Sycamore Land Trust

Preserving land and connecting people to nature


Sycamore Land Trust

Amy Weingartner Branigin Peninsula Preserve


Sycamore supporter Bill Oliver took our Assistant Director John Lawrence in his plane for some breathtaking views of the peninsula.

Before you visit: Parking is limited to seven spaces to prevent overcrowding, and fills up quickly on weekends and holidays. Vehicles will be turned away when the lot is full; no overflow parking or waiting area is available. We encourage you to visit at slower times such as during the week, and to enjoy our other preserves when it is likely to be busy here.

Preserve hours are 8am to 8pm daily.

The preserve will be CLOSED on Memorial Day, Monday May 28th, to give our staff a day off from monitoring the parking lot.

Thank you for understanding! 

We are thrilled to welcome you to Sycamore’s newest nature preserve, the Amy Weingartner Branigin Peninsula Preserve! This special upland habitat located in the middle of Lake Monroe adds to the largest contiguous forest block in Indiana, connecting to the beloved Brown County Hills forest and providing important habitat for raptors and other birds. Lake Monroe is designated an “Important Bird Area” by the National Audubon Society. Sycamore’s work here to protect and restore habitat will prove useful for biodiversity, clean water, and environmental education.

This nature preserve is located on the former site of the IU Alumni Association’s Shawnee Bluffs camp.

Thanks to the generosity of the Weingartner and Branigin families, this nature preserve was named in memory of Amy Weingartner Branigin. Amy was a lover of nature, especially bats, and explored caves as a kid while her father Larry Weingartner conducted his research on cave fauna. When Amy passed away in 2012 of a brain tumor, her family sought a way to memorialize her in nature. This is a fitting tribute to the life of a wonderful person.

Please help us continue important conservation projects like this. Donate today. Thank you!

County: Monroe

Features: 1.7 miles of lake frontage on Lake Monroe, the largest inland lake in the state; habitat for red-shouldered hawks, broad-winged hawks, and eastern box turtles; thick upland hardwood forest

Acquired with gifts from: The Weingartner, Branigin, Jarvis, and Seeber families; the Bicentennial Nature Trust; the Community Foundation of Bloomington and Monroe County; Loren Wood Builders; and Sycamore members

Acres: 48

Year acquired: 2015

Trail: 2.2 miles total (1.1 each way) built by the Hoosier Hikers Council and utilizing an old road. Moderately rugged and rocky.

Hiking the old road provides vast views of the forest and lake

Hiking the old road provides broad, larger-than-life views of the forest and lake.

Directions to the Amy Weingartner Branigin Peninsula Preserve

The preserve is located on Rush Ridge Road, off of State Road 446.

  • From 3rd Street in Bloomington, head south on State Road 446
  • Just before you get to the causeway and a bit after you pass the entrance to Paynetown, turn left onto Rush Ridge Rd
  • Be careful when turning left, as visibility from oncoming traffic isn’t great
  • Drive slowly through Rush Ridge Rd, taking a left at the fork
  • Pass the gated driveway and you will see a Sycamore sign next to our parking lot
  • Turn right into the parking lot
  • Do not park on the road; parking is only available in the parking lot. Please note that parking space is quite limited, with only seven spots plus one accessible spot. We encourage visitors to carpool.
  • Parking on the street, driveway, or neighbors’ properties is prohibited and could result in towing.
  • Open hours are 8am to 8pm daily.