Indiana governor announces 2 new state forests

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MARTINSVILLE, Ind. (WANE) – Indiana Gov. Eric Holcomb announced the establishment of two new state forests at a ceremony Friday in Morgan County.

The new additions are Ravina State Forest and Mountain Tea State Forest.

According to the press release, Ravinia State Forest, located near Paragon, encompasses 1,500 acres of wooded rolling hills, valleys and restored cropland. The release also said the forest was acquired through the Indiana Department of Transportation’s Crossroads 2000 fund.

From left to right: Director of DNR Dan Bortner, Director of DNR Forestry Division John Seifert, Senate President Pro Temp Rod Bray, Gov. Eric J. Holcomb, and Rep. Peggy Mayfield cut the ribbon at the new Ravinia State Forest.

The area now known as Mountain Tea State Forest consists of more than 1,150 acres east of Nashville.

With these additions, Indiana’s public lands now includes 15 officially designated state forests.

“We could not be more excited to formally designate land to create these new state forests,” Gov. Holcomb said. “There’s no better way for Hoosiers to get out and get some fresh Indiana air than by exploring our state’s parks, recreation areas, fish and wildlife areas, and our 158,000 acres of public state forests.”

Recreation opportunities at the new state forests listed in the press release include wildlife viewing, hiking, hunting, and gathering wild berries, nuts, and mushrooms.

“This is the first time in 67 years that we have created new state forests,” said Dan Bortner, director of the Department of Natural Resources. “As with all our properties, we know Hoosiers and our guests will be able find solace and inspiration in these woods for generations to come.”

The press release also said the new state forests will serve as two locations for the governor’s Million Trees program, which is an initiative to plant one million trees by 2025.

“This year, our foresters have been hard at work, planting more than 16,000 new trees at Mountain Tea State Forest and 38,000 trees at Ravinia State Forest,” said John Seifert, director of the Department of Natural Resources Division of Forestry. “We look forward to completing this important five-year program.”

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