Indiana Department of Natural Resources

Q. Who is the DNR?
The DNR, or the Department of Natural Resources, is a group of people who work for the benefit of Indiana's natural, cultural and recreational resources.

Q. What does the DNR do?
A. The DNR protects, enhances, preserves, and wisely uses natural, cultural, and recreational resources for the benefit of Indiana's citizens through professional leadership, management, and education.

Q. That is a complicated definition. What exactly does all of that mean?
A. The DNR has two areas of responsibility. The regulatory management team and the land management team. First off, the DNR is in charge of these two areas. Let's learn about those.

Q. What is the regulatory management team?
This team manages water, entomology (bugs) and plant pathology (plant science), historic preservation and archaeology  (preserving Indiana's history), reclamation (coal mining) and oil and gas.

Q. What is the land management team?
The land management team manages state parks and reservoirs, nature preserves (living nature museums), fish and wildlife (hunting, fishing, nongame and endangered wildlife), forestry (trees), outdoor recreation (biking, hiking, ATVs etc.)

Q. Basically, what does all of that mean?
The DNR works to preserve, protect and promote Indiana’s cultural, historical and natural resources. The DNR works on areas such as plants and trees, bugs, wildlife, fish, Indiana's history through artifacts and other items. It also works on recreation like swimming, hunting, fishing, boating, snowmobiling, and more; living nature museums and state parks and reservoirs (lakes) where people can go to enjoy Indiana's natural world.

Q. What types of properties does the DNR own?
. The DNR owns state parks and reservoirs, fish and wildlife areas, state forests and nature preserves.

Q. What are state parks and reservoirs and how many does the DNR own?
State parks and reservoirs are a place where Hoosiers can go and experience Indiana’s landscape. The state parks tend to be land areas with hiking, camping, boating (in some cases), fishing and other activities. Reservoirs are areas where dams have been built creating big bodies of water. These reservoirs provide boating and recreational access. The DNR has 33 state parks and reservoirs. You can see the list of all of Indiana's state parks and reservoirs by clicking here.

Q. What is a  fish and wildlife area and how many does the DNR own?
. Fish and wildlife areas are places where Hoosiers can go to hunt, fish or trap and view wildlife. There are 22 fish and wildlife areas in Indiana. You can see the list of all of Indiana's fish and wildlife areas by clicking here.

Q. What are the state forests and how many does Indiana have?
The primary purpose of the state forests is to produce timber and watershed protection. Indiana’s state forests also allow some recreational benefits including camping, horsetrails, hunting and fishing. There are 14 state forests in Indiana. There are 22 fish and wildlife areas in Indiana. You can see the list of all of Indiana's state forests by clicking here.

Q. What are the state-owned fish hatcheries?
Yes, the DNR also owns 8 fish hatcheries. Fish are bred to be released into lakes and rivers around Indiana. These hatcheries help keep lakes and rivers stocked with enough fish to provide good fishing. You can see the list of all of Indiana's fish hatcheries by clicking here.

Q. What happens at fish hatcheries?
Fisheries biologists, biologists that work only with fish, work in a facility called a fish hatchery to grow fish. Here, they raise fish eggs of different types of species of fish. When the fish are hatched, the fry (baby fish) are raised and released to stock lakes, streams and ponds.

Q. What are the nature preserves?
Nature preserves are areas that contain high quality natural areas. In other words, they are areas that are still in the same condition that they might have been when European settlers first arrived. They might be old growth forests, prairies, savannas and/or areas that contain rare, threatened or endangered plants or animals. The DNR also owns or works with more than 100 nature preserves throughout Indiana.You can see the list of all of Indiana's nature preserves by clicking here.

Q. Can the public visit nature preserves?
Yes, most preserves are open to the public. Nature preserves that are open to the public are a great place to go hiking, bird watch or study nature. Most nature preserves that allow visitors have a parking lot and trail. Next time you want to go outside, visit a nature preserve near you. They are located all over the state of Indiana. You can see the list of all of Indiana's nature preserves by clicking here.