Dilcher-Turner Canyon Forest becomes State-Designated Nature Preserve

May 27, 2020

Update: The Dilcher-Turner Canyon Forest has been renamed the Canyon Forest Nature Preserve.

Contact: Kate Hammel, Communications Director, Sycamore Land Trust

A nature preserve owned and protected by Sycamore Land Trust has become the latest natural area to earn the distinction of State-Dedicated Nature Preserve by the Indiana Department of Natural Resources.

Dilcher-Turner Canyon Forest, which was donated to Sycamore in 2013 by David and Kathy Dilcher and Rudolf Turner, encompasses 68 acres of upland forest in Greene County, Indiana. This hilly, forested property features steep canyons, a ravine, and a seasonal creek with picturesque waterfalls.

State Dedication as a Nature Preserve is the highest level of protection a natural area can receive in Indiana. In addition to Sycamore Land Trust’s own commitment to protecting and preserving the 10,030 acres in its care, the 1967 Nature Preserves Act further upholds this protection to ensure the land will never be developed or altered for anything beyond its conservation and public-use purposes. To achieve state dedication, Sycamore Land Trust developed a Master Plan with guidelines ensuring the utmost care of this special natural area.

Dilcher-Turner Canyon Forest represents a beautiful part of southern Indiana’s natural heritage. This region’s unique bedrock creates a karst topography of ravines, sinkholes, and canyons. Sycamore Land Trust is honored to be the protector and steward of this beautiful preserve, and to have its ecological significance recognized and protected by the State.

In addition to protecting the property for conservation purposes and to prevent development on the land, Sycamore has undertaken stewardship projects to remove invasive species and help native plants and wildlife thrive. Projects have included ongoing efforts to remove invasive bushes like multiflora rose and Asian bush honeysuckle.

Like Sycamore’s other State-Dedicated Nature Preserves, Dilcher-Turner Canyon Forest will remain under the permanent ownership and care of Sycamore Land Trust. These include Beanblossom Bottoms Nature Preserve, the Laura Hare Nature Preserve at Back Creek, and Trevlac Bluffs Nature Preserve. We will continue to steward this wonderful property and welcome visitors to hike its trails.

Visiting the nature preserve

Dilcher-Turner Canyon Forest is open to the public for visitation and hiking its moderately challenging, 1.6-mile trail. Parking is very limited to protect the sensitive habitat; if no spots are available, visitors must leave and come back another time. Due to the pandemic, all of Sycamore’s nature preserves have seen a marked increase in visitation. Hikers are required to follow all guidelines for social distancing and observe rules posted at nature preserves, including keeping dogs leashed at all times. Read Sycamore’s COVID rules.

About Sycamore Land Trust

Sycamore Land Trust is a nonprofit conservation organization founded in 1990, and serving southern Indiana from Morgan County south to the Ohio River. Sycamore protects land by owning and caring for nature preserves, and by holding conservation easements that protect privately owned properties. As of May 2020, Sycamore has protected 116 properties totaling 10,030 acres in southern Indiana. Stewardship of our nature preserves includes restoration projects to improve natural habitat, and building and maintaining 35 miles trails for free public use on 16 public nature preserves. Sycamore operates an Environmental Education program that connects people of all ages to nature, including more than 6,000 people in 2019. In 2019, Sycamore became an accredited land trust through the Land Trust Accreditation Commission. Accreditation acknowledges the highest level of achievement in transparency, accountability, and longevity for land trusts across North America.

Sycamore Land Trust’s work is made possible with the support of members who donate $40 or more per year, as well as grants from corporations, foundations, and government agencies.

Learn more at Photos are available upon request.