News Center

Keep up with what the Indiana Parks Alliance is doing on behalf of Indiana state parks and state-owned nature preserves.

• November 19, 2019
Indiana Parks Alliance announced today that they were the recipient of a $6,000 donation from IU Health as a result of the hospital’s Step to Give Challenge.  The Step to Give Challenge was part of their 2019 Healthy Results challenges for their employees.  Participating employees chose one of three organizations, and then “voted” for their choice by registering steps on their Fitbit.  The one with the most votes/steps during September and October was declared the winner of a $6,000 donation from IU Health.  IPA was recently notified that they were the winner of the contest, and thus the recipient of the top donation.  The other two organizations Feeding America and Connect2Help, were still winners, as they both also received donations from IU Health.

IPA is appreciative of the donation from IU Health, and also of the support of the many IU Health employees who voted for us with their steps in the contest.

March 2, 2019
Growing Coalition Backs a Bipartisan Bill to Increase Investment in Indiana’s Parks and Wild Places

(INDIANAPOLIS, IN)- A bipartisan bill has been introduced in the Indiana General Assembly that would dedicate existing state revenue to address serious underfunding of Indiana’s state parks and wild areas.  House Bill 1376 would use sales tax revenue already collected from the sale of outdoor equipment and sporting goods to forever protect endangered woodlands, wetlands, and prairies, and better maintain state parks and other state outdoor properties.

The bill’s lead authors are Rep. Mike Aylesworth (R-Hebron) and Rep. Sue Errington (D-Muncie).

Backed by sixteen diverse organizations and growing, HB 1376, known as “the Indiana Outdoor Stewardship Act (IOSA)” would establish a predictable and consistent source of funding for important state conservation programs. Specifically, the programs proposed to receive IOSA funds are:

  • President Benjamin Harrison Conservation Trust
  • State Wildlife Action Plan and Wildlife Diversity Program
  • Maintenance and repair of buildings and facilities on DNR properties.

“Indiana’s beautiful natural areas may well be the state’s least-touted economic development asset despite being a $16 billion per year sector,” said Tim Maloney, senior policy director for the Hoosier Environmental Council. “Worse, they are woefully underfunded, degrading the experience for the Hoosiers who visit state parks, preserves, and recreation areas.”

All of the above programs and initiatives have been underfunded and unable to fulfill their mission or meet their needs: The President Harrison Conservation Trust has not received a meaningful state appropriation since 2009, and revenue from sale of the environmental license plate has declined nearly 50% over the last two decades due to increased specialty plate competition. The State Wildlife Action Plan and the Wildlife Diversity Program support DNR efforts to protect and restore wildlife habitats and populations; neither program receives state funds dedicated for their specific purpose, apart from the funds that state taxpayers contribute on their tax return for non-game and endangered wildlife. The Indiana DNR owns and manages hundreds of outdoor properties — state parks, state recreation areas, state forests, nature preserves, and state fish and wildlife areas. The buildings, picnic shelters, restrooms, inns, and trails at these sites must be constantly maintained for the enjoyment of the over 17 million visitors who use them every year.

“State funding has not kept pace with the need to adequately maintain the structures and other facilities at our state parks and recreation areas, resulting in a backlog of deferred maintenance projects we estimate at nearly $100 million,” said Tom Hohman of the Indiana Parks Alliance.

“With the conclusion of the highly successful Bicentennial Nature Trust, and the very limited state investment in the President Benjamin Harrison Conversation Trust, Indiana’s ability to conserve our most valuable natural areas and wildlife habitats is at a critical point.  Now is the time for our legislators to renew the state’s commitment to protection of our state’s outdoor legacy,” said John Ketzenberger, director of government relations for the Indiana Chapter of the Nature Conservancy.

“Finding a place to hunt, fish, or trap is the number one problem facing sportsmen in Indiana today.  Many of us rely on public land for our outdoor opportunities, and this legislation will help to ensure that we continue to grow our public land quality and availability.  It is on this public land that we can share the outdoor lifestyle with other outdoor enthusiasts such as hikers, canoe and kayak enthusiasts, nature photographers, and birdwatchers for generations to come,” said Gene Hopkins, president of Indiana Sportsman’s Roundtable.

