- Hoosier National Forest
The Hoosier National Forest, in the hills of south central
Indiana, is a property managed by the United States Forest Service. It has a total area of convert|201047|acre|ha sqmi. [ [http://www.fs.fed.us/land/staff/lar/2007/TABLE_6.htm Table 6 - NFS Acreage by State, Congressional District and County] - United States Forest Service- September 30, 2007] It is headquartered in Bedford, with a regional office in Tell City. Prominent places within the Forest include the Lick Creek Settlement and the Potts Creek Rockshelter Archeological Site.
Hoosier National Forest was first touched by humanity 12,000 years ago, when Indians hunted in the forest. Europeans reached the forest in the late 17th century, and began building villages in the forest. Actual foresting began in the 19th century, with the foresting of more difficult terrain occurring after 1865. By 1910 most of the area had actually been forested. In the early 1930s the governor of Indiana pushed for the federal government to do something with the eroding lands that saw its residents leaving, with the act being accomplished on
February 6 1935. [Mohlenbrock, Robert. " [http://books.google.com/books?id=gupOE0x1BKYC This Land: A Guide to Eastern National Forests] " ( University of CaliforniaPress, 2006) pg.97]
Within Hoosier National Forest, two miles (3 km) south of Chambersburg, lies the former Lick Creek Settlement Site, a settlement of free blacks led by the
QuakerJonathan Lindley from around 1819 to around 1865. [Mohlenbrock pg.100,101] Pioneer Mothers Memorial Forest near Paoli contains an excellent example of virgin forest. Hemlock Cliffs Recreation Area in Crawford County contains one of the most scenic hiking trails in Indiana.
Thomas Hines' raid through Indiana was within the present-day Hoosier National Forest.
Hickory Ridge Lookout Tower is the sole remaining fire tower out of eight that once stood within Hoosier National Forest. When built, there was a two-room house for the ranger and his dependents to live within, but it has since been destroyed. Visitors may still climb the tower, but are recommended to be cautious when climbing. [Mohlenbrock pg.99]
Much of Hoosier National Forest is over
karst, responsible for the many caves in south-central Indiana. [http://www.fs.fed.us/r9/hoosier/project_docs/cavesandkarst.htm]
Included in Hoosier National Forest is the
Charles C. Deam Wilderness Area, the only recognized wilderness area left in Indiana. This means that no motorized vehicles are allowed in the area, and instead mules and horses must be used to maintain hiking trails. [http://www.fs.fed.us/r9/hoosier/docs/sp_features.htm] [http://www.fs.fed.us/r9/hoosier/recreation/ccdw.htm]
In the Clover Lick Barrens, in the southern portion of Hoosier National Forest near the
Ohio Riverand the Kentuckyborder, vegetation more typical of prairies on the Great Plainsis found. This was discovered by a botanist and a biologist from the Indiana Department of Natural Resources, who later found that in the first recorded survey of the area in 1805, the land was described not as forest, but as "a mile of poor barrens and grassy hills". It is believed that the inability of tall oaks to grow in the area allows for this prairie vegetation to persist in such an unlikely location. In 1993 a conscious effort was made to keep the barren look to the area; previous federal efforts on renovating Hoosier National Forest meant adding nonnative species to low-growth areas. [Mohlenbrock pg.103,104] It was around Clover Lick in 1972 that Indiana decided to reintroduce wild turkeys back to Indiana, dedicated convert|6000|acre for the purpose. [http://www.fs.fed.us/r9/hoosier/docs/barrens.htm]
Also in Hoosier National Forest is Sundance Lake, a convert|5.3|acre|adj=on lake; not only is fishing offered, but every year Indians perform a spiritual dance near the lake. [http://www.fs.fed.us/r9/hoosier/recreation/sundance_lake.htm]
Hoosier National Forest lies in parts of nine counties in southern Indiana. In descending order of forestland area they are Perry, Orange, Crawford, Jackson, Monroe, Brown, Lawrence, Martin, and Dubois counties.
The trail system has almost convert|266|mi, and allows horseback riding and
mountain bikes, along with hiking. Hikers are to yield to horses, and mountain bikers are to yield to both of them. [http://www.fs.fed.us/r9/hoosier/trail_chart.htm]
Charles C. Deam Wilderness Area
* [http://www.fs.fed.us/r9/hoosier/ Official web site]
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