Embrace the great outdoors in Indiana


    Indiana State Park Inn summer lodging savings

    Stay two or more consecutive nights, and receive 25% off your stay May 27 through Aug. 29, 2024. Certain property specific restrictions may apply. Reserve today by calling 1.877.LODGES1 or reserve at IndianaInns.com.


    Wearing a life jacket could save your loved one’s life

    Wearing a life jacket could prevent most loss-of-life tragedies that happen in the water.

    A large percentage of drowning victims are over the age of 20. Life jackets are for everyone.

    DNR encourages everyone to learn to swim, but a life jacket is still the best option to prevent drowning.


    Altered winner: Frog Baby Fountain on campus of Ball State University by Tim Underhill of Muncie

    DNR announces winners of historic photo contest

    The DNR Division of Historic Preservation & Archaeology has announced the winners of its annual Historic Preservation Month photo contest.


    Gov. Holcomb cuts ribbon on 100th mile of Next Level Trails

    Gov. Eric J. Holcomb on April 30 joined the DNR, the town of Merrillville, and the Lake County Parks and Recreation Department to celebrate the official opening of the recently completed C&O Trail. The new trail marks the 100th mile of trail built under the Next Level Trails program (NLT).

    To date, NLT has awarded $180 million to 89 projects across the state. Of these NLT projects, 34 are already completed, contributing 100 miles of trail since the program’s inception. Several projects are under construction, with many more scheduled to break ground later this year.


    Chain O’Lakes State Park

    Get your summer passes and permits

    To visit state parks properties frequently or to launch your boat in DNR waters, get your yearly passes and permits now. Available for purchase online:

    • Annual state park entrance pass
    • Golden Hoosier entrance pass
    • Motorized lake permit
    • Non-motorized lake permit
    • Annual horse tag
    • Off-road cycling permit


    2024-25 Migratory bird hunting seasons announced

    Indiana’s migratory bird hunting seasons for 2024-25 have been submitted to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. The hunting seasons include those for mourning dove, waterfowl (i.e., ducks, coots, mergansers, and geese), woodcock, snipe, and sora rails.

    New this year, the white-fronted goose season and bag limit are separate from other geese. The white-fronted goose season is closed during the Canada goose season segment in September, but it is open at the same time as for the other geese later in the season. The daily bag limit is two white-fronted geese.


    Hike Pisgah Marsh Nature Preserve on June 15

    An Indiana birdwatcher’s hidden treasure, Pisgah Marsh includes grassland, marsh, lake, and upland habitat. Pisgah Marsh, just east of Warsaw, is an ecologically sensitive, geologically significant, and biologically diverse area accessible via a boardwalk.

    Two state-endangered species are found there, the massasauga rattlesnake and Blanding’s turtle. The wetland and upland areas also provide habitat for migratory waterfowl, sandhill cranes, beavers, rails, squirrels, raccoons, and deer.

    The Pisgah Marsh boardwalk and golden eagle viewing deck were constructed to provide guests the opportunity to experience and understand the natural habitat and diversity of the marsh while protecting the habitat.


    National Fishing and Boating Week and Free Fishing Days

    Celebrate National Fishing and Boating Week, June 1-9, with a fishing trip. What better way to celebrate than taking your family, friends, and neighbors out on the water? Indiana residents who fish on June 1-2 don’t need a fishing license or trout/salmon stamp to fish on state waters, as these days are Free Fishing Days.

    Keep in mind that all other rules such as seasons, bag, and size limits still apply on Free Fishing Days. Explore the outdoors today.


    DNR seeks State Fair Fishin’ Pond volunteers

    DNR is seeking volunteers to help ensure the Fishin’ Pond runs smoothly. With four different volunteer positions available, we have the perfect opportunity for you. Volunteers receive free admission to the fair on the day of their shift, a free T-shirt, and the opportunity to fish with kids for a few hours at the pond.

    Several more McCormick’s Creek State Park trails reopen Friday

    Several trails at McCormick’s Creek State Park will reopen Friday, May 24 after being closed for clearing of downed trees after last year’s March 31 tornado.

