Indiana News


Outdoors recreation guide available
Your guide to Indiana’s best values in outdoor recreation is available now at The Department of Natural Resources’ 2017 Indiana Recreation Guide is the source for all information on state parks, lakes, state park inns, fish and wildlife areas, state forests and other DNR properties.

The Annual Entrance Passes can be purchased in person at the gatehouse or offices of state park properties during business hours, at the Indiana Government Center South in Indianapolis during business hours or at

Indiana Resident Passes are $50, while individuals 65 years old or older the price is at $25. Annual passes for vehicles with out-of-state license plates are $70. Normal daily gate fees for residents at most properties are $7 per vehicle.

Local retail outlets, state parks, lakes and other DNR properties will have free printed copies of the guide available.

For more information on Indiana state park properties, visit

New deer management group
The DNR will be sharing information about white-tailed deer with a hunting group organizing a pilot program aimed at gathering public input for consideration in future deer management decisions. Indiana White-tailed Deer Herd Management (IWDHM) is putting together county deer advisory councils, or “CDACs,” in a handful of counties.

The pilot program is modeled after one operating in Wisconsin. In addition to local hunters, CDACs are expected to include representation from agriculture, forestry, local government, tourism and transportation organizations, non-consumptive users and a disease-monitoring organization.

The DNR will provide the CDACs with information the agency already collects on an annual basis, including harvest data, crop depredation and forest damage and deer-vehicle collision statistics.

The CDAC meetings will gather public input on deer population goals and antlerless quotas for its county and share it with

The next meeting will be for the Hamilton County CDAC on April 22 at 10 a.m. at Koteewi Archery Range located at 11909 Koteewi Drive, Noblesville, IN, 46060.

IWDHM officials say they hope to add CDACs in Cass, Dubois, Marion, Miami, Porter, Scott and Whitley counties. For more information on future CDAC meetings and locations, visit the IWDHM website at or email

ORV users on DNR properties to pay more
Changes are coming to state-owned off-road vehicle properties. Effective March 1, the daily off-road vehicle (ORV) trail-use fee at Interlake and Redbird state recreation areas increased from $10 to $15. It is the first fee increase for daily ORV trail use in 12 years.

The fee is charged per ORV and includes dirt bikes, all-terrain vehicles, side-by-sides, four-wheel-drive trucks and sport-utility vehicles. There are no fees for passengers. Despite the increase, the fee is still less than or comparable to all privately owned off-roading properties in the state.

The increase is said to help cover the cost of newly extended hours. Both Interlake and Redbird are now open seven days a week, from sunrise to sunset. Visitors may spend more time on the nearly 125 miles of trails and skill areas at the two properties. Redbird and Interlake are the only state-owned properties where ORV recreation is allowed. Property managers also will use increased revenue on maintenance and improvements.

Frequent visitors may still purchase an annual ORV trail-use permit for 2017 for $75. The annual permit may be used for unlimited trail use in 2017 at both Interlake and Redbird. For more information, including fees and permits, visit (Interlake) or (Redbird).

DNR’s ‘Where to Fish Finder’ includes fish survey reports
The Indiana “Where to Fish Finder,” an interactive map of public access boat ramps, now includes fish survey reports to keep anglers informed.

Fish survey reports summarize the species collected by number and size, how the fish move in a specific body of water compared to other waters, and include depth maps and information on water quality and submersed vegetation.

“Making these reports accessible in the ‘Where to Fish Finder’ creates a one-stop shop for anglers to gather up-to-date fishing information on public waters,” said Michelle Cain, wildlife information specialist for the DNR Division of Fish & Wildlife.

Each body of water listed below now contains a survey report. The map is at

You can be among the first to get the latest info on where to go, what to use and how to use it!

This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.

More reports will be added as information becomes available. The body of waters currently with updated reports are:

  • Prairie Creek Reservoir, Delaware County
  • Starve Hollow Lake, Jackson County
  • Big Lake, Noble County
  • Cedar Lake, Lake County
  • Crooked Lake, Whitley County
  • Fox Lake, Steuben County
  • Hog Lake, LaPorte County
  • Hudson Lake, LaPorte County
  • North Chain Lake, St. Joseph County

DNR to burn Patoka Lake Woodlands
Using the same method Native Americans used for over millennia, DNR personnel will conduct a prescribed fire on 1,228 acres behind the Patoka Lake Nature Center between now and April 15.

