for tips to elevate your game or get new ideas for using what you collect.
Conveniently, plenty of shed-rich land is available to Hoosiers.
Moriah Boggess, the former Indiana DNR deer biologist who left for a similar position in his home state of North Carolina two years ago, has hunted sheds in 26 states. He says Indiana is the best he’s experienced for white-tailed deer shed hunting.
Part of the reason is geography. Some of it is the plentiful deer. Another factor is that southern Indiana, where Boggess did most of his shed hunting when he lived near Bloomington for a couple of years, boasts loads of public land.
“I’ve shed hunted a lot in the Southeast, the Deep South, and other Midwestern states like Ohio, Illinois, Missouri, Kentucky, and I’ve never had as much success as I had in Indiana,” he said.To read the rest of this article subscribe to Outdoor Indiana or pick up a copy at one of our state park inns. To subscribe, click here or call (317) 233-3046.
- TOTAL ECLIPSE OF THE SUN
Get ready for Indiana’s April 8 skyshow
By Scott Roberts, OI Staff
The last time a total solar eclipse crossed the Hoosier state, Ulysses S. Grant was president, Purdue University had been founded a few months before, and the telegraph was the fastest way to pass information across the country.
Before that day, Aug. 7, 1869, the last total solar eclipse to cross over what would become central Indiana happened during the Byzantine Empire, in 1205.
So, on April 8, when the orbit of the moon passes in front of the sun, completely blocking it and making the afternoon day look like night in its path, called the zone of totality, it will be a day like most Hoosiers have never seen and never will again.
The sky will begin to darken around 1:30 p.m. ET in the zone, and starting around 3 p.m., complete darkness will take over, lasting four minutes at the zone’s center. The dark period will be shorter the farther you are from the center, but all places within the zone will experience at least two minutes of darkness during a time that on all other days is fully lit by the sun.
Learn more at on.IN.gov/eclipse.To read the rest of this article subscribe to Outdoor Indiana or pick up a copy at one of our state park inns. To subscribe, click here or call (317) 233-3046.
Each issue, Outdoor Indiana staff will select reader submitted photos to feature in the magazine. If you would like the chance to be featured, please submit your photo, along with your name and phone number to:
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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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