    Through the efforts of DNR staff and volunteers from Team Rubicon, trail access has increased from 3.6 miles to 7.1 miles since the fall of 2023. Team Rubicon is a veteran-led humanitarian organization that serves global communities before, during, and after disasters.

    The reopened hiking trails are trails 2 and 3, and the Bridle Trail is reopened for hiking only, as the saddle barn will be closed during the 2024 season for pasture restoration and barn maintenance.


    Turtle traffic: Saving turtles from roads

    This summer, you may see turtles crossing roadways to find places to nest. Here’s how you can safely lend a helping hand:

    • Do not remove turtles from the area, as they will seek to return to their home range, even if it means spending the rest of their life trying. If it is safe to do so, you can move turtles off the roadway in the same direction in which they were already heading. Move them by grasping the back of the top shell.
    • If you see a snapping turtle trying to cross the road, be aware that grabbing a snapping turtle’s tail can damage its spine. To keep yourself and the snapping turtle safe, hold it by the top back of its shell and leverage it upward.


    One million trees planted

    Gov. Eric J. Holcomb celebrated the historic milestone of the DNR planting one million trees throughout Indiana in five years by planting a tree on the Statehouse lawn on April 26.

    The tree Gov. Holcomb planted, a cucumber magnolia, is native to southern Indiana. The 12-foot tree was grown on Clark State Forest. A plaque next to the tree recognizes the achievement of planting one million trees over five years.

    Today, the state is home to 4.8 million acres of forestland, including 160,000 acres across Indiana State Forests.

    Enhanced fishing opportunities at Griffy Lake

    After a year of planning, Bloomington Parks and Recreation has collaborated with DNR to plan, fund, obtain permits, and install fish habitat structures in Griffy Lake in Bloomington.

    Structures were installed near the five fishing bump outs on the accessible walkway that extends a quarter mile across the causeway. The location of the Griffy Lake habitat placement can be found online on DNR’s statewide fish habitat map.

    record fish

    Lake Michigan angler catches state record yellow perch

    Blas Lara was fishing Lake Michigan in Lake County during the Mayor’s Fishing Derby in Hammond on April 21 when he landed a 3-pound, 2-ounce yellow perch, shattering a 43-year-old Indiana state record. 

    Yellow perch are native to Lake Michigan and popular with anglers due to the relative ease of catching them and their high quality as table fare. 

    To learn more about the Indiana Record Fish program, see on.IN.gov/recordfish.


    Indiana Conservation Officer K-9 School graduation

    Four K-9 teams were recognized for completing the DNR Division of Law Enforcement’s nine-week K-9 Resource Protection program during a graduation ceremony held May 23. The teams came from Indiana and Arkansas.

    K-9 teams provide conservation officers an essential tool to help stop poaching, to find concealed game and firearms, and to find shell casings in road hunting and hunting-with-a-spotlight cases. K-9 teams are used to find lost hunters as well as poachers who have tried to hide from officers.

    Because of their unique abilities, K-9 units are often requested by other state and local law enforcement agencies for help in locating evidence, missing persons, or fleeing felons.

    At least one K-9 unit serves in each of the 10 Indiana DNR Law Enforcement districts. 


    Many pools and beaches to open this weekend

    Get ready to cool off, Hoosiers. DNR public swimming pools in Indiana State Parks will open soon, as will DNR swimming beaches.

    Beaches generally remain open through Labor Day. Public pools generally are open through early to mid-August, depending on the availability of lifeguards as they return to school.

    For public pool or beach hours at the property you plan to visit, contact the property directly since these vary by location. Directory information is at stateparks.IN.gov.

    Participate in research for chronic wasting disease management

    Researchers at Purdue are studying the willingness of hunters and non-hunters to reduce the spread of chronic wasting disease (CWD) in white-tailed deer.

    Information collected may help inform DNR’s response to CWD. Participants will answer online survey questions and use a web app that shows how CWD may spread. The activity and survey questions take about 30 minutes to complete. The study is open to everyone 18 years or older. Participate in the study online.

    For questions about this study, please email the research team at cwdwebapp@purdue.edu.

    Please reference the following in the email: Study title – Web App Use and Intention to Reduce Chronic Wasting Disease Spread; Principal Investigator – Dr. Patrick Zollner; IRB Number – IRB-2023-1039.