The date of the fire will depend on weather. On the day of the fire, operations will begin at 7 a.m. and end by 6 p.m. Patoka, Columbia and Hall townships and surrounding communities may experience smoke.

The DNR conducts prescribed fires to preserve the area’s oak woodland habitat, which requires sunnier, open conditions. Without fire, competing vegetation replaces the oaks and hickories, eliminating plants and animals typical of this type of forest. The prescribed fire should improve oak and hickory regeneration.

Hiking trails behind the center will be closed the day of fire operations. Contact the Patoka Lake Nature Center at 812-685-2447 or the Patoka Lake Office at 812-685-2464 the day of or before your hike to determine trail availability.

If you have questions on the prescribed fire, contact Patoka Lake wildlife specialist Brian Finch at 812-685-2464 or DNR Division of Forestry fire coordinator Darren Bridges at 765-342-4701.

Patoka Lake ( is at 3084 N. Dillard Road, Birdseye, IN, 47513.

DNR spring-camping discount
An offer from Indiana State Parks makes weeknight camping more affordable this spring.

Campers who book a new campsite reservation for one or more consecutive weeknights (Sundays through Wednesdays) between April 16 and May 24 will receive 25 percent off of their reserved weeknights at the time of booking. The discount is available only for campsites.

The discount applies to all State Parks campgrounds and DNR Division of Forestry campgrounds at Deam Lake, Greene-Sullivan State Forest and Starve-Hollow State Recreation Area.

Discounted reservations may be booked by visiting or by calling 866-622-6746. The discount may also be applied to walk-in registrations beginning April 16. Use the promo code “SPRING17” when going online. The offer does not apply to reservations made before February 17 or to reservations made in combination with any other discount or offer.

The discount will apply only to Sundays through Wednesdays of your stay, and will not apply to Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays.

Barn owls pair up
I just popped in via the “nest cam” and got to see Momma barn owl examining and then gently covering her egg. I have to admit it is a great view for the public using the newly positioned DNR barn owl nest cam. The camera now shows a barn owl pair from a raised position, allowing a rare view of the state-endangered species. Barn owls have a distinct heart-shaped face, dark eyes and white to golden-grown feathers. The two “met” up this season just in time for their first premier—a Valentine’s Day appearance on our nest cam. The owls have been living in a DNR-built nest box inside a metal pole barn in southern Indiana since 2009.

The goal of the webcam is to promote public interest in birds and raise awareness about efforts to support barn owls. DNR’s Wildlife Diversity Program has been placing nest boxes for these birds since 1984. These boxes, like the one the webcam owls use, give owls a safe place to raise their young. More information about nest boxes is at The webcam can accommodate 20 viewers at a time and is at

Women’s Wilderness Weekend set for Patoka Lake
Women can learn outdoor skills in a relaxed environment on April 28-30 at Patoka Lake. The Women’s Wilderness Weekend is open to ages 16 and older and will start at the Patoka Lake Nature Center and include overnight camping. Activities include archery lessons, kayaking, Dutch-oven cooking, survival, wild edibles and medicine, wilderness first aid, fishing and fly fishing, firearms safety, trap shooting, rifle, outdoors and camping basics, boat operations, self-defense and wildlife tracking. Meals will be provided on Saturday and Sunday. Participants will camp in modern electric campgrounds.

Advance registration is required by April 12 and costs $55 per participant. For more information or to register, call the Patoka Lake Nature Center at 812-685-2447. The event is sponsored by the Dubois County Shooting Sports Instructor Council. Patoka Lake ( is at 3084 N. Dillard Road, Birdseye, IN, 47513.

New shelter at McCormick’s Creek
The new Centennial Shelter at McCormick’s Creek State Park is open for reservations. The limestone shelter was dedicated in 2016 to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the Indiana State Parks. McCormick’s Creek was Indiana’s first state park, opening in 1916. Engineering students from Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology and Gonzaga University, in partnership with the DNR Division of Engineering, designed the 1,250-square-foot shelter. It is similar to shelters built by the Civilian Conservation Corps, but is distinctive in its shape and size.

The shelter is fully accessible, has 13 tables, a large fireplace, and electricity, access to nearby restrooms and can accommodate 100 people. This shelter is one of 170 such structures available for day use in Indiana’s 32 state park and state reservoir properties. Visitors may reserve them for picnics, family reunions, birthday parties and more. Shelter reservations can be made online at McCormick’s Creek State Park ( is at 250 McCormick’s Creek Park Road, Spencer, IN, 47460. Jack Spaulding may be contacted at