Organizations endorsing the Indiana Outdoor Stewardship Act to date:
Eagle Creek Watershed
Hoosier Chapter Soil and Water Conservation Society
Hoosier Environmental Council
Indiana Association of Soil and Water Conservation Districts
The Indiana Chapter of the Nature Conservancy
\\Indiana Parks Alliance
Indiana Sportsman’s Roundtable
Indiana Wildlife Federation
Indiana Forest Alliance
Izaak Walton League Indiana Division
League of Women Voters of Indiana
Marion County Soil and Water Conservation District
NICHES Land Trust
Save Maumee Grassroots Organization
Shirley Heinze Land Trust
Sierra Club Hoosier Chapter
South Bend-Elkhart Audubon Society

The Indiana Conservation Alliance (INCA) is a group of organizations sharing a common interest in the protection, stewardship and sustainable use of our natural resources.  We are a unified voice advocating for public funding for land, water and wildlife conservation.  INCA, as a coalition, backs IOSA.   More information can be found at,, and

December 17, 2018
Recovering America’s Wildlife Act
By John Goss

Indiana to get $20M from the Recovering Americas Wildlife Act!

Scientists estimate that one third of all U.S. wildlife species are in trouble or vulnerable due to habitat loss, invasive species, and severe weather taking a toll on birds, mammals, fish, amphibians, reptiles, butterflies and bees.

Recovering America’s Wildlife Act is a bold vision, with no tax increase, that will re-direct $1.3 billion of existing revenues from energy development on federal lands to allow Indiana and all states to more fully implement state wildlife action plans. Indiana has a State Wildlife Action Plan (SWAP) that is a blueprint for conservation of non-game species by assessing the health of wildlife and habitat and identifying the species of greatest conservation need. River OtterIndiana has a proven track record of success for restoring Hoosier species such as the bald eagle, osprey, otters, falcons and others in the non-game categories in addition to white tail deer and turkeys and numerous fish species for hunting and angling.

Indiana would be required to provide a $6 Million match to fully access the $20 million estimated as Indiana’s share of the new dedicated funding source that would continue indefinitely as part of the Pitman-Robertson Act that has funded state fish and wildlife programs since 1937. There are currently more than 100 co-sponsors of H.R. 4647 in the House including Rep. Andre Carson. Please contact your members of the U.S. House and Senate and urge them to join as co-sponsors for the future of Indiana’s Wildlife.

• November 3
Friends of Brown County State Park receive a grant award from Indiana Parks Alliance President Tom Hohman. The money will go toward creating copper sculptures of leaves in the park’s Nature Center. Pictured are, left to right, BCSP Interpretive Naturalist Patrick Haulter, Tom Hohman, Friends President Vicky Wyatt, Friends Vice President Dwight Thompson and Friends Treasurer Janet Kramer. (Photo by Sara Clifford, Brown County Democrat)

• November 2
IPA was pleased to be at the INPAWS conference in Bloomington Oct. 28. Jerry Pagac and Tom Hohman took turns staffing the IPA table and roaming about, swapping info and seeds. It’s great to share our love of native Indiana flora, including our beloved ash trees. (Photo by Michael Huft)









• October 4
At their August board meeting the Indiana Parks Alliance awarded Project grants to three applicants.
1) The Friends of Limberlost/Loblolly Marsh will receive a check to assist in restoring the Limberlost wetlands and prairies with native plantings.
2) The Friends of Harmonie State Park are a grant recipient for funds to go toward their project to build an outdoor education pavilion adjacent to the existing nature center.
3) The Friends of Brown County State Park plan to create 8 to 10 copper leaf sculptures for display in the nature center. The sculptures will be shaped with enough volume, curves and shapes that when touched you can actually feel the veins of the leaves. A local artist will be commissioned for the project.

Pictured L to R are Tom Hohman, IPA, Terri Gorney, Friends of the Limberlost, and Ben Hess, DNR, Div. of Nature Preserves.
(Photo credit: Jim Langham, The Berne Witness.)

February 14, 2017
Indiana State Parks and Nature Preserves: Celebrating Today – Envisioning the Future

• February 1, 2017
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 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 $22.4 (Source: ISBA website)
  • As of November 14, 2016, 14% of Dept. of Natural Resources positions were being held vacant, primarily due to lack of funds.
  • The average Dept. of Natural Resources vehicle is 11.5 years old.

