CLARK STATE FOREST
Clark State Forest, established in 1903, is the oldest state forest in Indiana. The original appropriations to purchase a 2,000 acre tract took place during the administration of Governor Winfield Durbin. In the ensuing 96 years, additional acquisitions have increased this area to the present 24,000 acres. Much of this land was originally part of Clark's Grant, lands provided by a clause in the Virginia Cession of Claims to the Northwest Territory on December 20, 1783.
Clark State Forest, located in southern Indiana, has a rich history that dates back to the 1800s. Here is a brief overview of its historical background:
1. Early Settlement and Land Acquisition:.
The land that is now Clark State Forest was originally inhabited by various Native American tribes, including the Miami, Potawatomi, and Delaware. In the early 1800s, European settlers began to arrive in the area. In 1805, the U.S. government acquired the land through the Treaty of Grouseland with the Native American tribes.
2. Clark State Forest Creation:.
Clark State Forest was established in 1903, making it the oldest state forest in Indiana. It was named after General George Rogers Clark, a key figure in the American Revolutionary War who played a significant role in the Northwest Territory, which includes present-day Indiana.
3. Great Depression and Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC):.
During the Great Depression in the 1930s, President Franklin D. Roosevelt implemented the New Deal programs to provide employment and address the economic crisis. As part of the New Deal, the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) was established to engage young unemployed men in conservation work. The CCC played a crucial role in shaping Clark State Forest. They constructed roads, trails, fire towers, and buildings, planted trees, and managed wildlife. Many of the structures they built are still in use today.
4. Management and Expansion:.
The Indiana Department of Natural Resources has managed Clark State Forest to balance the conservation of natural resources with recreational opportunities. The forest has expanded through land acquisitions, reaching its current size of over 24,000 acres. It is now managed for multiple purposes, including timber production, wildlife management, recreation, and educational activities.
5. Recreation and Education:.
Clark State Forest is a popular destination for outdoor activities such as hiking, picnicking, camping, horseback riding, and hunting. It features numerous trails, campsites, and picnic areas for visitors to enjoy. The forest also has educational programs and events that focus on environmental education, forestry, and wildlife conservation.
Clark State Forest continues to be an important natural resource and recreational area, providing a connection to Indiana's history and offering opportunities for people to appreciate and enjoy the beauty of the natural environment.
Picnic Shelters, #8
Mountain Bike Trails, miles5
Bridle Trails, miles100
Horsemen Campsites, #26
Primitive(class C) camping is available for a fee. Self check-in stations are located at the entrance to each campground. Sites have pit toilets and seasonal drinking water available. There is a picnic table and grill located on each of the campground's 45 sites. The Horseman's Campground offers 26 Class C sites for those visitors who are camping with horses. A dump station is available.