|• July 10, 2007|
Years ago children learned about wilderness and the outdoors in classroom settings. Although the venues have changed to state parks and reservoirs and the nature center’s thereof or online, there is a mass of knowledge to be learned about our surroundings in Indiana. The Indiana DNR offers great resources at parks and online to find activities, programs, and volunteer opportunities in Indiana.
Richard Lieber, a proponent of conservation and preservation of wilderness helped to found 10 state parks, 5 state memorials, and a state park system that was recognized as one of the top three in the nation. He worked with three presidents and other powerful contacts to propel the attitudes we now share for nature. Lieber is recognized as one of the two most influential German families in Indiana, along with the Vonneguts.
Wilderness has remained a point of Hoosier pride since it was coined the "Crossroads of America" during pioneer times. Richard Lieber’s legacy as the "Father of Indiana State Parks" helped to further this pride.
Currently, approximately 15 million visitors use the 178,330 acres managed by the Division of State Parks and Reservoirs each year, only one of the many divisions of the Indiana DNR. And organizations are constantly taking steps to better the outdoor experience for Hoosiers. The Indiana State Trails, Greenways, and Bikeways Plan and the Indiana Statewide Outdoor Recreation Plan 2006-2010 are great examples of initiatives in our state to better our communities and make outdoors accessible for Hoosiers to enjoy.
Numerous enthusiast groups exist as outlets for events, community involvement, and make strides by partnering with the DNR to maintain and expand wilderness in our state. One such group is the Hoosier Hikers Council, which I have had the opportunity to speak with and join. Through their and other groups efforts Indiana wilderness is as good as ever and ready for you to come out experience.
Zac Simpson '09 is from Cicero, Indiana.