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11,000 Acres Protected In Honor Of State's Bicentennial
Updated January 1, 2017 8:01 AM
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(UNDATED) - The Department of Natural Resources (DNR) and the Bicentennial Commission announced that more than 11,000 acres have been protected through the efforts of the Bicentennial Nature Trust.

The BNT was launched in 2012 as a project of the Bicentennial Commission, co-chaired by former Lt. Gov. Becky Skillman and former U.S. Representative Lee Hamilton. The program works to acquire land for conservation and recreation to serve as a perpetual gift to all Hoosiers in celebration of Indiana's 200 years of statehood. The statewide effort honors the establishment of the state park system, which was created in 1916 to commemorate Indiana's centennial.

The BNT has completed 129 land acquisition projects to date for a total of 11,096 acres statewide. The projects enhance public access to recreational trails, public hunting and fishing opportunities, wildlife observation, and conservation of fragile natural habitats. Partners include local park systems, land trusts, trails groups, and land-holding divisions of the DNR. More than 70 percent of BNT funds have been awarded to non-state partners.

"We are grateful to the many partners who have helped to make this effort a success," Hamilton and Skillman said in a shared statement. "Our state park system stands as an enduring legacy of Indiana's centennial celebration 100 years ago, and it is our hope that these projects serve as an inspiration to future generations of Hoosiers as they reflect on the commitment to conservation made to commemorate our state's 200th year."

The state obligated $20 million for BNT projects, and the Lilly Endowment donated another $10 million. The program requires that money from the fund is matched no less than $1:1 by project sponsors. To date, projects sponsors have matched $1.41 for every BNT dollar.

A list of approved projects and an interactive map can be found at www.in.gov/dnr/7577.htm.

For more information on the Bicentennial Commission, visit www.indiana2016.org.



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