New Public Access Sites

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Two New Public Access Sites Added

The DNR Division of Fish & Wildlife (DFW) provides 437 public boat ramps on lakes and rivers, giving Hoosiers access to hundreds of miles of streams and thousands of acres of other waterways.

DFW continues to improve water access for anglers and boaters throughout the state each year. In 2019, DFW built two new sites and rehabilitated nine others due to age and accessibility needs.

The two new access sites are in Gibson County on the Patoka River and in LaPorte County on Hudson Lake. The Gibson County site provides access to a river that was previously virtually inaccessible to the public. Anglers and waterfowl hunters will benefit. Hudson was previously the largest natural lake in Indiana without public access. Now the 432-acre lake has a free boat ramp with an accessible pier and parking area.

The Indiana Public Access Program is evaluating rehabilitation needs across the state. Many state access sites require repairs because of their age and the need for accessibility upgrades. Some access sites have been in the program for more than 50 years, and many still need improvements. In years to come, DFW will focus on public access site rehabilitations but continue to strive for new access sites.

The Public Access Program began in 1953. Three-quarters of the funding for public access comes through the federal sportfish restoration program, which is derived from excise taxes on motorboat fuel and fishing equipment. Funds also come from revenue from fishing and hunting licenses.

While the program continues to provide access at many sites, free public access remains unavailable or inadequate at many state-owned waters. DFW is always looking to expand access by acquiring sites. DFW can do so by buying property at fair market value from willing sellers, leasing property from organizations and/or local government agencies, and accepting suitable donations.