Sycamore and US Forest Service ad 14 acres to Hoosier National Forest

April 22, 2018
contact: Abby Henkel, Communications Director, Sycamore Land Trust, 812-336-5382 ext. 101

A view of the parcel in winter. Photo by Ron Scott

In a collaborative effort, Sycamore Land Trust and the United States Forest Service recently added 14 acres in Monroe County to the expansive Hoosier National Forest (HNF). Fourteen acres might seem like a drop in the bucket when considering the entire HNF covers more than 204,000 acres. But this hilly parcel of hardwood forest located near the HNF’s Hardin Ridge Recreation Area offers important wildlife habitat, improves public access to the Monroe Lake shoreline and enhances watershed protection.

“This parcel is completely surrounded by Hoosier National Forest and Lake Monroe,” said John Lawrence, Assistant Director for Sycamore Land Trust. “It has a steep slope right on the lake, and good-quality forest, too. It obviously should be part of the Hoosier, and Sycamore is glad we could help make that happen.”

Sycamore acquired the parcel in 2016 after keeping an eye on its availability for several years, then acting quickly to purchase it when it became available through a tax sale. Staff at Sycamore worked with the Forest Service to complete the deal that covered Sycamore’s costs and ensured permanent protection for the property.

According to Mike Chaveas, Forest Supervisor of the HNF, “Effective partnership efforts like this are critical to the Forest Service mission and a great public service in helping to conserve lands on behalf of all American people. Quite simply, this land would not be part of the Hoosier today without the willingness of Sycamore Land Trust to purchase the property and then wait for us to secure funding from the federal Land and Water Conservation Fund.”

About Sycamore Land Trust: Founded in 1990, Sycamore Land Trust protects land and connects people to nature in 26 counties in southern Indiana. The organization protects and actively stewards 9,320 acres (and growing) of forests, wetlands, native prairies, and critical habitat for threatened and endangered species. Sycamore maintains 16 public nature preserves for hiking, bird watching, and general enjoyment of nature, and provides an environmental education program that connects more than 5,000 people of all ages each year to southern Indiana’s natural world through guided hikes, field trips, and other hands-on activities. Sycamore’s work is made possible by more than 1,200 members.

About the United States Forest Service: The U.S. Forest Service manages 193 million acres of public land, provides assistance to state and private landowners, and maintains the largest forestry research organization in the world. Public lands the Forest Service manages contribute more than $13 billion to the economy each year through visitor spending alone. Those same lands provide 20 percent of the nation’s clean water supply, a value estimated at $7.2 billion per year. The agency has either a direct or indirect role in stewardship of about 80 percent of the 850 million forested acres within the U.S., of which 100 million acres are urban forests where most Americans live. For more information, visit