Duke Energy Foundation awards Sycamore grant for trail accessibility

December 14, 2018
Contact: Abby Henkel, Communications Director,

The Duke Energy Foundation has awarded Sycamore Land Trust a grant of $27,500 to help make the trail at Beanblossom Bottoms Nature Preserve more accessible to visitors of all abilities.

Beanblossom Bottoms, located in Monroe County, IN, is a 620-acre wetland and a particular focus of Sycamore’s conservation and stewardship work. The preserve is home to at least 20 endangered and protected species, and has been recognized as a State Important Bird Area from the National Audubon Society, a Wetland of Distinction from the Society of Wetland Scientists, and an Indiana State Nature Preserve by the Indiana Department of Natural Resources.

It is also a beloved nature preserve for hikers, birders, wildlife enthusiasts, and nature lovers of all backgrounds. With a 1.5-mile elevated boardwalk trail, perhaps the longest in the state, Beanblossom Bottoms gives visitors an insight into a swampy wetland preserve that would be otherwise difficult to visit and hike through. After ten years of heavy use, Sycamore made the decision to replace the most used portion of the wooden boardwalk trail to make it easier for all visitors to enjoy. The new boardwalk design features slip-resistant plastic decking, and wide turnaround areas are being added along the trail.

The project is scheduled to be completed this winter. Challenging working conditions have not stopped the hardworking crew from trudging through mud and muck, braving rain and ice and mosquitoes, to build this wonderful new trail.

Funding from the Duke Energy Foundation will enable Sycamore to improve the gravel trail at the entrance with finer, compacted gravel to provide a firm, stable tread surface, and also to replace the wooden boardwalk from the parking lot to the gravel trail with the new slip-resistant plastic decking.

“The Duke Energy Foundation is proud to continue support of the conservation efforts of Sycamore Land Trust through this grant,” said Duke Energy’s Community Relations Manager Bruce Calloway. “Improving and providing access will allow for many to enjoy the benefits of this nature preserve.”

Thanks to a grant from the Nina Mason Pulliam Charitable Trust and with substantial labor support from Loren Wood Builders, Sycamore began tearing out the old wood boardwalk in July 2018. In the fall, the dedicated crew of workers from Sycamore and Loren Wood Builders began rebuilding the trail with the slip-resistant, water-proof plastic decking material.

Updates on the boardwalk project can be found on Sycamore’s Instagram and Facebook pages, and by signing up for Sycamore’s e-news. A date for the trail reopening is not yet set, but will be announced through these channels and at

The Duke Energy Foundation provides philanthropic support to address the needs of the communities where its customers live and work. The foundation provides more than $30 million annually in charitable gifts. The foundation’s education focus spans kindergarten to career, particularly science, technology, engineering and math (STEM), early childhood literacy and workforce development. It also supports the environment and community impact initiatives, including arts and culture.