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Indiana State Parks

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USA Parks
Southern Region
Martin County State Forest
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Halbert Township, Indiana   47581
(lat:38.7001 lon:-86.7556) map location
The Martin County State Forest, located in Indiana, is a serene and picturesque natural sanctuary that offers a diverse range of outdoor activities and abundant beauty. Encompassing over 7,000 acres of pristine forestland, this haven captivates visitors with its towering trees, winding trails, and tranquil streams. The forest serves as a peaceful refuge for hikers, nature enthusiasts, and hunters alike, providing an opportunity to immerse oneself in the stunning landscapes and observe the local wildlife. Its rich biodiversity fosters an ecological balance, ensuring the preservation of rare plant species and a habitat for numerous animals. With its impeccable natural beauty and recreational opportunities, the Martin County State Forest holds the potential for endless adventures and a profound connection with nature.
Nature of the Area
Martin County State Forest is a diverse and expansive natural area, known for its breathtaking and idyllic landscape. Nestled among rolling hills, serene marshes, and meandering creeks, the forest encompasses a wide range of ecosystems, offering visitors a unique and immersive experience in nature. With its vast stretch of deciduous woodlands, towering old-growth trees, and vibrant wildflowers, the forest provides a habitat for numerous plant and animal species, fostering biodiversity and ecological balance. As visitors explore its extensive trail system, they can encounter tranquil lakes, hidden waterfalls, and stunning vistas, all while immersing themselves in the peaceful ambiance of this remarkable state forest. Whether seeking solitude, adventurous hikes, or scenic picnics, Martin County State Forest truly delights nature enthusiasts with its breathtaking charm and inherent beauty.
History of the Area
The Martin County State Forest is located in southern Indiana, specifically in Martin County. It was originally known as the "Martin County Nursery" and was established in 1925 by the State of Indiana.

The primary purpose behind the establishment of the nursery was to provide a continuous supply of seedlings for reforestation efforts throughout the state. The nursery initially covered an area of 275 acres and was mainly focused on raising hardwood seedlings.

In the early years, the nursery faced financial struggles due to a lack of funding and other various challenges. However, it continued to function and gradually expanded its operations. In the 1930s, the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) played a significant role in the development and expansion of the nursery.

During this period, the nursery's mission expanded beyond solely producing seedlings. The CCC constructed many of the forest's buildings and facilities, including the superintendent's residence, office, and nursery barns. They also engaged in maintenance work, such as building fences, planting trees, and constructing fish-rearing ponds.

In the following decades, the nursery underwent several changes. In 1952, it was renamed the "Martin State Forest" and soon began to focus on timber production and recreational activities. By the 1960s, the forest covered an area of around 3,500 acres.

The Martin County State Forest continued to grow and provide various recreational opportunities for visitors. Today, it encompasses approximately 7,000 acres of land, including its nursery. Visitors can enjoy activities such as hiking, hunting, fishing, camping, birdwatching, and more.

Furthermore, the forest continues to maintain its reforestation efforts, producing and distributing millions of seedlings annually to promote forest regeneration throughout Indiana. It has become an important resource for Indiana's forestry industry, wildlife habitat preservation, and outdoor recreation.
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1. Starting from Indianapolis, head south on I-65 and take exit 99B to merge onto IN-37 S toward Martinsville.
2. Continue on IN-37 S for approximately 62 miles until you reach the town of Paoli.
3. In Paoli, turn left onto US-150 E/E Main St, and continue to follow US-150 E for about 11 miles.
4. After 11 miles, turn right onto IN-56 E and drive for approximately 19 miles.
5. You will then reach the entrance of the Martin County State Forest, which will be on your left.

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Indiana State Parks