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 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.