Indiana State Parks: A Comprehensive Rundown of All Natural Areas and Recreational Facilities within the State.

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The state of Indiana, situated in the United States, boasts an impressive collection of 24 state parks that are diligently maintained and managed by the Indiana Department of Natural Resources (DNR).^[1] In downtown Indianapolis, White River State Park is operated by a separate state agency.^[2] Both Marion and Clark counties set themselves apart by having two parks, but Brown County State Park, which is the largest park in the state, attracts the greatest number of visitors, followed by Indiana Dunes State Park.^[1]

The Indiana State Park System owes its origins to Richard Lieber, who played a pivotal role in its establishment. McCormick's Creek State Park in Owen County was the first park to open in Indiana, in 1916, followed by Turkey Run State Park in Parke County that same year. Subsequently, the number of state parks saw a steady rise in the 1920s largely due to local authorities' land donations to the state government. Of the initial twelve parks, Muscatatuck State Park is the only one that is no longer a state park, having been given back to Jennings County in 1968.^[3] The Great Depression of the 1930s presented an opportunity to create an extensive infrastructure within the parks for New Deal agencies like the Civilian Conservation Corps and the Works Progress Administration. Most of this Depression-era construction is still in use today. However, Richard Lieber believed that the parks should remain as natural as possible, which delayed infrastructure developments during his tenure.^[4]

At first, Indiana's state parks were intended to showcase natural surroundings. However, some parks veered away from this concept, such as the historically focused Mounds State Park and the purely recreational Shakamak State Park, which was built on an abandoned strip mine.[5]

Although Indiana has fewer state parks than other states, it has deliberately avoided acquiring smaller properties that would be tricky to maintain. The goal of having at least one park within an hour's drive for all Hoosiers was achieved with the creation of Prophetstown State Park in 2004.[6]

Three of Indiana's 24 state parks offer stunning views of the Milky Way: Shades State Park, Tippecanoe River State Park, and Turkey Run State Park.[7]

Indiana State Parks[edit]

Park Name

Image

City

County or Counties

Year Established

Size[8]

Remarks[8]Brown County

Nashville39°07′N 86°16′W / 39.11°N 86.26°W / 39.11; -86.26 (Brown County)

Brown

1929

15,776 acres (63.84 km2)

Indiana's largest state park[9]Chain O' Lakes"

The first link leads to an image of Stanley School at Chain O'Lakes, which is located in Albion, Indiana. The second link provides the geographical coordinates of Chain O'Lakes - 41.33°N 85.38°W - along with a link to Noble County, Indiana. Chain O'Lakes covers an area of 2,718 acres (11.00 km2) and features eight connected kettle lakes, with Charlestown being one of the notable ones. The third link leads to an image of Fourteen Mile Creek waterfront, while the fourth link provides the geographical coordinates of Charlestown - 38.43°N 85.63°W - along with a link to Clark County, Indiana. Charlestown is spread over an area of 5,100 acres (21 km2) and was built on the grounds of the old Indiana Army Ammunition Plant, with Clifty Falls being another significant feature of the region.

Madison, Indiana alongside Jefferson County, Indiana, offers a number of state parks for visitors to explore. Clifty Falls, located at the coordinates 38°46′N 85°25′W / 38.76°N 85.42°W / 38.76; -85.42 (Clifty Falls), boasts an impressive 1,416 acres (5.73 km2) of land spanning across a canyon that is only illuminated by sunlight at midday. Another picturesque spot to hike is Falls of the Ohio State Park, situated near Clarksville, Indiana at the positioning 38°16′37″N 85°45′47″W / 38.277°N 85.763°W / 38.277; -85.763 (Falls of the Ohio). Falls of the Ohio State Park extends over 1990 hectares of land and contains stunning views of the Ohio River and Louisville, Kentucky. For nature lovers who are also history buffs, a visit to Fort Harrison State Park in Indianapolis, Indiana at the coordinates 39°52′N 86°01′W / 39.87°N 86.01°W / 39.87; -86.01 (Fort Harrison) is a must. Established in 1990, Fort Harrison State Park comprises 165 acres (0.67 km2) and overlooks the mesmerizing landscapes of the Falls of the Ohio and the city of Louisville, Kentucky.

Marion County, Indiana covers a land area of 1,700 acres (6.9 km2) and was constructed on the former site of Fort Benjamin Harrison, which has since been renamed to Harmonie. The latter is located near New Harmony and has coordinates of 38°04′N 87°57′W / 38.06°N 87.95°W / 38.06; -87.95 (Harmonie). Posey County, Indiana, on the other hand, spans 3,465 acres (14.02 km2) and is situated near Rappite and Owenite villages known for their historical importance. The Indiana Dunes State Park, which is adjacent to Indiana Dunes National Park, is found in Porter County, Indiana, occupying an area of 2,182 acres (8.83 km2) and located at 41°40′N 87°02′W / 41.66°N 87.04°W / 41.66; -87.04 (Indiana Dunes). Out of these parks, the one in Porter County is the oldest, having been established in 1925, while that in Marion County was founded in 1996; and the other two date back to the 1966 and 1982 establishment years of Indiana's parks, respectively.

