We consider ourselves an organization of “doers” who advocate for and promote these public lands and the opportunities they provide. That’s why our partners are so important to us. IPA integrates their objectives into one agenda to create a unified network of action for the natural and cultural resources and facilities in our Indiana State Parks and Indiana Nature Preserves. Our partners include state parks, state-owned nature preserves, the Indiana Natural Resources Foundation, local friends groups and YOU as a member!
|What We Do
We do not raise funds to acquire land; there are other organizations that focus their attention in that area. We do not raise funds for daily operational costs or routine maintenance for Indiana State Parks or state-owned Nature Preserves. We believe these should continue to be provided through user fees and Indiana’s State Budget process. We DO work to enhance the experiences of visitors, protect our natural and cultural resources and maintain a Hoosier legacy for generations to come.
SAVE OUR ASH TREES!
The Indiana Parks Alliance is working with Indiana State Parks and Nature Preserves to protect 100+ mature, seed producing ash trees across the state to save this native species for the future.
The Emerald Ash Borer is an invasive insect that has killed tens of millions of ash trees since it first came to the U.S. in 2002. As of March 2017, EAB has been documented in all 92 counties in Indiana. Within the next ten years, 95% of all ash trees in Indiana will have been lost!
REPAIRS TO PARKS UNDERWAY
By Tom Hohman
IPA has been preaching since our beginnings about the huge backlog of deferred maintenance on State Park properties. Since it’s difficult to take lawmakers out to see the problems, we took some of the problems to them. In 2016 we gave photos of some of the more obvious problems to legislators who were part of the summer study committee, tasked with looking at the needs of DNR. In 2017 we also gave them to members of the House and Senate budget committees. I believe those photos were a major reason that the 2017 legislature added $3.9 million to the biennial budget for State Parks in a line item labeled “deferred maintenance.”
We are now seeing much of that appropriation going to fix the very problems that were shown in the photos. Recently the State Budget Agency approved $1,675,000 for repair of stone stairs and other structures on trail #2 at Brown County State Park. These structures were built by the Civilian Conservation Corps during the depression, and were in such bad shape that the trail was recently closed as a safety hazard. It’s great news that funds have now been approved to repair them.
Another portion of these funds is being used to help pay for replacement of the boardwalk at Indiana Dunes State Park (photo below). This boardwalk through the nature preserve marsh was totally destroyed by high water several years ago.
It is nice to see these repairs being made, and it shows that state budget leaders are listening to what we are saying. While it’s a nice problem to have, we will need to get new photos to illustrate the deferred maintenance problem.
The sad fact is that this is not a difficult task.
Deferred maintenance in nature preserves?
You might not think that deferred maintenance in nature preserves is a problem. By their very nature, Indiana’s nature preserves have few built facilities. While there are some historic structures in nature preserves that are in desperate need of repairs, one could easily make the case that the larger problem is lack of facilities.
While many of the Division of Nature Preserve’s properties are located within other DNR properties, many of those that are independent properties have no trails or parking facilities. They are essentially unavailable for use by the public. 44 of the 71 nature preserves located outside of other DNR properties do not have a parking lot or trails for public use. IPA will be advocating for more funds to correct this problem.
Help Indiana’s wildlife this tax season
You can help animal species such as bald eagles, peregrine falcons, barn owls, box turtles, black bears and more by donating to the Indiana Nongame Wildlife Fund as you do your taxes.
The Indiana Nongame Wildlife Fund supports the DNR Division of Fish & Wildlife’s Wildlife Diversity program. Program staff manages more than 750 nongame and endangered wildlife species. Nongame means the species is not hunted, trapped or fished. This program benefits all natural areas in Indiana, including Indiana’s state parks and nature preserves.
You can donate all or a portion of your state tax refund to the Indiana Nongame Wildlife Fund. If you file with paper forms, look for the eagle logo on Schedule 5/Schedule IN-Donate. If you file through online tax programs, you will be prompted to donate at the end of filing, and the eagle logo will not be present.