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General Assembly Honors State Parks' 100th Anniversary
Updated January 26, 2016 7:15 AM | Filed under: Natural Resources
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(INDIANAPOLIS) - The Indiana General Assembly on Monday unanimously passed a concurrent resolution recognizing the 100th anniversary of the Indiana State Parks system.

The resolution recognized State Parks for "contributions to the health, recreation, and outdoor education of Indiana's citizens and guests, and its commitment to the conservation of the State of Indiana's unique natural and cultural resources held in trust in those state parks."

Rep. Sean Eberhart (R-Shelbyville) authored the resolution (CR 13) in the House, and Sen. Sue Glick (R-LaGrange) was the Senate sponsor.

The resolution congratulated Indiana State Parks for "its continued commitment to providing outstanding outdoor experiences for all of Indiana's citizens, and to maintaining excellence in stewardship of the natural and cultural resources with which the system is entrusted."

DNR director Cameron Clark, who spoke to both the House and Senate on the measure, expressed appreciation for the General Assembly's support of state parks.

"It was an honor to stand before both houses while they recognized the importance of our state parks to Indiana," Clark said. "The reception we received was truly humbling."

DNR State Parks division director Dan Bortner said: "I am very appreciative of the General Assembly taking time out of its busy schedule to recognize the partnership that began a century ago when they created the Indiana State Parks system. While time has passed, the affection Hoosiers have for these special places has not, and that was evidenced by the warm reception we experienced today."

State Parks were established in 1916 when McCormick's Creek (Owen County) and Turkey Run (Parke County) were presented as gifts to Indiana citizens in celebration of 100 years of statehood.

At the time, state parks advocate Col. Richard Lieber said: "The chief purpose of State Parks is to refresh and strengthen and renew tired people, and fit them for the common round of daily life ... I hope and trust that the small beginning we have made will have laid the foundation for a comprehensive system of State Parks which will not only stand forever as a token of the past, but which will bring health, wealth and happiness to our own generation and the many that will come after us."

Since then, the DNR Division of State Parks has grown to 32 properties, including 24 state parks and eight U.S. Army Corps of Engineers reservoirs, as well as seven State Park inns. Together they annually attract an average of 15-16 million visitors.

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