News Center

 

 

25

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

 

• April 12
Indiana DNR Aims to Protect Ash Trees From Deadly Borer

Indiana officials are working to save select ash trees from an insect that’s killed the trees across a large swath of the state.

The Indiana Department of Natural Resources says it’s using chemical treatments to protect large ash trees in areas of Indiana so far unaffected by the emerald ash borer.

Those trees are in western Indiana’s Turkey Run State Park and several nature preserves.

The DNR says the insect invader has killed nearly all mature ash trees across Indiana’s northern two-thirds.

The borer is advancing south and the DNR says all of Indiana’s ash trees will likely die without intervention.

The agency says saving female ash trees could provide seeds for efforts to breed ash trees resistant to the insect that’s killed millions of trees in 30 states.

 

• April 19
Action Alert — Urge your state legislators to invest in Indiana’s quality of place by ensuring land and water conservation for the future
While the most recent version of the 2017-19 biennial state budget does include an additional $4 million for deferred maintenance in Indiana’s State Parks, it does not include funding for two other conservation priorities.  These are the Harrison Conservation Trust and Clean Water Indiana.

Indiana’s major land conservation programs –the President Benjamin Harrison Conservation Trust (formerly the Indiana Heritage Trust) and the Bicentennial Nature Trust – have been extremely successful in protecting new state and local parks, forest lands, nature preserves, and trails.  Together these programs have conserved over 85,000 acres throughout Indiana.  What’s more, the programs have been highly successful in leveraging added investment from project partners, raising matching money well in excess of the state’s contribution.

Unfortunately, the lack of meaningful funding for the Harrison Conservation Trust in recent budgets leaves our state’s land conservation program at a crossroads.

Clean Water Indiana is a highly effective program that helps farmers and other landowners reduce runoff and protect water quality.  Through its support for cover crops, riparian buffers and other conservation practices, Clean Water Indiana along with other Indiana Conservation Partnership programs has eliminated nearly 1.3 million tons of sediment and 3.9 million pounds of nitrogen and phosphorus from our waterways, just in the last 3 years.

Conservation and environmental quality contribute to our quality of life and economic prosperity–

  •  Over 16 million people visit our state parks and state recreation areas each year (Indiana DNR)
  •  Outdoor recreation in Indiana generates over $9.4 billion in annual consumer spending and employs 106,000 Hoosiers (Outdoor Industry Association)
  •  Over 2 million Hoosiers and out of state visitors fish, hunt and watch wildlife in Indiana, spending $1.7 billion annually on these outdoor activities (U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service)

Please contact your state legislators and request they invest:

-$3 million a year in general funds for the Harrison Conservation Trust

-$2 million a year in general funds for Clean Water Indiana

Find and contact your legislator here:  https://iga.in.gov/legislative/find-legislators/

 

• April 5, 2017
Additional Funding for State Parks
On March 31 the Senate Appropriations Committee released details of their version of the 2017-19 biennial state budget.  The proposed budget for State Parks was increased by $4 million from what was passed by the House, with the increase designated to be used for deferred maintenance.  This will not solve the backlog of deferred maintenance in State Parks.  If spread over all 32 State Park properties it would only be $125,000 per property.  Nevertheless, this is an acknowledgement of the problem, and a great start to solving it.  IPA is greatly appreciative of this increase, but will continue to encourage that more funding be made available so that these properties can continue to provide Hoosiers with opportunities for outdoor recreation and interaction with nature. 

 

• February 9, 2017
Public Testimony to the Indiana General Assembly Ways and Means Committee
Jerry Pagac, IPA Board Member, presented public testimony to the House Ways and Mans Committee during a hearing on the biennium bill. You can watch the presentation by clicking on the following link, and then Selecting the Thursday, Feb. 9, 2017 meeting.
http://iga.in.gov/information/archives/2017/video/committee_ways_and_means_2200/

 


• 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 http://iga.in.gov/information/archives/2016/video/committee_i_agriculture_and_natural_resources_interim_study_committee_on/

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 http://www.inconservation.org/.

 

• 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.

 

• August 2015
The Indiana Parks Alliance opposes the construction of a dam and reservoir on the White River at Anderson, Indiana known as the Mounds Lake project.

The proposed Mounds Reservoir would inundate approximately 1/3 of Mounds State Park, including the Mounds Fen State Nature Preserve in its entirety. These are significant and unique natural areas which cannot truly be mitigated. The proposed reservoir would also threaten the nationally significant Anderson Mounds, a National Register archeological site that was of ceremonial and ritual significance to Native Americans.

The Indiana Parks Alliance believes that our state parks and nature preserves deserve the strongest protection. The state law that established the system of dedicated state nature preserves states that the properties “are to be held in trust for the benefit of the people of Indiana of present and future generations,” and are only to be taken for other public uses if there is an “imperative and unavoidable necessity.” It is the belief of IPA that destruction of this dedicated state nature preserve would undermine this law, and imperil all state nature preserves.

(For more information on this issue visit http://www.moundslakereservoir.org/)

*Update 9/15/15
On Sept. 14 the Town of Daleville voted 5-0 against joining the Mounds Lake Commission.  The commission would have been charged with finding financing to proceed with the next phase of the proposed  Mounds Reservoir, which would inundate approximately 1/3 of Mounds State Park and essentially the Mounds Fen Nature Preserve in its entirety.  This is a tremendous victory for opponents of the reservoir and for those such as IPA who want to protect these treasures for future generations.

 

· April 16, 2015
IPA will have a booth at the 2015 Earth Day Festival April 25th at White River State Park.

· February 11, 2015
Indiana Parks Alliance President testifies on behalf of Indiana state parks and nature preserves

· January 1, 2015
Conservation Organization formed to support Indiana state parks and nature preserves