About Indiana State Parks and Nature Preserves

Hikers discover a patch of Virginia bluebells at
Turkey Run State Park

It is the land on which we all depend in the last essence. It is the land and the very soil, the trees and waters, the dales and glens which we love. Without vision a land will die.
Col. Richard Lieber, Founder of Indiana State Parks

Indiana Dunes Preserve at Indiana Dunes State Park

State Spending

  • In 2007, 1.4% of the State of Indiana’s total expenditures and general fund expenditures were for Conservation and Environment. In 2016 only 1.0% of total expenditures and 0.7% of general fund expenditures will be for Conservation and Environment. (Source: Indiana State Budget Agency web site)
  • The Department of Natural Resources was required to revert over $100 million dollars from legislative approved budgets for the fiscal years 2008-2013. (Source: Indiana State Budget Agency web site)
  • The biennium budget approved in 2007-09 included $36.3 million for state parks construction and preventative maintenance. The proposed budget for 2017-19 includes only $22.5 million. (Source: ISBA website)
  • The average Dept. of Natural Resources vehicle is 12 years old.


State Parks

  • There is an Indiana State Park within an hour of every Hoosier.
  • The number of properties Division of State Parks manages has increased from 27 to 32 since 1988, while the number of full-time staff has decreased from 385 to 367 positions.
  • Division of State Parks has 32 properties, 7 state park inns and 170,000 acres of land and water.
  • More than 180 state and federally listed threatened and endangered species are found in Indiana State Parks.
  • Approximately 70% of Indiana State Parks’ operating costs are generated by user fees. Only 30% comes from the State’s General Fund through taxes (Prior to 2015 fee increases).
  • Indiana’s state parks host approximately 15-16 million visits annually by Hoosiers and guests from other states and countries.
  • State Parks staff oversee and care for over 3,100 buildings and structures, 700 miles of trails, over 600 inn rooms, and 7,700 campsites, plus the supporting infrastructure.
  • The Division supplements operations with 18 part time positions and approximately 1,100 seasonal positions during the spring, summer and fall.


State Nature Preserves

  • The number of Division of Nature Preserves owned and managed properties has increased from 17 in 1988 to 71 today.
  • 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 of them are represented on the nature preserves.
  • There are 8 regional ecologists who care for this widely spread system of nature preserves.
  • Of Indiana’s 280 nature preserves, 38 of them occur on state parks, and 71 of them are directly managed by the Division of Nature Preserves Ecologists.
  • In 2016, the Regional Ecologists conducted invasive species control and prescribed burns on 6,991 acres.
  • Trails and parking lots afford visitors a chance to experience prairies, old growth forests, cypress swamps, cedar glades, and various types of wetlands.
  • In 2016, a high quality accessible trail was installed at Nine Penny Branch Nature Preserve, thanks to a generous donation.