Heritage Trust--which has successfully funded conservation protections on
nearly 62,000 acres over the past two decades--is getting a name change, the
Indiana Department of Natural Resources is announcing.
the Indiana Heritage Trust (IHT) will be renamed the President Benjamin
Harrison Conservation Trust Fund under a law passed earlier this year by the
“It’s a fitting
tribute to someone whose conservation legacy is often overlooked,” DNR
Director Cameron Clark said. “Although he served only one term as president,
Benjamin Harrison not only took action but also set in motion what followed
under the more recognized leadership of Theodore Roosevelt and others. This
newly named initiative is designed to build on IHT’s achievements and more
recently through the Bicentennial Nature Trust that has added another more
than 10,000 acres to public places for Hoosiers get outside and enjoy
IHT was established
in 1992 to acquire and protect lands that represent outstanding natural
resources and habitats, or have recreational, historical or archaeological
significance. “IHT’s leadership in land conservation has helped the state
and its partners invest $49.5 million to acquire 440 sites totaling 61,793
acres, an average of $802 per acre,” the DNR said.
contributions to land conservation spanned his time as a U.S. Senator from
Indiana and as U.S. President from 1889-93. In 1882, then-Sen. Harrison
introduced a bill to preserve land along the Colorado River. Although the
bill did not pass, the idea led to establishment of Grand Canyon National
Park in 1919.
After being elected
President, Harrison pushed Congress to pass legislation that changed
management of western forestlands. He then used the law 17 times to set
aside 22 million acres in California, Colorado, New Mexico, Oregon,
Washington, and the Alaska and Arizona territories that eventually became
national forests. It also was the basis for creation of the Indiana Division
of Forestry in 1903.
three national parks (Sequoia, Yosemite, and General Grant) and approved
federal protection for prehistoric Indian ruins at Casa Grande, Ariz., which
are now a national monument managed by the National Park Service.
Fort Harrison State
Park on the northeast side of Indianapolis is named in his honor.
establishing the Harrison Conservation Trust was passed unanimously by the
General Assembly and signed by Gov. Mike Pence on March 23.
In addition to the
name change, the Harrison Conservation Trust streamlines the review and
recommendation process used for the selection of projects to be funded. It
also changes the makeup of the project committee and adjusts criteria for
the 10 governor appointees to represent five geographic regions and come
from one or more of the following communities: environmental, land trust,
organized hunting and fishing, forest products, and parks and recreation.
Directors from the
DNR divisions of Fish & Wildlife, Forestry, Nature Preserves, Outdoor
Recreation, and State Parks, and the chief executive officer of the Indiana
State Museum & Historic Sites will be part of the project committee. Four
members of the General Assembly will be non-voting participants.
Funding for the
Harrison Conservation Trust remains the same as with IHT: revenue from
Environmental License Plate sales, General Assembly appropriations, and
additional donations from patrons.