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Natural Areas Management on State Parks

Prescribed burn

The mission of the natural areas program is to promote, maintain and restore the integrity of our native ecological communities using sound science to ensure appropriate composition, structure, and function that reflects original Indiana landscapes.

Twenty-four state park properties currently comprise 13 percent of the total acreage held by the Indiana Department of Natural Resources. While providing opportunities for hiking, biking, camping, canoeing and many other forms of outdoor recreation, the state parks contain some of the finest natural areas in the state and Midwest. Many high quality examples of 23 of the 62 significant natural communities recognized by the Natural Heritage Database can be found represented throughout the parks. Most of these special areas require some form of active management to remain ecologically intact. These areas and others are currently home to more than 180 species listed as rare, threatened, or endangered on both state and federal lists.

Woodland, prairie, savanna, meadow, and marsh are just a few of the intriguing communities scattered throughout the state parks. Park staff use a variety of tools and techniques to maintain and restore a great diversity of natural areas.

Deer Management Hunts

State parks have managed the impacts of over browsing deer since 1993. The information below should be quite useful for those wishing to learn more about this management tool or wanting to learn about participating.

Deer Management Hunt Information sheets

Goose Reductions

State parks have managed the impacts of overabundant geese since 2007. The information below should be useful for those wishing to learn more about this management tool or wanting to learn about participating.

Invasive Species Management

Invasive plants and animals are among the top threats to natural areas and game habitat around the world today, state parks and reservoirs are no different.

  • Invasive Species and the DNR

Prescribed Fire

Though it may seem counter-intuitive, fire can be an effective tool for maintaining or restoring certain natural communities. Highly trained and experienced staff plan and execute prescribed fire strategically throughout the state parks and reservoirs.

Featured Natural Areas Project

Many projects, both large and small, are regularly being designed or initiated throughout our natural areas. Below are some of our recent and current projects:


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