Guilford Township, Hendricks County, Indiana
New nature park planned south of I-70 in Hendricks: County will develop site owned by Airport Authority
By Bruce C. Smith
Posted: June 25, 2009
A new 210-acre nature park is planned to open in two years on land in Hendricks County owned by the Indianapolis Airport Authority.
After months of discussions about a park in a mostly rural area between Plainfield and Mooresville, the Airport Authority board agreed last week to a long-term agreement with Hendricks County Parks and Recreation.
"We expect to establish five miles of hiking trails, a fishing pier, a wildlife viewing platform, picnic areas, and interpretive signage that will be used to educate park visitors on ecologically significant elements of the area," county parks Superintendent William Roche said in an airport news release.
"The park will also be the site of nature programs conducted throughout the year," he said.
The agreement will authorize the county parks department to establish, operate and maintain a nature park, which will be the county's first recreational area in the eastern side of the county.
The county has one other recreational area, McCloud Nature Park in the far western side of the county along Big Walnut Creek.
The new park on airport land will be in Guilford Township south of I-70. The site is south of County Road 750 South and west of County Road 975 East.
The area includes a 51/2-acre pond fed by Hendricks Creek. A number of small streams meander through the area, which is predominantly woodlands and reforested areas, and open grasslands and fields.
The airport board acquired much of the land south of I-70 over many years in noise and wildlife mitigation programs. Homes were purchased from residents bothered by airport noise. And some of the land was bought to replace wildlife areas, particularly the Indiana bat habitat, destroyed by other expansions and construction at the airport north of the interstate.
The unnamed park is part of the 2,000-plus acres that the Airport Authority operates as part of its Habitat Conservation Plan under a permit from the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service to ensure protection of the habitat for the federally endangered Indiana bat, according to airport officials.
The small creatures have been found to nest in some trees and use it for raising young, so the park will be managed to preserve that habitat.