PARKE COUNTY, Ind. (WTHI) - A section of forest along Sugar Creek in Parke County, Indiana is on its way to becoming part of Indiana's Healthy Rivers Initiative.
The state bought the land from Craig and Diane Green, who told the Department of Natural Resources they hoped to leave a lasting legacy with the land they once called "home."
"Instead of waiting until I die and not knowing if it will happen or not, I have the satisfaction and enjoyment now of knowing it's safe now," Craig Green said.
News 10 met with officials from the DNR, who said the parcel of land is healthy and is home to uncommon plants like Northern hemlock.
"It's in very good condition right now," said Joe Tutterow, of the Nature Conservancy. "That's why it's important to maintain the integrity … to keep everything together and to manage for invasive species."
They also said that keeping the land forested will also help keep the waters of Sugar Creek and the Wabash River clean.
"That will prevent runoff: things like soil, fertilizers, nutrients," said Angie Tilton, Healthy Rivers Initiative liaison for the Department of Natural Resources. "By leaving those natural, they provide a buffer."
In all, Indiana's Healthy Rivers Initiative calls for the state to set aside more than 43,000 acres along the Wabash River and Sugar Creek. Tilton said all that land is bought from willing landowners.
"All of these landowners, including the Greens … have done that willingly," Tilton said. "Through that they are creating a conservation legacy.
Tilton said the state buys land for the Initiative using federal funds raised by taxes on sporting goods like fishing tackle, hunting gear and motorboat fuel.
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