According to the DNR, next year will mark the 100th anniversary of the founding of the State Parks system. Presumably, the state is planning a suitably celebratory commemoration.
Another anniversary — concerning the White River — fast approaches. This coming July will mark the 35th anniversary of the publication an important study completed in 1979— The Recreation Potential of the White River. Its two volumes analyze the river from east of Muncie to Martinsville and provide a detailed needs analysis and a review of potential alternatives including Corridor Acquisition, Access Sites (25 acres), and larger Resource Areas (ranging from 200 to 2000 acres). It also contains a chapter on Implementation and specifies five recommendations for the upstream portion (Cabin Creek to Noblesville).
The DNR has been contacted to report on the extent of implementation since publication of the study. Its response will be reported in a future post.
In 2009, Indianapolis historian Glory-June Greiff published a wonderful book about the park system. People, Parks, and Perceptions— A History and Appreciation of Indiana State Parks, 2009. She writes about the interesting history of preserving our natural heritage as a public good. Here’s a brief excerpt and a quote from state forester William Freeman in 1906.
“In this fertile soil sprouted the seedling idea of preserving natural areas for the public good. As early as 1906, state forester William Freeman declared,
‘More and more, as the cities swell, and the pressure of industrial life becomes severer, it is of the highest common concern that nature be safeguarded and encouraged in her beneficient work of building up and sustaining the great world of Recreation, in which care is thrown aside, and cramped limbs, bent shoulders, and weary brains may find freedom and invigoration.’”
What will the future hold for the preservation of our natural heritage and the public good (including the economic public good represented by the free-flowing White River)? Stay tuned— and get involved!