Outdoor Indiana - July/August 2015 - Featured Stories

From the Director
Flowing water's value runs deep
Mounds State Park
And many more …

From the Director

Take time to notice the CCC’s work
Director Cameron F. Clark

Director Cameron F. ClarkAs you spend time this summer at your favorite Indiana State Park, take a look around. There’s a good chance you’ll see the handiwork of the Civilian Conservation Corps.

Brown County, Clifty Falls, Indiana Dunes, Lincoln, McCormick’s Creek, O’Bannon Woods, Ouabache, Pokagon, Shakamak, Spring Mill, Turkey Run and Versailles state parks are sites where the CCC left its mark by building picnic shelters, restrooms and other facilities. Similar examples can be found at some of our state forest properties.

The CCC was created in 1933 to provide jobs and training for millions of young American men. Nationwide, CCC participants developed 800 new state parks, planted 3 billion trees, and built 13,000 miles of hiking trails.

More than 64,000 Hoosiers took part, earning $30 a month, with $25 of that paycheck sent home to help support their families as the country emerged from the Great Depression.

Two parks—Ouabache and Versailles—honor the CCC with commemorative “Iron Mike” statues. Efforts are underway to add two more next year at McCormick’s Creek and Pokagon.

Here’s another way to thank the CCC—attend one of the two reunions planned this year. The first is July 26 at Pokagon, and the second is Sept. 26 at Brown County State Park.

You can learn more online about the CCC in an Outdoor Indiana article from 2008 at dnr.IN.gov/4951.htm and a brochure (stateparks.IN.gov/sp-CCC517_brochure.pdf) on CCC Co. 517, which consisted of African-Americans, or at ccclegacy.org.

Back to the top

Flowing water’s value runs deep

Rivers and streams’ roles change, but their importance rolls on
By Nick Werner, OI staff

The tailwaters on the Whitewater River, just below the Brookville Lake dam, is a popular stream for fly-fishing. To begin to understand how important rivers and streams have been to developing Indiana, just look at a map.

On the Wabash River sit 11 county seats. They range from Bluffton, in Wells County, in the northeast to Vincennes, in Knox County, in the southwest. About as many sprang up on that river’s tributaries, including Indianapolis on the White River.

Early Hoosiers understood the importance of streams. And these pioneers were blessed with opportunity. The Hoosier State encompasses 30 major river systems and an almost immeasurable number of tributaries big and small. Combined, these waterways account for 24,000 stream miles, roughly the distance around the equator.

Cutline: The tailwaters on the Whitewater River, just below the Brookville Lake dam, is a popular stream for fly-fishing. The stream is considered “cool” water for about a 2-mile stretch and is an excellent spot for trout.

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.

Back to the top

Mounds State Park

Quality trumps quantity
By Marty Benson, OI Staff
Part of a series

The Great Mound is believed to have been built around 160 B.C. The circumference of the mound is about a quarter-mile.It’s the first day of spring. Photographer Eliot Reed has been at Mounds State Park since dark o’clock, a.m.

His tripod sits atop Circle Mound, one of the park’s 10 earthworks. He has lined up his camera with what looks like an entrance to the contoured mini-landscape, the shape of which resembles an unforgiving golf green.

The sun emerges in the crosshairs of his lens.

Every year. Like clockwork.

Witnessing seasonal change from this spot by the White River isn’t just old hat. It’s ancient ritual. Archaeologists say the Adena-Hopewell people built and used the earthworks. To figure their creations’ rough age, add a hundred and some change to the current calendar year.

“It’s incredible to think that these structures are as old as they are and that they still function as we understand them to have functioned,” said Reed, who grew up and lives nearby.

Earthworks exist throughout much of the United States. Many are in Indiana, Illinois or Ohio. They probably served as vertical cemeteries, religious ceremonial sites or both, or as dumping grounds.

Portions of other Indiana state parks are on the National Historic Register. Mounds’ entire 290 acres is. But history only begins to explain why it may outrank all other Hoosier state parks in wonders per square inch.

Cutline: The Great Mound is believed to have been built around 160 B.C. The circumference of the mound is about a quarter-mile.

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.

Back to the top

And many more …

DNR’s golden anniversary conjures memories
By Marty Benson, OI Staff

Bill Barnes (left), the first director of Nature Preserves, at Portland Arch.50 years can be a long time or short time. It depends on perspective.

In terms of the existence of what we collectively call “natural resources,” it’s barely a blip on a fish finder. Natural resources are forever, right?

Well, that would be convenient. But we use and consume them. Because we need natural resources, they need stewards. That’s where the Department of Natural Resources comes in, and has for a half-century.

Indiana started having DNR-type organizations in 1869, with the Indiana Department of Geology and History. That agency was reorganized as the Indiana Department of Geology and Natural Resources in 1891, and again as the Indiana Department of Conservation in 1919, before becoming the DNR on July 1, 1965.

Cutline: Bill Barnes (left), the first director of Nature Preserves, at Portland Arch.

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.

Back to the top