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Try Social Distancing in Indiana’s Nature Preserves

A letter from the Central Indiana Land Trust’s Executive Director, Cliff Chapman, recently published in the IndyStar:

“As I’ve worked from home the last six weeks, I’ve noticed my neighbors outside more than ever. At the same time, I’ve heard that some state park trails have had to close because they’re too packed to allow for social distancing. It’s clear: Hoosiers are craving the outdoors after being cooped up for so long.

What many Hoosiers don’t realize is that nature preserves owned by Indiana land trusts and the Department of Natural Resources Division of Nature Preserves offer them a wide range of outdoor experiences.

Granted, trails at preserves generally are not as wide or well-maintained as at state parks, and these days you might find trees over paths since the staff and/or volunteers who maintain them are honoring stay-at-home orders.

But that’s OK, because these places often are set aside more for their unique natural features than for the sake of visitation. Some preserves don’t even have trails — just places to pull off the road and explore — but Hoosiers seeking nature with plenty of social distancing will find them to be perfect.

And they don’t require extensive travel. Virtually everyone in Indiana lives close to a nature preserve. To find one near you, go to the website of the Indiana Land Protection Alliance,, which represents the state’s many nonprofit land trusts.

So, go immerse yourself in a nature preserve. It won’t have paved trails, and maybe not even a cell signal, and — let’s be honest — that might be exactly why you want to go.”

Cliff Chapman
Central Indiana Land Trust Executive Director
IndyStar, Published 6:00 a.m. ET May 3, 2020