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Indiana Eco-Traveler Update: July 23, 2017

Northern Indiana nature, not wilderness; more American bison at Kankakee Sands

With only three days of travel remaining on the Northern Indiana leg of a four-year journey through natural Indiana, I’m transitioning to a more reflective view of the project, starting with some numbers.

For example, the most common rejoinder I’ve received to the notion of a guide to Northern Indiana natural areas has been, “Are there any?” Well, I could tell tales of camping at and/or exploring several locations in the book that date back more than three decades. My first camping trip ever was a Boy Scout outing at Turkey Run State Park in the 1960s. So, I’m not surprised that there will be more natural areas in this book (125 +/-) than in its Southern Indiana counterpart (119).

But, as I realized returning from a three-day venture through the Grand Prairie Natural Region last week, in Northern Indiana I’m experiencing nature, not wilderness. At 15,000 acres, the Dunes National Lakeshore is the largest refuge north of I-70; the Southern Indiana book features 11 that are bigger than the Lakeshore. The Hoosier National Forest’s 202,000 acres are more than the northern sites combined.

Read more


Finishing the Central Till and Northern Lakes, ready for the moraines

July 1 - Our brief stop at the Fox Island Nature Preserve on June 20 wrapped up the Central Till Plain explorations for the ongoing Guide to Natural Areas of Northern Indiana book project. In the past 10 months, I’ve hiked and photographed 51 nature preserves and reserves in Indiana’s largest natural region, which spans all or part of 21 counties from Terre Haute to Fort Wayne.

In June, we – granddaughter Raina and I – also explored 17 sites in the Northern Lakes Natural Region, which hugs the Michigan State Line in 10 counties from Steuben and Dekalb through St. Joseph and Fulton. We’re traveling east to west and will be hitting the rest as soon as the weather permits, clearing the way for the next phase – the Northwest Morainal Nature Region.

The 15 sites in this Natural Region lie along Indiana’s Lake Michigan shoreline in LaPorte, Porter, and Lake Counties and feature sand dunes and hills that physiographically separate the lakes from the once-great prairie that stretched from Northwest Indiana to the Mississippi River and beyond.

See the Till Plain and Northern Lakes photos here.


Nature Photo eBook - This is Indiana?

Natural Bloomington is pleased to announce release of our first Nature Photo eBook This is Indiana? - The Natural Bloomington Journey: 2013-2015.

This is Indiana? is a photographic retrospective of Natural Bloomington's first three years and features 105 hi res, full-color images of the Southern Indiana landscape from the Switzerland Hills to the Southwest Lowlands.You can download a copy of This is Indiana? for free. A $10 contribution is requested.


 

 

Natural Bloomington continues to evolve

From ecotours
to nature books

Natural Bloomington's transition from ecotourism to nature book publishing continued in 2016 with publication by IU Press in April of A Guide to Natural Areas of Southern Indiana and the signing of contracts for two more books.

Ongoing projects, which will be documented on this site, include a Northern Indiana guidebook companion to the Southern Indiana project and a coffee table book tentatively titled The Hoosier National Forest: Rewilding Southern Indiana.

We - owner Steven Higgs and family and friends who support the Natural Bloomington Mission in so many ways - will still arrange ecotours on request.

But the emphasis for the next two years will be exploriong solo what little is left of the unexpected natural beauty that is still to be found in Indiana, north and south.

A Guide to Natural Areas of Southern Indiana features anecdotes, directions and photographs of 119 natural areas between I-70 and the Ohio River. Here's what author James Alexander Thom said in the Foreword.

"In this guidebook, Steven Higgs has compiled and written a hundred times more good, useful information about my native state's natural treasures than I ever learned in eighty years of crawling, hiking, riding, swimming, and paddling all over them.”

To purchase a copy and support the Natural Bloomington mission, click here.


Mission

Natural Bloomington's mission is to celebrate and share Southern Indiana's natural beauty through image, prose and ecotourism.


Ecotourism

Through our Historic, Environmental & Scenic Ecotours, Natural Bloomington subscribes to the principles set down by the International EcoTourism Society for “responsible travel to natural areas that conserves the environment and improves the well-being of local people."

Natural Bloomington welcomes the opportunity to lead groups on ecotours during any season of the year.

Contact us for information
on our guide services.

info@NaturalBloomington

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