By Jacob Rund
The Department of Natural Resources is set to open almost 1,900 acres near Indiana rivers to the public as part of its ongoing Healthy Rivers INitiative.
The new acreage is dispersed between two project areas of the Healthy Rivers INitiative - a partnership of resource agencies and organizations - and will be accessible to the public beginning Friday.
Of the nearly 1,900 acres scheduled to be opened, 673 are in the Austin Bottoms Conservation Area - located along the Muscatatuck River in Scott, Jackson and Washington counties - and 1,221 are in the Sugar Creek Conservation Area in Parke County.
With the addition of the new openings, HRI has now purchased more than 8, 242 acres of land since the program's launch in 2010, and plans to permanently secure conservation protection of roughly 70,000 acres along Sugar Creek, the Wabash River, and the Muscatatuck River.
Fishing, hunting, trapping, bird watching, nature photography and observation are all allowable activities at the conservation areas. Mushroom hunting is allowed after 1 p.m. EST during the spring turkey hunting season.
Maps for the state's conservation areas are available online at http://www.in.gov/dnr/healthyriver/6502.htm.
Jacob Rund is a reporter for TheStatehouseFile.com, a news service powered by Franklin College journalism students and faculty.