While some of the land last year that was acquired with conservation funds were rather large, most were of a rather small size. Let us look at these smaller tracts. In southern Indiana, Monroe County had three of these parcels. One added 25 acres to the Beanblossom Creek site, a major project of the Sycamore Land Trust, one of Indiana’s most active an defective land trusts. Another, also obtained by Sycamore, added 14 acres to the Amy Weingartner Boragigan Peninsula Preserve at our state’s largest reservoir, Lake Monroe. Two parcels of 40 and 21 acres were acquired in Monroe County and added to the Scarlet Oak Woods Preserve.

This helped to tie together segments of the 200 plus acres of this pretty upland woods site. All of the Monroe County areas added were conservation easements. The glades down in Harrison County are some of the best remaining examples in our state. The dictionary has a rather simple explanation of what a glade really is. It only states “A glade is a grassy open space surrounded by woods.” This does not sound like a very interesting place, but a glade is really a most unusual segment of our natural heritage. It is most often full of unique plants and animal life. It is far from this rather mundane definition given in a dictionary.

Two of the sites acquired by the Ohio River, one 28 acres, the other 40 acres, which are both conservation easements, will help protect these grassy locations that often harbor rare and endangered plants and also forms of animal life. Another Harrison County C.E. which is considerably larger at 164 acres is in the lovely Mosquito Creek area which has a large acreage of prime natural features preserved and protected. Trails are being acquired all over Indiana, and I have featured several in past columns and will be doing more on them in the future. A number of these hiking, biking and just plain old walking trails took advantage of money from various funding sources to acquire key property to allow additional construction of the trails to continue.

These included a nine-acre gap in the Pennsy Trail that will extend from Cumberland in Marion County to Greenfield in Hancock County. A future trail in Lake County in northwestern Indiana will be known as the Veterans Memorial Trail. A half acre C.E. will allow better access to this interesting endeavor. The Prufferbell Trail in Allen County is a very popular recreation trail. A three and a half acre C.E. will help extend its length.

What is known as the Converse Trail added a seven and a half acre C.E. that will eventually allow the Nickle Plate Trail to connect to the Cardinal Greenway which is a very popular hiking trail. The White River Bluffs extend for some distance along the west fork of the White River in Indianapolis. They provide a great view of the Rocky Ripple area of our state capital. A nine acre C.E. will allow visitors an opportunity to view this scenic location.

State properties also used conservation easements and outright purchase to enhance their features. Among these are the Levi and Catherine Coffin State Historical Site in Wayne County, McCormick’s Creek State Park in Owen County, a five acre addition to Prophets Town State Park in Tippecanoe County, two additions of eight and 16 acres, and a small three-acre parcel added to Shades State Park in Montgomery County. Nature preserves were also not left out in 2018.

Ober Sand Savanna in Starke County, 30 acres; Grass Lake Natural Ara in La Grange County, 101 acres; McCloskey Savanna in Lake County, 36 acres; Reber Woods in Delaware County; 30 acres; Salk Creek Corridor in Porter County, 15 acres; and the Shawnee Bottoms in Fountain County, 65 acres all were enhanced by conservation easements. Natural areas adding acreage by land purchase were Popp Nature Preserve in Allen County, 21 acres; Baseline Barrens in Washington County, 20 acres; and the impressive Elkhart Bog in the county with the same name, 24 acres. Last year was indeed a very busy year.

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