Oliver's Woods

Pulliam gift supports Land Trust’s river plan, opening of Oliver’s Woods


Aug. 28, 2017

Thanks to a $645,000 grant from the Nina Mason Pulliam Charitable Trust, the Central Indiana Land Trust (CILTI) is progressing on three projects designed to increase access to and appreciation for the White River in the Indianapolis metropolitan area.

Perhaps most notably, the gift will allow for the opening of Oliver’s Woods Nature Preserve, a 53-acre swath of natural landscape and river frontage next to the bustling Keystone at the Crossing area.

The projects at Oliver’s Woods and the nearby White Owl Preserve will include public canoe launches, giving area residents easier access to river enjoyment and appreciation than ever before. The White River Bluffs Preserve project will allow for improvements and amenities at one of the Land Trust’s most recent acquisitions.

“For decades, the majority of area residents have had virtually no access to the river or the natural areas that line it,” said Cliff Chapman, executive director of the Central Indiana Land Trust. “With its generous gift to the Land Trust and other organizations, the Nina Mason Pulliam Charitable Trust is opening the door to a new understanding of some of our area’s greatest natural assets and opportunities.”

More information about each of the Land Trust’s White River projects is included below.

Oliver’s Woods

At Oliver’s Woods, a 53-acre preserve off River Road near Keystone at the Crossing, planned improvements include a canoe launch, a parking lot to accommodate visitors, trails and signage, ongoing restoration to the property and more. In addition to its river frontage, Oliver’s Woods features 16 acres of woods and 37 acres of prairie-savanna restoration. The southern portion of the popular Town Run Trail Park is also part of the property, and the improvements include a connection to the mountain bike trails from River Road.

White Owl

Slightly downriver from Oliver’s Woods, the six-acre White Owl Conservation Area will also gain a canoe launch as a result of the Pulliam Trust’s gift. This means the public could enjoy quick nature excursions on the river, going from Oliver’s Woods to White Owl, or enjoy longer adventures from either location. CILTI already has been working to restore the site and improve a shallow marsh impoundment and floodplain forest for the benefit of wildlife and the river.

White River Bluffs

With its stunning views of the White River and the city as a whole, White River Bluffs will benefit from the grant by seeing restoration and improvements at the site. Located east of Michigan Road between 52nd and 56th streets near Highland Country Club, the property includes some of the oldest trees in Indianapolis growing on a steep bluff that soars above the White River 85 feet below.

On July 27, the Nina Mason Pulliam Charitable Trust announced over $4.9 million in grants to nine nonprofit organizations to support a collaborative effort to improve the White River and the public’s access to it. The collaborative, known as the Partners for the White River, includes the Land Trust, The daVinci Pursuit, Friends of the White River, the Hoosier Environmental Council, Indiana Wildlife Federation, Keep Indianapolis Beautiful, Reconnecting to Our Waterways, The Nature Conservancy, White River Alliance and the Nina Mason Pulliam Charitable Trust.

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Media contact: Jen Thomas, JTPR, jen@jtprinc.com, 317-441-2487

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.