The Central Indiana Land Trust has purchased 25 acres of land to add to the Mossy Point Nature Preserve in Parke County. Shown here is a rocky hollow in the preserve. Photo provided by Jen Thomas
The Central Indiana Land Trust has purchased 25 acres of land to add to the Mossy Point Nature Preserve in Parke County. Shown here is a rocky hollow in the preserve. Photo provided by Jen Thomas
The Central Indiana Land Trust has purchased 25 acres of land to add to the Mossy Point Nature Preserve in Parke County.

The newly purchased property also adjoins CILTI’s 191-acre Mossy Point Nature Preserve; DNR’s Covered Bridge Retreat property; and Wabash College’s state-dedicated nature preserve Allee Woods, creating an approximately 700-acre swath of contiguous protected property.

“This is the most beautiful place we’ve ever protected,” Central Indiana Land Trust Executive Director Cliff Chapman said in a news release. “The terrain, the vegetation, the wildlife … it’s just a breathtaking display of natural Indiana. It’s like a small, unspoiled Turkey Run.”

Located along Sugar Creek, the new Mossy Point acreage includes a sandstone canyon, a rocky creek bed and unspoiled wooded areas with tree species including white oak and shagbark hickory. Craggy landscapes extending down to Sugar Creek host Ice Age remnant stands of Eastern hemlock, and shady areas give space to unusual plants such as wintergreen and partridgeberry.

“This is an iconic landscape that was not able to be shared until now," Chapman said. “The property connects two nature preserves. It is keystone to the larger area for plants, animals and for people to enjoy.”

The new acreage also represents the quickest transaction the organization has ever closed. 

Owners, and longtime Land Trust members, Cliff and Dixie Kunze had already put “For Sale” signs on the land when the Land Trust heard it was on the market. Four weeks after initial conversations, the deal was closed.

The Land Trust raised $191,000 to purchase the 25 acres and build a trail and four-spot gravel parking area that will be opened to the public by fall 2019. Funding for the project came from the state of Indiana’s President Benjamin Harrison Conservation Trust, The Nature Conservancy, Steve and Catherine Simon, Efroymson Family Fund and members of the Central Indiana Land Trust.  

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