PARKE COUNTY, Ind. (WTHI) – If you drive on US 41 north of Turkey Run State Park, you’ll find a cabin off the east side of the highway. It’s a scene picture perfect for Parke County. And not far from this cabin is a ravine that’s home to rare and endangered plant and animal species. Both are part of nearly 400 acres of land owner Joe McCurdy donated to the Central Indiana Land Trust as part of a conservation easement.
“He still owns the land, and he can walk it, hunt it, do sustainable timber harvest on it,” said Cliff Chapman, the Executive Director of the Central Indiana Land Trust. “But we get to approve those plans, and we protect it from ever being developed.”
The Central Indiana Land Trust wants to protect the best natural lands in this part of the state. But the organization also believes in balance.
“We believe in economic development,” Chapman said. “We believe that cities need to grow and that people need houses. But we also believe people need nature.”
Chapman says the Central Indiana Land Trust believes people need peace and quiet, something along the lines of what McCurdy’s land offers. Even though it’s not open to the public, Chapman says we all still benefit from having this land placed into the protective care of a land trust.
“The water from this property goes into Green Creek, which goes into Sugar Mill Creek right at Turkey Run State Park,” Chapman said. “It’s cleaning the water before it gets into that creek.”
The countless trees located in this property also clean the air and give the aforementioned endangered species a place to live. Mr. McCurdy see this land as more than just beautiful property. Chapman says he recognizes the power of this place, which is priceless.
“For him, this was never about money,” Chapman said. “It’s about making sure he can keep it in his family for future generations and keep it from development, and so we’re able to do that.”
The Central Indiana Land Trust is a member-driven non-profit organization. 600 members support 26 nature preserves and 18 conservation easements throughout central Indiana.
Jen Schmits Thomas