In 2021 the Indiana General Assembly will craft a new two-year state budget.  Because of state revenue shortfalls resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic, agency budgets — including the budget for the Indiana Department of Natural Resources and the President Benjamin Harrison Conservation Trust — will be facing dramatic cuts.  As a result, staff and program funding will be reduced, severely hampering the DNR’s ability to perform its mission to protect and manage Indiana’s precious fish and wildlife resources, state parks, state forests, fish and wildlife areas, and outdoor recreation sites.  In turn, this will put at risk Indiana’s annual $16 billion outdoor recreation industry and the 143,000 jobs it supports.  HEC will work to defend the DNR budget and the successful Harrison Conservation Trust program.

Update

Good news!  In response to a positive revenue forecast and new funds being provided by the American Rescue Plan, the new Indiana state budget contains a $25 million appropriation for conservation land acquisition, along with $60 million in added funds for the Next Level Trails program.