Sycamore Land Trust

Sycamore Protects 600 Acres of Brown County Hills

January 29, 2013 – Sycamore Land Trust has purchased 600 acres of rugged Brown County woods east of Nashville. In addition to preserving another piece of Brown County natural heritage, the property is important for conservation because of both its size and location.

Fall colors on the hillsides at The Laura Hare Nature Preserve at Downey Hill. Photo by Jeff Danielson.

Nearly one square mile in size, The Laura Hare Nature Preserve at Downey Hill is near Brown County State Park, as well as Gnawbone Camp, which is protected as a permanent conservation easement held by the state. Thus, the newly-protected Laura Hare Nature Preserve at Downey Hill property helps create a block of nearly 18,000 acres of contiguous forest habitat.

In the mid-1980’s, the Downey Hill property was nearly sold in parcels as a large subdivision. Instead, a group of investors purchased it, and it remained essentially untouched. When they were ready to part with the land, they saw value in preserving the woods they had long enjoyed for recreation, and chose to work with Sycamore Land Trust to achieve their objectives.

Thanks to a generous bargain sale by the owners, as well as a grant from the Laura Hare Charitable Trust, Sycamore was able to protect this large piece of rugged Brown County hills forever. “Brown County is a beautiful, unique place – personally my favorite place in Indiana,” said Sycamore Executive Director Christian Freitag. “This project is one of our biggest ever and helps protect the rugged natural habitat that so many critters need and people enjoy.”

A snowy scene at The Laura Hare Nature Preserve at Downey Hill. By John Lawrence.