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The first dedicated nature preserve was Pine Hills Nature Preserve in Shades State Park, dedicated in 1969. Since then, the state nature preserve system has grown to be the most widely distributed system of protected lands in the state. Seventy-one counties contain 178 nature preserves that are open to the public. Visitation is allowed to the extent that the features can tolerate it without deterioration. Nature preserves are set aside primarily to protect the plants, animals and natural communities that are found on them, providing protection in perpetuity for the benefit of future generations.

We work closely with many others in dedicating significant natural areas, including local city and county park systems, The Nature Conservancy and local land trusts, the DNR Divisions of State Parks & Reservoirs, Forestry, and Fish & Wildlife, as well as Indiana State Museum and Historic Sites, and colleges and universities.

Master Plan & Conservation Easement Reviews

All Dedicated State Nature Preserves (NPs) are established to protect the natural, cultural, historical, and geological features of the property, and all Master Plans state the purpose and intention of the Dedication. The primary intention for NPs are to protect and enhance the ecological value of the site, allowing for restoration of natural communities and areas, recreation and scientific study. Conservation Easements (CEs) are accompanied by land use restrictions, exist to limit land conversions and developments, and are often part of the process towards permanent protection.

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