The Indiana Parks Alliance (IPA) is a charitable organization that supports and advocates for Indiana Department of Natural Resources (DNR) State Parks and Nature Preserves, and the people they serve through education, promotion, fundraising and assistance for local friends groups.
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
What You Should Know
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.
Click to read the: IPA 2016 Annual Report
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!
New Initiatives Offer Hope
By Tom Hohman
Initially it seems nothing has changed. The 2019 state legislative session will again be considering a two year budget for state government, and IPA will again be preaching about the needs of Indiana’s state parks and state owned nature preserves. While recent progress has been made, IPA estimates that the deferred maintenance need for state parks still totals approximately $100 million. Photo at right shows deteriorated road at Shades State Park.
One initiative is movement on the federal level to pass a bill aimed at providing major funding for natural areas and wildlife. The bill, Recovering America’s Wildlife Act, has rare bipartisan support. It would be a boost for all wildlife, but primarily for non-game species, and would benefit all natural areas in Indiana.
On the state level, Indiana Parks Alliance and its conservation partners have been searching for a different approach to funding conservation programs. After looking at several alternatives, and their potential for receiving a favorable reception in the state legislature, we have decided to focus on dedication of existing sales tax revenue from sporting goods stores.
“Sporting goods stores” is a category that retail outlets already use when reporting sales taxes to the Indiana Dept. of Revenue. So that revenue stream is already differentiated. The category includes not only stores like Cabela’s and Dick’s, but many specialty stores, such as golf pro shops, bait & tackles shops, and bicycle stores. Unfortunately, it does not include sporting goods sold at stores like Walmart and Target, which are classified differently by Dept. of Revenue.
The Indiana Dept. of Revenue reports that, over the last 5 years, an average of $62 million per year of sales tax was collected by these stores. If these funds were dedicated for conservation uses, it would be enough to provide funding for the President Benjamin Harrison Conservation Trust (for purchase of natural areas), all construction and preventive maintenance work for not only State Parks, but all of DNR, and a state match for the Recovering America’s Wildlife Act (if passed by Congress).
Note that this is not a new tax. It is just a dedication for a specific use of taxes already collected. Nevertheless, it will still be a hard sell. However, the State of Georgia recently passed a similar law, and even enshrined it in their state constitution. Adding this to the Georgia constitution was on the ballot in November, and was overwhelming approved by 83% of the voters. I think, if given the chance, Hoosiers would be equally supportive of spending their tax money on conservation.
If you would like help IPA with our mission, click on the Donate button below to make an electronic contribution today!