Annual Entrance Permits for 2012 for Indiana State Parks and Reservoirs are now available for online purchase.
Order an Annual Entrance Permit, which costs $36 for state residents, by going to InnsGifts.com. The Golden Hoosier Permit is available at the same website to those over age 65 for $18. Each permit allows entrance into any state park or reservoir for one vehicle with Indiana license plates throughout 2012.
Annual Entrance Permits are also available for purchase at state parks and reservoirs across Indiana.
For reservations at any of the state park inns, call 1.877.LODGES 1 (1.877.563.4371) or visit IndianaInns.com.
It’s not too early to think about hunting season as online applications for reserved hunts at DNR properties are now being accepted.
From the Indiana Department of Natural Resources:
Hunters may apply for a reserved hunt online by visiting http://www.indianaoutdoor.in.gov/ and clicking on the “Register for a Reserved Hunt” link, beginning July 1. The online method is the only way to apply.
All applicants must possess a valid hunting license for the hunt for which they apply. All applications must be completed by the application deadline to be eligible for the drawing. Hunters will be selected through a random drawing. All drawing results will be posted at http://www.wildlife.in.gov/ within a week after application deadlines.
Dove Hunt Draw
Online application must be completed by July 31
Military/Refuge Firearm and Archery Deer Hunt Draw
Online application must be completed by Aug. 28. Hunts on Military/Refuge properties may be cancelled at any time.
State Park Deer Reduction Hunts
Online application must be completed by Aug. 28
Youth Firearm Deer Hunt at Muscatatuck National Widlife Refuge
Online application must be completed by Aug. 28
Pheasant Hunt Draw
Online application must be completed by Oct. 2. Adults should not apply for the Nov. 25 hunt. Nov. 25 is reserved for youth (17 and younger) only.
Applications for waterfowl draw hunts begin in late August. Pheasant put-and-take and state park goose will be available in September.
For more information on military/refuge hunt opportunities, call (812) 334-3795 from 8:30 a.m. – 4 p.m. on weekdays.
The DNR is reminding campers about firewood policies at all DNR properties:
Enjoy campfires on DNR properties this Memorial Day weekend and throughout the year in a way that will protect forests from the spread of invasive insects.
The 140 known pests and pathogens that affect forests are moved from place to place primarily through the movement of firewood. As a result, DNR has a new firewood management policy. In short, the policy means: “Buy it with a stamp, bring it debarked, burn it all.”
That means you can still bring firewood into a state park, reservoir, state forest or state fish & wildlife area from home if you live in Indiana, as long as you have previously removed the bark from it. Insect larvae live in the sapwood under the bark. (People from surrounding states cannot bring their own firewood because of the federal EAB quarantines.)
You may also bring firewood into DNR properties if:
However, if you plan to take firewood with you to any Indiana Department of Natural Resources property, that is exactly what you’ll have to do.
The Indiana Natural Resources Commission has approved a new firewood policy to hopefully (or hopelessly) check the spread of the emerald ash borer, gypsy moth, Asian longhorned beetle and whatever wood-borne exotic pest is next to be accidentally imported into the U.S. We wouldn’t be too surprised if the newest non-native pest problem causes contagious brain worms in humans or possibly Justin Beiber videos.
The new rule will only allow certified firewood into the park, kiln-dried construction lumber, firewood purchased on-site from an approved vendor or firewood with all the bark peeled.
So, as we said before, just make sure all your wood is peeled before heading to any DNR property.
To finish up on yesterday’s post, once we had extracted ourselves from Squire Boone Caverns, it was time to head down the road to O’Bannon State Park, Indiana’s newest.
The park is surrounded by Harrison-Crawford State Forest and in fact had been state forest land until just a few years ago when the central part of the forest was converted into park land in honor of former governor Frank O’Bannon, who hailed from nearby Corydon.
I had visited the area around 15-20 years ago on my first solo backpacking trip. I was planning on hiking the Adventure Hiking Trail, one of the only (at that time) backpacking long-distance trails in the state.
What I found at the time was an area with little to no recreational facilities and a complex and poorly marked network of trails. I later realized that horse trails and hiking trails were never printed on the same maps but not really marked on the ground. I did stay overnight but gave up and went home after considering the good possibility of getting lost in the remote region.
Now, things are much more developed, the Adventure Hiking Trail has been shortened and there are abundant recreational facilities.
We stayed in the park’s single campground, a large affair ridge top affair that only held a smattering of other campers. As nearly every site was situated adjacent to the side of the hilltop, the entire campground was very breezy and comfortable.
If you ignore the flaming idiot who played his stereo at top volume until well after dinner, it was all very enjoyable.
After dinner, we climbed the firetower, explored a bit and then headed back to camp to catch the final strains of country music wafting at top volume across the countryside.
In the morning, we packed up and headed to Wyandotte Lake, a shallow spring-fed lake and wetland complex near the caves of the same name (all caves in the area are currently indefinitely closed due to the White Nose Fungus epidemic that is killing hibernating bats across the U.S.) We hiked around the lake and then picked our way across a poorly-marked network of trails (including one that I believe was part of the ‘old’ Adventure Hiking Trail) and found Sharpe Spring, the source of the lake.
The spring issues from the base of a cliff and is very large, judging by the good-sized creek that flows away from the several different outlet that form the watercourse. We could only dream that perhaps the stream, with it’s pure water and mid-50-degree water year-round, held a small population of trout.
Unfortunately it was time to head back home after our 24-hour vacation from responsibility and we hit the road, slightly stinky, slightly tired and determined to return again for more explorations.
IF YOU GO:
The good: a wild and scenic area that is abundant with rock formations, springs and caves. There are abundant ‘civilized’ recreational opportunities and plenty of wild land to explore.
The not-so-good: the trails are sometimes a little sketchy in the signage department, especially in Harrison-Crawford State Forest. A good map, compass and GPS would help ease the worry of backcountry hiking in the area. There is also little or no surface water due to the karst topography.