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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.

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