It seems like just yesterday, but it’s actually been seven years since we gathered in Greene County to celebrate the acquisition of Goose Pond Fish & Wildlife Area—an 8,000-acre restored wetland near Linton.
That long-sought-after piece of real estate was a high water mark in land conservation at the time, but it turned out to be only the beginning of record-setting achievements by the Department of Natural Resources.
More than 55,000 acres of land have been protected since then; places like Wabashiki Fish & Wildlife Area near Terre Haute, Deer Creek FWA in Putnam County, a 1,200-acre gamebird habitat area in Porter County, plus additions to state forests, state parks and nature preserves.
And more is on the way.
We’re two years into the Healthy Rivers INitiative that identified nearly 70,000 acres along two river corridors—the Wabash and Muscatatuck—we are working to permanently protect.
We’re just warming up with the Bicentennial Nature Trust that calls on communities, businesses, and individuals across the state to look toward Indiana’s 200th anniversary of statehood in 2016 as a target date for taking Hoosier conservation efforts to even greater levels.
Growing our public land inventory provides places for quality outdoor recreation and a chance for all Hoosiers to have places where they can connect with nature.
It also grows our economy. More than 19,000 Hoosier jobs are directly tied to hunting and fishing according to the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service.
While hunters and anglers certainly understand the value of land conservation, they aren’t alone. As I travel the state, I haven’t met a Hoosier who, given the chance to think about it, doesn’t love the idea of conservation and protecting the wonderful natural resources we have in Indiana.
That tells me we’re on the right track.
Mitch Daniels, Jr.
State of Indiana Governor
Regulations in red are new this year.
Purple text indicates an important note.