Trails for Tomorrow

Indiana Parks Alliance

“Trails for Tomorrow” Campaign

Trail 3 in Turkey Run State Park takes visitors through a deep sandstone ravine in Rocky Hollow Nature Preserve. Like all state park and nature preserve trails, it also offers a more profound journey, taking us back in time to when glaciers, wind and water formed the terrain. The view from the trail reveals abundant wildlife and bountiful plant species, remnants of Indiana’s pre-settlement wilderness.

Turkey Run State Park Trail #3

Like many Indiana State Park trails, Trail 3 at Turkey Run was not originally designed for the number of hikers it gets every day.  In fact, it was not really designed at all. It became a trail when the park was first established because people were already hiking there.  As a result, visitors wandered throughout the ravine, often damaging the natural resources that they had come to admire. 

To correct the erosion and damage that was being done in Rocky Hollow, State Parks made major improvements in 2019.  They provided better trail markers, constructed boardwalks in wet areas and improved the trail surfaces.  The result is a sustainable trail that can better withstand the heavy use the trail gets.

This is one trail in the state parks system.  The Division of State Parks has over 700 miles of trails throughout their 36-state park and recreation areas and many of them suffer varying degrees of overuse. 

Many Division of Nature Preserve properties have a different problem, lack of public access.  While some state-owned nature preserves are so sensitive that public use is not encouraged, many lack parking lots and trails simply because the division has not had the funding to develop them.  These properties would make great places for Hoosiers to escape the tensions of the modern world and enjoy the quiet and solitude of nature. 

Indiana Parks Alliance is announcing their Trails for Tomorrow campaign.

About 4 million people a year hike on state park trails.  In a recent survey, 70% of respondents said that hiking on trails was their #1 activity when visiting state parks.

Indiana Parks Alliance is embarking on a major campaign to:

1. Advocate with the governor’s office and legislature to restore trail maintenance funding that was deleted from Division of State Parks budget several decades ago, and provide funding in Division of Nature Preserves budget for new trails on properties now totally lacking them.

2. Raise funds to supplement state funding to make trails at State Parks and Nature Preserves more sustainable and enhance the user’s experience.

Here is how you can help:

An anonymous donor has pledged to match all donations to our “Trails for Tomorrow” campaign during the next three months, up to a maximum of $10,000. 
This is a great opportunity to double the impact of your gift.

Your gift could:

  • Support the purchase of materials to fix problem areas on trails.
  • Support the purchase of directional and interpretive signage.
  • Provide trail maintenance training for State Parks and Nature Preserves staff.
  • Support trail and trailhead improvements at state owned nature preserves lacking such amenities.
  • Support advocacy for inclusion of increased trail maintenance funding in future DNR budgets.
  • Support advocacy for making state park and nature preserve hiking trails eligible for funding in Governor Holcomb’s Next Level Trails Program.

The budget of the Indiana Department of Natural Resources is stretched thin.  While significant funds have been made available in the last several years for deferred maintenance, most of those funds have been spent on much needed repairs and upgrades to buildings, utilities, and other major infrastructure.  There is still a tremendous need for improvements to this most used and basic state park facility.  Please support the Indiana Parks Alliance, Trails for Tomorrow campaign by making a donation today.

Mounds State Park boardwalk to Great Mound