Outdoor Indiana - May/June 2017 - Featured Stories

From the Director
737 AND COUNTING?
IS YOUR CITY BIKE FRIENDLY?
CALLING ALL CAVEMEN AND CAVEWOMEN

From the Director

Hands-on, free and outdoors

Hoosier Outdoor ExperienceThe Ford Hoosier Outdoor Experience is back, and the DNR has plans to make it better than ever.

Mark your calendars for June 10–11 when the event returns to Fort Harrison State Park in Indianapolis after a one-year hiatus.

If you've not been to the Ford Hoosier Outdoor Experience before, I highly recommend you put it on your to-do list. If you did attend before, you know how much fun it can be.

The event is built around the last word in its title—experience.

Virtually nowhere else can you go to one place at one time and find so many things to actually try for yourself.

Fishing, off-roading, rock climbing, mountain biking, archery, horseback riding. The list goes on and on; dozens of activities that visitors get to experience. More information is at HoosierOutdoorExperience.com.

For many visitors, it's the first time to draw a bow, pull the trigger on a shotgun, or cast a line into the water.

Best of all, there's no cost to park, no cost to get in, and no cost to try the activities.

Past attendees will note the date change. Previously, the event was scheduled for late September, which left little time in a calendar year to get out and try your new outdoor interests on your own.

By switching to early June, there's a whole summer and fall left to get in more fishing, biking, camping or whatever else sparked your interest at the Ford Hoosier Outdoor Experience.

It's hands-on. It's free. And it's outdoors.

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737 AND COUNTING?

Waterfalls can be found throughout the Hoosier state
By Nick Werner, OI staff

Anderson Falls is 12 feet high, about 100 feet wide, and likely to have water flowing any time of the year.With a John Deere dealership, a historic stone courthouse and a railroad that bisects the town, Williamsport—population 1,800—might appear to be a run-of-the mill Indiana burg.

But it possesses something no other community in the state has.

Two blocks south of the 1908 Warren County courthouse, in the middle of town, is a 90-foot waterfall. There, Fall Creek—a small, intermittent stream—plunges over a green sandstone ledge into a deep, wooded gorge.

The waterfall marks the western cusp of the Wabash River valley. Flat uplands and bottomlands, separated by forested bluffs, nearly vertical ravines and rock outcroppings characterize the area.

“The waterfall is our claim to fame," said Ruann Marks, the town's deputy clerk treasurer.

Waterfalls have seemed to be relatively ignored in publicity about Indiana's natural attractions. They've been enjoyed by hikers and other outdoor lovers, but are often overshadowed by the state's forested hills and fall foliage, abundant lakes, scenic creek valleys and the sandy Lake Michigan shoreline.
Last year was different.

Indiana waterfalls enjoyed their moment in the spotlight in 2016, due to social media and the state's tourism bureau.

Cutline: Anderson Falls is 12 feet high, about 100 feet wide, and likely to have water flowing any time of the year.

To read the rest of this article subscribe to Outdoor Indiana or pick up a copy at most Barnes and Noble bookstores, and state park inns. To subscribe, click here or call (317) 233-3046.

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IS YOUR CITY BIKE FRIENDLY?

Muncie is latest Hoosier community to make the grade
By Marty Benson, OI staff
Photography by Frank Oliver, OI staff

Riders set off on a leisurely ride to kickoff Muncie Bike Fest late last summer. The difference in being “bicycle friendly" versus “Bicycle Friendly" is more than capital letters.

The first is a feeling or opinion. The second is proof. It's an official national designation of the League of American Bicyclists. So far, 10 Indiana communities have earned the designation, which recognizes their commitment to biking on the road for recreation, transportation and utility.

The most recent was Muncie, which learned of its achievement in May 2016. It took two prior years of applying for the city of approximately 70,000 to get there, even though it met much of the criteria in 2015.

The other cities are Bloomington, Carmel, Columbus, Fort Wayne, Goshen, Indianapolis, South Bend, Warsaw/Winona Lake, and Zionsville. Huntington received honorable mention in fall 2016.

Before becoming Bicycle Friendly, Muncie was the lower-case version. Since 1993, it has been headquarters of Cardinal Greenways, the state's longest system of recreational trails featuring bicycling. But the Delaware County city's government officials and activists sought something more—something that might attract new visitors, businesses and residents, which League officials say the earned designation has done elsewhere.

Cutline: Riders set off on a leisurely ride to kickoff Muncie Bike Fest late last summer. The ride took part along the Cardinal Greenway in Muncie.

To read the rest of this article subscribe to Outdoor Indiana or pick up a copy at most Barnes and Noble bookstores, and state park inns. To subscribe, click here or call (317) 233-3046.

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CALLING ALL CAVEMEN AND CAVEWOMEN

Wyandotte Caves SRA is back in business
By Nick Werner, OI staff
Photography by John Maxwell, OI staff

Cave explorers climb Monument Mountain in Big Wyandotte Cave. Seven years is an insignificant length of time.

In geological terms, that is.

After all, the St. Genevieve limestone that forms most of southern Indiana's Wyandotte Caves is roughly 350 million years old.

But human history doesn't record time in periods and eras, or even epochs. Days, weeks, months and years matter.

So, in summer 2016, when Wyandotte Caves State Recreation Area reopened after closing in 2009, many in Crawford and surrounding counties expressed relief.

State Rep. Lloyd Arnold, R-Leavenworth, advocated for the reopening and helped secure $1.7 million in state funding to rebuild deteriorated facilities and upgrade infrastructure. At a grand reopening ceremony last summer, he told an audience of several hundred that cave enthusiasts develop their passion at an early age, usually in commercial show caves, such as Wyandotte.

“I just want to make sure the next generation can use this cave," he said.

Wyandotte Caves SRA is managed by nearby O'Bannon Woods State Park and is home to Little Wyandotte and Big Wyandotte caves. The attraction sits off State Road 62 (aka the Ohio River Scenic Byway) between Leavenworth to the west and Corydon to the east.

Cutline: Cave explorers climb Monument Mountain in Big Wyandotte Cave. The unique cluster of large stalagmites caps a mountain of rocks inside a domed room.

To read the rest of this article subscribe to Outdoor Indiana or pick up a copy at most Barnes and Noble bookstores, and state park inns. To subscribe, click here or call (317) 233-3046.

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