• January 10, 2017
Indiana Heritage Trust Update

One accomplishment of the 2016 session of the Indiana State Legislature was a makeover of the Indiana Heritage Trust (IHT) program.  This program, one of the most successful conservation programs in state history, was unfortunately losing steam.  IHT has enabled DNR, local parks and land trusts to buy and protect thousands of acres of natural areas over the years since its inception.  While funding for this program has been limited in recent years, the Bicentennial Nature Trust (BNT), created by Governor Daniels during his term, filled the gap temporarily.  Unfortunately, those fund have been fully utilized, and efforts to provide significant new funds for the program have been unsuccessful.

In an attempt to rejuvenate the program, a bill was passed to combine the best parts of the IHT and the BNT, rename it, and hopefully reinvigorate the program.  The approval process for projects has been streamlined, and language in the bill made it more clear that local trail projects are covered by the program.  The result is what is now known as the President Benjamin Harrison Conservation Trust, named after the 23rd president from Indiana.  IPA supported these changes, and hopes that they will encourage increased funding in future sessions.

• January 2, 2017
Land & Water Conservation Fund Reauthorized by U.S. Congress in 2016
As part of a 2016 Omnibus Spending Bill, Congress reauthorized the Land & Water Conservation Fund Act through September 2018. Enacted by Congress in 1965, the LWCF is the nation’s premiere federal program for conservation and outdoor recreation. LWCF revenues are derived from Outer Continental Shelf oil/gas leases. Federal agencies e.g. the National Park Service are allocated LWCF funds for land acquisition, whereas LWCF State Assistance supports planning, acquisition and development of parkland and outdoor recreation facilities. The State Assistance formula grant program requires states and local communities to match the federal investment dollar-for-dollar. Indiana’s state parks have benefited from the LWCF, including the recently dedicated Centennial Legacy Shelter at McCormick’s Creek State Park. LWCF has invested in local projects in each of Indiana’s 92 counties. While Indiana has received about $85 million in federal LWCF funds since 1965, there is an estimated $510 million in unmet needs. Over the past decade the State Assistance Program has only been allocated 13% of total LWCF funding, leaving a scant amount available for parks and outdoor recreation in Indiana. Indiana will most likely receive less than a $1 million apportionment in each year for the next three years. The ultimate goal is to permanently authorize the LWCF at $900 million a year, and ensure that the State Assistance Program is equitably funded with a higher percentage of total LWCF funding. Achieving this goal will take an extraordinary advocacy effort.

• January 1, 2017
State Park and Nature Preserve Bucket List Survey
If you are looking for a “bucket list” of place to go and things to do in 2017, the Indiana Parks Alliance (IPA) has just what you need.

During the centennial celebration for Indiana State Parks in 2016 and in preparation for the 50th anniversary of the Nature Preserves Act in 2017, the IPA asked Hoosiers to select their top “outdoor bucket list” visit locations at Indiana State Parks and State-Dedicated Nature Preserves.

Click here for the full Media Release and Bucket List.

• December 31, 2016
Hold the Date for an IPA Webinar
IPA Webinar “The State of Indiana State Parks and State-Owned Nature Preserves” is scheduled for Thursday, February 16, 2017 from 10am-11am.  Mark your calendars. More information coming soon.

• August 24, 2016
The Agricultural and Natural Resources summer study committee.

The Agricultural and Natural Resources summer study committee held its meeting today. The session was held in the House chamber, and was divided into morning and afternoon sessions. The morning session, devoted to “an accounting of all properties maintained by the Department of Natural Resources, including needs for maintenance, improvements and upgrades to those properties. The afternoon session was devoted to issues of funding for the President Benjamin Harrison Conservation Trust Fund. Both sessions can be found at

Those testifying were asked to coordinate among themselves to limit repetitive testimony saying the same things. Since there were a number of organizations speaking to the conservation trust issue, and the mission of IPA is more closely related to the issues of the morning session, IPA spoke only at the morning session. There is a drop down menu where you can select either the morning or afternoon session.

The “interim study committee” was formed by the legislature to study:
(1) An accounting of all properties maintained by the department of natural resources, including needs for maintenance, improvements, and upgrades to those properties.
(2) Anticipated future needs for acquisition of new properties.
(3) Identifying additional long term funding sources for the President Benjamin Harrison Conservation Trust Fund.