The first picture depicts the state of Lincoln, and is available through a redirect link on Wikipedia. Lincoln City, located at coordinates 38°06′N 87°00′W / 38.10°N 87.00°W / 38.10; -87.00 (Lincoln), is situated near Spencer County, Indiana. The entire area is made up of 1,847 acres (7.47 km2) of land and was approved as a state park in 1932, making it the last such park established by Richard Lieber. McCormick's Creek State Park is another notable park found close to Spencer, and can be accessed via a redirect link that takes users to its location coordinates. Owen County in Indiana is home to the first ever state park, Mounds, which boasts 1,924 acres (7.79 km2) of land, and was established in 1916. An image of the park is also available to view on Wikipedia.

Anderson, Indiana, located at 40°06′N 85°37′W, is the site of the historic Mounds State Park. Madison County in Indiana is home to this park that was established in the year 1930 and is spread out over 290 acres (1.2 km2) of land. O'Bannon Woods, situated in Corydon, Indiana, at 38°11′N 86°17′W, is another state park known for its beauty. Covering an area of 2,000 acres (8.1 km2), it was previously known as Wyandotte SRA and was renamed in honor of the late Frank O'Bannon who was a former governor of Indiana. Ouabache, a state park in Bluffton, Indiana, located at 40°43′N 85°07′W, is also a remarkable tourist destination.

The county of Wells spans an impressive 1,104 acres and takes its name from the French spelling of "Wabash." Similarly, the city of Angola, located at 41°43′N 85°01′W / 41.71°N 85.02°W / 41.71; -85.02 (Pokagon), contains the Pokagon State Park which was established in 1925 and covers 1,260 acres. One of its most well-known features is its excellent skiing opportunities.

Potato Creek, located in St. Joseph County, is also a popular destination for state park enthusiasts, boasting a total area of 3,840 acres. Its coordinates are 41°33′N 86°20′W / 41.55°N 86.34°W / 41.55; -86.34 (Potato Creek). Additionally, the Prophetstown State Park in St. Joseph County was established in 1969 and spans an impressive 15.5 km2.

West Lafayette's Prophetstown, located at 40°30′N 86°50′W / 40.50°N 86.83°W / 40.50; -86.83, is a 2,000-acre (8.1 km2) state park in Tippecanoe county, Indiana. Shades State Park, situated in Waveland and also in Tippecanoe county, has an area of 3,082 acres (12.47 km2) and was established in 1947. It is the only state park with its own airstrip. Shakamak State Park is located in Jasonville, Montgomery county, Indiana, with an area of 1,766 acres (7.15 km2), and was established in 1929.

Explore the expanse of three Indiana counties, namely Clay, Greene, and Sullivan, which span over 1,766 acres and formerly existed as a strip mine in 1929. Now a part of Spring Mill State Park, this park is notable for its gristmill and caves, providing a wholesome outdoor experience for the entire family. In a similar vein, Summit Lake State Park in Lawrence County offers a comprehensive 1,358 acres of land that features a commemorative exhibit dedicated to the famous astronaut Gus Grissom. Beyond that, Summit Lake offers a large lake and several scenic trails to explore. Both parks offer great opportunities to experience the beauty of Indiana's natural environment.

Henry County, Indiana covers 2,680 acres (10.8 km2) and is home to the picturesque Tippecanoe River. Located in Winamac, Indiana at coordinates 41°09′N 86°36′W / 41.15°N 86.60°W / 41.15; -86.60, Pulaski County, Indiana spans 2,761 acres (11.17 km2) and is host to the charming Turkey Run State Park. The park is located in Marshall, Indiana at coordinates 39°53′N 87°13′W / 39.88°N 87.21°W / 39.88; -87.21. Parke County, Indiana has an area of 2,382 acres (9.64 km2) and is famous for remarkable sandstone gorges and distinctive terrain at the Versailles State Park. The park, located in Versailles, Indiana at coordinates 39°05′N 85°14′W / 39.08°N 85.23°W / 39.08; -85.23, was established in 1916. Ripley County, Indiana spans 5,988 acres (24.23 km2) and is home to the peaceful White River. The park is located in Indianapolis, Indiana and covers an area of 250 acres (1.0 km2). Lastly, Whitewater Memorial is located in Liberty, Indiana at coordinates 39°37′N 84°58′W / 39.61°N 84.97°W / 39.61; -84.97 in Union County, Indiana. The park covers 1,710 acres (6.9 km2) and was established in 1949 on land donated by four counties. For more Indiana parks, see "List of Indiana state forests" and "List of National Parks of the United States."

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