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Five nature preserves to visit in Indianapolis 

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Indiana’s system of Nature Preserves was established in 1967 to provide permanent protection for significant natural areas within the state. Nature preserves are living museums of natural resources serving as records for scientific study and historical heritage, according to the Indiana Department of Natural Resources. There are more than 290 Nature preserves dedicated under state law. The Recorder has garnered a list of five preserves to visit around Indianapolis. 

Eagle’s Crest Nature Preserve

Eagle’s Crest Nature Preserve is located at one of the nation’s largest city parks, Eagle Creek. 

It can be accessed by a remote parking area located at 8638 Wilson Road. The trail is 1.7 miles long and rates as moderate-difficult. The Eagle’s Crest Nature Preserve contains old-growth forest of red oak, sugar maple, beech, white oak, shagbark hickory and ash trees. The shoreline along the preserve’s east side is a great area to observe birdlife. 

“The thoughtful preservation of these ancient forest areas allows the visitor a rare glimpse into the past to see the landscape much as it appeared to the native Americans before European settlers arrived,” the Hoosier Hike Council said on their website. 

Lawrence Creek Nature Preserve 

Located in Fort Harrison State Park, the Lawrence Creek Nature Preserve contains heavily dissected slopes and ravine forests along Lawrence Creek. The site is utilized as nesting habitat for migrant birds, including Hooded warbler, Brown Creep, Ovenbird, Acadian flycatcher and Kentucky warbler. Follow Park signs from the entrance to Lawrence Creek or Walnut trailhead parking areas. Both trails go through the preserve. 

Fort Harrison State Park is located at 5753 Glenn Road. 

Marott Park Woods Nature Preserve 

The Marott Park Woods Nature Preserve encompasses most of Marott Park. It is composed of old second-growth mixed trees, floodplain forest and successional fields along Williams Creek and the White River. The park land was given to the City of Indianapolis by the Marott family to be used as a natural area. Ongoing restoration has included removal of invasive species, like honeysuckle and garlic mustard. During the spring, several types of wildflowers can be spotted at the preserve. 

The Marott Park Preserve is located at 1610 Broad Ripple Ave. 

Spring Pond Nature Preserve 

The Spring Pond Nature Preserve is located on the east side of Eagle Creek Park. Enter through the park’s 56th street entrance, turn right onto Eagle Creek Parkway East Drive, then take the first gravel pull-off on the right. The area is dominated by a wet forest of sugar maple, sycamore, ash trees and more. The preserve’s trees represent the type of trees that once covered the large flat area known as the Tipton Till Plain. 

Eagle Creek Park is located at 7840 W. 56th St.

Warbler Woods Nature Preserve 

The Warbler Woods Nature Preserve is utilized as a nesting habitat by migrant birds and is located in Fort Harrison State Park. The preserve contains gentle slopes and floodplain forests. The preserve offers two dog-friendly walking trails. The Fall Creek Trail of the Harrison Trace Trail walks directly through the preserve.  

Fort Harrison State Park is located at 5753 Glenn Road. 

Contact staff writer Jayden Kennett at 317-762-7847. Follow her on Twitter @JournoJay.

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