Gift allows Land Trust to protect 64 acres in Parke County


June 4, 2013

Gift allows Land Trust to protect 64 acres in Parke County

Turtle Bend soon will be open for the public to enjoy

Approximately 64 acres of woods in southeastern Parke County will be preserved forever thanks to a generous gift from two retired Purdue University sociology professors to the Central Indiana Land Trust.

The families of Harry Potter and Ray Rymph purchased the land in 1974 as a retreat spot. They recently donated the acreage to the Central Indiana Land Trust, which works to conserve and protect natural areas that Hoosiers hold dear. The land will be protected from future development and open for public use, and a generous gift from the Dr. Laura Hare Charitable Trust will fund long-term protection and improvements.

Now called Turtle Bend, the land is located off Ferndale Road.

It’s not far from Turkey Run State Park, one of the most visited parks in Indiana with nearly 800,000 visitors in 2012, the land offers an environment similar to the park’s without the crowds. “We see this as becoming a much more peaceful version of Turkey Run,” said Heather Bacher, executive director of the Central Indiana Land Trust.

Three aspects of the property make it particularly interesting. First, the stream that meanders through it is a tributary to Raccoon Lake, and the water is full of life, with a lot of fish diversity. Among the clearest and cleanest streams in Indiana, it cuts into large sand deposits and creates small cliffs that will continue to erode and create niche habitats.

“In the stream is a sharp S-shaped curve where a half dozen turtles or more would hang out on the bank,” said Harry Potter. “That’s the reason we picked the name ‘Turtle Bend.’”

A second aspect of the property is the sand bluff and sandstone deposits created by the stream, and even a small tributary stream on a bluff top. Third, there’s a great mosaic of younger and older forest with very few non-native species and a lot of diversity (five species of ferns, for example).

Bacher added, “We’re delighted to have our friends and supporters share the beauty of this property and enjoy it for years to come.”

Plans for 2013 include volunteer workdays and building a small parking lot. Land Trust members are invited to celebrate the acquisition on June 13 at 5 p.m. at the Land Trust offices, 1500 N. Delaware St., Indianapolis.

# # #

Media contact: Jen Thomas, JTPR,, 317-441-2487