Why does DNR want to buy land?
As part of the Healthy Rivers INitiative, DNR works to acquire land in the project areas from willing sellers. Purchased land along the river corridor provides public access to the river and recreational activities while restoring and protecting critical habitat corridors for wildlife and improving water quality. The goal is to create an unfragmented corridor of natural habitat along the rivers with periodic public ownership where people can fish, hunt, watch birds, and participate in all types of outdoor recreational activities.
Eligibility DNR is interested in land within the Sugar Creek, Wabash River, and Muscatatuck River project areas. Counties that may be eligible include Parke, Vermillion, Vigo, Sullivan, Scott, Jackson and Washington. Priority is typically given to parcels adjacent to the three waterways, providing public access to the river or inaccessible state lands, or parcels adjacent to existing protected or public lands. However, we recognize that each circumstance is different and are willing to discuss options that work best for both the landowner and the DNR.
When a landowner is interested in selling land, DNR asks that they fill out a non-binding letter of intent and provide a few documents that will help determine the direction, including maps and a deed. DNR will not be interested in all land. The priority is to add to existing parcels and to provide strategic public access to the river. Once the landowner returns the documentation to DNR, we will determine if the land is a priority, is eligible for the flat rate per acre that DNR is currently paying, or if an appraisal will be needed. If the land is eligible for the flat rate per acre, DNR will order title work and prepare an offer to purchase. If an appraisal is needed, DNR will order and pay for the appraisal to determine the purchase price. Once DNR makes an offer and the landowner agrees with the price, the landowner will sign several documents so that DNR may get approval and counter-signatures in anticipation of closing. The entire process will take about six to nine months to complete.
For More Information
Landowners that are interested in selling their land to DNR can contact our Land Acquisition Specialist at 317-234-8761 or emailing HealthyRivers@dnr.IN.gov.