About Indiana State Parks and Nature Preserves

State Spending

  • In 2007, 1.4% of the State of Indiana’s total expenditures and General Fund expenditures were for Conservation and Environment. In 2019 only 0% of total expenditures and 0.6% of General Fund expenditures will be for Conservation and Environment. In the 2019-21 budget, the share of total expenditures will continue to drop to 0.8%. (Source: Indiana State Budget Agency website)
  • The Indiana Department of Natural Resources (IDNR) was required to revert over $100 million from legislative approved budgets for the fiscal years 2008-2013. (Source: ISBA website)
  • The biennium budget approved in 2007-09 included $36.3 million for state parks construction and preventive maintenance. The 2019-21 budget includes only $23.9 million.
  • The 2019-21 state budget also includes $150 million for “deferred maintenance needs at state agency owned facilities.” (Source: ISBA website) If significant portion is approved for DNR, this would decrease backlog.
  • IDNR was required to revert approximately 3% of its legislative approved operating budget for the 2018 fiscal year, and is being required to revert 4% of the legislative approved budget for fiscal year 2019.

 

State Parks

  • There is an Indiana State Park within an hour of every Hoosier.
  • Division of State Parks has 32 properties, 7 state park inns and 170,000 acres of land and water.
  • The number of properties the Division manages has increased from 27 to 32 since 1988, while the number of full-time staff has decreased from 385 to 367 positions.
  • State Parks staff oversee and care for more than 3,100 buildings and structures, 700 miles of trails, more than 600 inn rooms and 7,700 campsites, plus the supporting infrastructure.
  • The Division supplements operations with 18 part-time positions and approximately 1,100 temporary positions during the spring, summer and fall.
  • More than 180 state and federally listed threatened and endangered species are found in Indiana State Parks.
  • Approximately 77% of Indiana State Parks’ operating costs are generated by user fees. Only 23% comes from the State’s General Fund through taxes.
  • Indiana’s state parks host approximately 15-16 million visits annually by Hoosiers and guests from other states and countries.
  • State Park revenue for entrance and camping fees in 2018 included $5.4 million from out-of-state visitors.
  • Indiana Parks Alliance estimates that the deferred maintenance needs in state parks exceeds $100 million.

 

State Nature Preserves

  • Nature Preserves are the most widely distributed system of protected lands in Indiana, with preserves in 70 of Indiana’s 92 counties.
  • Of the 213 state endangered plants, 182 are found on these nature preserves.
  • Of Indiana’s 288 nature preserves, 38 of them are located within state parks, and 71 are directly managed by the Division of Nature Preserves ecologists.
  • Division of Nature Preserves owned and managed properties have increased from 17 in 1988 to 71 today.
  • Trails and parking lots afford visitors a chance to experience prairies, old-growth forests, cypress swamps, cedar glades and various types of wetlands.
  • Forty-four of the 71 properties directly managed by the Division have no parking lots or trails, and are thus inaccessible by the public.
  • There are 8 regional ecologists who care for this widely spread system of nature preserves.
  • In 2018, the Regional Ecologists conducted invasive species control and prescribed burns on 5,000 acres.