Outdoor Indiana - January/February 2016 - Featured Stories

From the Director
Celebrities of the WINTER SKY
THIS WAS INDIANA
“AN EXECUTIVE WITH THE IMAGINATION OF A POET”

From the Director

"FATHER" OF PARKS STARTED IT ALL
Director Cameron F. Clark

Director Cameron F. ClarkYou’ll find plenty to read in this issue on Indiana State Parks, including a profile of Richard Lieber.

A German immigrant, he’s recognized as the “father” of our state parks system, which celebrates its 100th anniversary this year.

In a report to the State Centennial Commission in 1916, Lieber wrote: “I hope and trust that the small beginning we have made will have laid the foundation for a comprehensive system of State Parks which will not only stand forever as a token of the past, but which will bring health, wealth and happiness to our own generation and the many that will come after us.”

McCormick’s Creek and Turkey Run became our first parks in 1916. Another 22 parks and eight lakes have been added since.

Years after setting his vision in motion, Lieber said: “No one of the millions who enjoy our state parks or have benefited from better practices in conservation owes me anything, not even thanks. On the contrary, I am in their debt that they have permitted me, a chance immigrant, to do what he wanted to do. Only in these United States could a thing like that have happened.”

His humility aside, Lieber deserves full credit for setting the stage.

And as one of our current employees said, “There are thousands who have kept it going.”

The remark was meant to recognize state park employees, who continually impress me with their dedication. But truth be told, millions of visitors also keep it going with their faithful patronage.

For that, we are most thankful.

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Celebrities of the WINTER SKY

Snowflakes and the secrets of six
By Nick Werner, OI staff

A complex dendrite. In addition to being beautiful, dendrites create the softest “powder” for downhill skiers. The beauty of a fresh snowfall is in the eye of the beholder.

Some people love the transformative power of a new blanket of white. A busy urban landscape turns peaceful. A mundane rural landscape becomes a postcard scene.

Others see hardship: shoveling the driveway; bone-chilling temperatures; an aching back; a slippery commute.

But even winter haters must admit that a fully formed snowflake is a mystifying work of art.

Cutline: A complex dendrite. In addition to being beautiful, dendrites create the softest “powder” for downhill skiers.

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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THIS WAS INDIANA

How the natural landscape of 1816 differed from today’s
By Michael Homoya

Native grasslands are now extremely rare in Indiana. Remnants such as this one in Lake County are like natural wildflower gardens. “Men still live who, in their youth, remember pigeons. Trees still live who, in their youth, were shaken by a living wind. But a decade hence only the oldest oaks will remember, and at long last only the hills will know.” Aldo Leopold, 1947

Today no one remembers passenger pigeons as living creatures.

And it’s a rare tree that has memory of them.

But when Indiana was a fledgling state, the now-extinct bird was a charter member of its landscape. Other species were too, forming a natural collection that today exists in Indiana only as museum specimen or words on paper.

Cutline: Native grasslands are now extremely rare in Indiana. Remnants such as this one in Lake County are like natural wildflower gardens.

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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“AN EXECUTIVE WITH THE IMAGINATION OF A POET”

Richard Lieber was father of Indiana State Parks
By Bill McCleery

Sunlight filters through the leaf canopy sheltering Rocky Hollow at Turkey Run State Park last summer. The man who spearheaded the creation of Indiana’s state parks lived his first three decades showing little interest, at least professionally, in nature or outdoor recreation.

Richard Lieber, however, did show a penchant for leadership long before he became a champion of conservation.

“In a sense, every Indiana state park is a Lieber memorial,” wrote Robert Allen Frederick in his 1960 doctoral dissertation on the Indiana luminary.

It’s no coincidence that the achievement of statehood in 1816 and the opening of the first state parks in 1916 occurred 100 years apart. Lieber and his supporters saw fitting timing in the prospect of purchasing spectacular parcels of unspoiled land for Indiana’s 100th birthday—gifts, they said, that future generations could use and enjoy.

Cutline: Sunlight filters through the leaf canopy sheltering Rocky Hollow at Turkey Run State Park last summer. Richard Lieber helped preserve Turkey Run and led the drive to create Indiana’s state parks system. (John Maxwell photo)

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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