Hoosier Environmental Council seeks to save forests, protect free-flowing rivers and promote a deeper connection to nature in Indiana.
From the Hoosier National Forest in southern Indiana to the Indiana Dunes National Park, our state is blessed with diverse ecosystems. But our wild spaces are scarce. And fragmented. Expanding our wilderness areas and greenways protects vital open space and wildlife habitats and connects those fragmented pieces of the Hoosier landscape.
Careless land use and economic development practices needlessly consume open spaces, wildlife habitats and natural resources. As a result, Indiana is losing tens of thousands of acres of forests, farms and other undeveloped spaces a year.
To address this alarming loss of wild places and open spaces, HEC works to expand and create new public parks, greenways, fish and wildlife areas and protected waters.
The leading state program to protect lands and water is the President Benjamin Harrison Conservation Trust. Yet this successful program that has protected over 70,000 acres since 1993 suffers from a lack of state investment, with its main source of revenue — the environmental license plate — declining by more than 50% over the last 20 years.
Creating and expanding greenways is another sustainable program that not only protects rivers and forested corridors, but also encourages outdoor recreation and the enjoyment of all its benefits for humans and the animal kingdom. Greenways can improve the quality of our air, the quality of our water and the quality of the adjacent land.
HEC supports local and statewide efforts to improve our greenway system, along with our leadership of the campaign to establish the Mounds Greenway.
of Indiana's land area is protected for its ecological value or for outdoor recreation.
Of adult Hoosiers,
are overweight, with a BMI of 25 or greater. Source: CDC/IN State Dept of Health Obesity Profile
The Outdoor Recreation economy generates
in consumer spending in the state of Indiana. Source: OIA Industry report, 2017
Wilderness & Greenways
To protect our splendid natural heritage, improve our health and quality of life, and provide economic opportunity, HEC believes that Hoosiers need and deserve more public parks, forestlands, fishing and hunting areas, nature preserves that protect our most unique ecosystems, along with an expanded network of greenways, trails and other outdoor recreation areas.
The State of Indiana should dramatically increase its investment in protecting new outdoor lands, principally through the President Benjamin Harrison Conservation Trust. To this end HEC works closely with the Indiana Conservation Alliance to make dedicated public land acquisition and greenway funding a permanent component of the State’s annual budget.
A Victory for Wetlands
Lake County residents were able to save the the former Tom Sporre Wildlife area from a proposed residential development. The almost 80-acre restored wetland, a home for waterfowl, was sold at a sheriff’s auction through a series of unfortunate circumstances. The new owner wanted to develop this pristine wetland for residential purposes but concerned citizens mobilized in opposition. With the support of HEC, these residents convinced the Lake County Planning Commission to maintain the area’s current zoning, saving the wetland. This is a victory for wetlands rehabilitation and for all the residents in Lake County who enjoy the wildlife that the area offers.
Greenways in Indiana connect neighborhoods to neighborhoods and towns to other towns. They also connect people to nature and each other. They can preserve important wildlife corridors and connect important species of flora and fauna to the resources they need to survive. Greenways animate their surroundings by encouraging healthy social activity and supporting small business. And finally, greenways connect us to our spirit, encouraging Hoosiers to engage and care for themselves and the beautiful natural environment we’ve inherited.
How to Make a Difference
Protect Endangered Wildlife
Help HEC protect habitats for our most endangered wildlife. Look for new information coming soon.
Help HEC advocate for more wild lands and wildlife habitat funding in Indiana. Learn more about investment in wild and open space conservation.
Support the Mounds Greenway
The Mounds Greenway is a sustainable plan for East Central Indiana that protects the free-flowing White River, connects neighborhoods and towns along the corridor, and creates economic opportunity associated with outdoor recreation. Follow the Mounds Greenway Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.