• July 20, 2016
Indiana Conservation Alliance (INCA) Conference

Indiana Conservation Alliance (INCA), will host a Conservation Congress at the Abe Martin Lodge at Brown County State Park on September 30, 2016. This event will be an opportunity for stakeholders across Indiana to focus on the future of our natural resources and wildlife conservation. INCA is an alliance of about 30 Hoosier conservation organizations, including IPA. Full details can be found on the INCA web site at

• April 1, 2016
Indiana Parks Alliance Offers Founders Circle Memberships During Indiana State Parks Centennial Year

The Indiana Parks Alliance (IPA) is offering a unique membership opportunity during Indiana State Parks’ Centennial Year.

Join for a year before November 31, 2016, at the $250 membership level or above and be identified as a member of the Founder’s Circle. In addition to regular membership benefits, Founder’s Circle members receive an IPA lapel pin, and an invitation to a Founder’s Circle reception and program at an Indiana State Park in late 2016.

IPA is a charitable organization that supports Indiana State Parks and Nature Preserves through advocacy, education, research, promotion, fundraising and assistance for local friends groups.

IPA has helped fund field trips to Indiana State Parks for Hoosier students, and has donated funding to local friends groups at McCormick’s Creek State Park and Tippecanoe River State Park to support restoration of historic structures at those sites. IPA advocates for funding and other needs for Indiana State Parks and Indiana’s state owned Nature Preserves, and provides information related to issues, projects and properties for IPA members and the public.

IPA also works in partnership to support fundraising initiatives through the Indiana Natural Resources Foundation (INRF) that are designated for Indiana State Parks or Nature Preserves, such as the Discovering the Outdoors Fund.

Support for IPA comes from memberships and donations. A variety of membership options are available. Donations are tax-deductible, and memberships can include state park annual passes and other gifts.

• February 24, 2016
Resolution of Support for the Mounds Greenway

Whereas, the Indiana Parks Alliance is opposed to the proposed damming of the White River at Anderson, which would create Mounds Reservoir and inundate approximately 1/3 of Mounds State Park and Mounds Fen State Nature Preserve in its entirety, as well as other natural areas along the river; and,

Whereas, Indiana Parks Alliance has previously publicly stated that opposition; and,

Whereas, a linear park and trails plan known as the Mounds Greenway would protect the West Fork White River and its adjoining bottomland forest and wetlands, Mounds State Park and Mounds Fen State Nature Preserve, and maintain a free-flowing natural river.

Therefore, be it resolved that the Indiana Parks Alliance supports the Mounds Greenway plan and urges collaboration between interested parties to implement this concept.

• February 19, 2016
Indiana Parks Alliance Donates to Support Indiana State Park Projects

Two historic structures located in Indiana State Parks are a step closer to restoration as a result of grants awarded to the parks’ local friends groups by the Indiana Parks Alliance (IPA).

IPA recently made a $3000 contribution to the Friends of McCormick’s Creek State Park for the design phase to restore the park’s historic fire tower and a $2000 contribution to the Friends of Tippecanoe River State Park to assist with replacement lighting for the park’s historic Tepicon Recreation Hall.

The Indiana Parks Alliance, formed in 2014, is a charitable organization that supports Indiana State Parks and Nature Preserves through advocacy, education, research, promotion, fundraising and assistance for local friends groups.

“Local friends groups do a lot of great work for many of Indiana’s state parks, and we are glad to be able to support those friends groups,” said Tom Hohman, IPA President. “Our state park system was a centennial birthday gift to Hoosiers in 1916, so this is a great way for the leadership and members of IPA to honor the great outdoor places that we have loved and used all of our lives. We are pleased that these grants will help restore two historic structures in our state parks as we celebrate Indiana State Parks’ 100th birthday this year.”

IPA also works in partnership to support fundraising initiatives through the Indiana Natural Resources Foundation (INRF) that are designated for Indiana State Parks or Nature Preserves, such as the Discovering the Outdoors Fund.

Support for IPA comes from memberships and donations. A variety of membership options are available. Donations are tax-deductible, and memberships can include state park annual passes and other gifts. Founder’s Circle memberships are available through July 1, 2016, to build a strong foundation for the organization.