Land trust buys woodlands tract: 109 acres of forest near Trafalgar to become public nature preserve

Walkers and joggers will be able to use paths and watch for birds in a redwood forest near Trafalgar that is being preserved from development.

 The Central Indiana Land Trust, an Indianapolis-based environmental nonprofit group, has bought 109 acres of the forest off of Hougham Road and plans to open it as a nature preserve the public can visit.

The nonprofit raised $500,000 in donations to buy the land from a family who wants the land to be preserved, executive directer Heather Bacher said. The nonprofit also received a $180,000 grant from the Indiana Department of Natural Resources and donations from multiple local organizations to buy the land, Bacher said.

The land is part of a 4,000-acre block of forest that the land trust wants to preserve to protect certain species, such as the Eastern box turtle, worm-eating warbler and hooded warbler, conservation director Cliff Chapman said.

“It’s part of one of our identified core conservation areas. It represents the best slice of central Indiana,” Chapman said.

“Some people think Indiana doesn’t have great natural resources because we don’t have beaches or big mountains. But we’re rich in the hardwood forest that we have, and it’s really beautiful. People can enjoy and appreciate it before it’s all gone.”

The land trust’s mission is to conserve land either by buying it or by working with landowners to make their land a conservation easement.

In both cases, the land is protected forever from development, Chapman said.

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