Sugar Mill Creek

Parke County Conservation Easement to Improve Environment for All

Feb. 8, 2021

Entrepreneur and nature lover Joe McCurdy has donated to the Central Indiana Land Trust a 365-acre conservation easement that promises to improve the water quality in nearby Turkey Run State Park and Rocky Hollow Falls Canyon Nature Preserve.

Called the Sugar Mill Creek Conservation Easement, the Parke County property features a mix of high-quality forest, managed forest and hayfields following Sugar Mill Creek that flows through the iconic Hoosier parkland. It’s one of the few sites in Central Indiana where large-flowered trillium plants are found along with Eastern hemlock trees.

Although the property will remain in private ownership and therefore not be open to the public, all Hoosiers can enjoy the rewards of the gift.

“Turkey Run State Park is shaped by water. By protecting these 365 acres upstream of the park we are helping ensure high quality water flows through that iconic Hoosier landscape,” said Cliff Chapman, executive director of the Central Indiana Land Trust. The newly protected area is also home to several rare species. “By protecting this land, it’s more likely that visitors to Turkey Run State Park and Rocky Hollow Falls Canyon Nature Preserve will get to see rare birds like hooded warblers, worm-eating warblers and cerulean warblers.”

The land protection will also improve the health of Sugar Creek which is a popular paddling stream.

The terms of the conservation easement allow the property to stay in private ownership but retain its current character, even if sold. The Land Trust will monitor the property to ensure that the terms of the agreement are honored.

Funding for the project came from CILTI’s Evergreen Fund for Nature and its generous members.

Jen Schmits Thomas

Media Relations

An award-winning communicator and recognized leader in Central Indiana’s public relations community, Jen helps us tell our story in the media. She is the founder of JTPR, which she and her husband John Thomas own together.