The new property features oak- and hickory-forested wetlands and an area targeted for prairie restoration. The LaPorte County Parks Department will own and manage the property, while the DNR holds a conservation easement ensuring public access and permanent protection.
“The Bicentennial Nature Trust helped us leverage private dollars to make this addition become a reality,” said Timothy Morgan, superintendent of LaPorte County Parks. “Without the BNT, this acquisition would not have been possible.”
The BNT is a project of the Bicentennial Commission, co-chaired by former Lt. Gov. Becky Skillman and former U.S. Rep. Lee Hamilton. The statewide program is aimed at expanding trails, conservation areas and recreation sites to help celebrate Indiana’s 200 years of statehood in 2016. The state park system was created during Indiana’s centennial celebration in 1916, and BNT projects will provide a similar legacy for generations of Hoosiers.
An initial $20 million in state funding was identified for BNT projects, and the Lilly Endowment donated another $10 million to the effort. Money from the fund is matched no less than $1:1 with the local community or group sponsor. To date, the Bicentennial Commission has approved 35 projects, including three in LaPorte County.
“We applaud the LaPorte County Parks Foundation for its effort to further the 2016 Bicentennial Commission’s commitment to nature conservation in Indiana,” said Skillman and Hamilton. “We look forward to hearing and celebrating many more success stories for the Bicentennial Nature Trust in the months and years to come.”
LaPorte County Parks preserve and manage natural, cultural, and recreational resources within a seven-park system totaling more than 600 acres. Located on 89 acres just south of LaPorte, Luhr Park features upland forest, wetland, prairie, paved trails and a stocked pond. For more information, visit laportecountyparks.org/luhr.html.
The BNT is seeking additional private donations of land and money as well as input from communities on viable projects. Applications for the Nature Trust can be found at IN.gov/naturetrust.
For more information on the Bicentennial Commission, visit IN.gov/indiana2016.