In the last few weeks before school starts and the hectic schedules of busy families take over, I would like to suggest one more vacation for you to take - a visit to one of the more than 7,000 state parks spread out across the United States.
State parks are an important part of our ecosystem that preserve a microcosm of the original landscape of a particular area. With about 38,000 miles of hiking trails that get roughly 720 million visitors a year, these parks boost tourism, have a positive environmental impact and go above and beyond to teach guests the importance of taking care of our natural resources.
Indiana has 28 state parks that are perfect for a day-trip, weekend getaway or extended stay camping expedition. Right here in Noble County, we have Chain O’Lakes State Park, spanning about 2,718 acres. With nine connecting lakes and 10 miles of forested trails, this park provides an ideal opportunity for boating, fishing and nature enthusiasts to enjoy some of the natural beauty of our county.
Chain O’Lakes was originally inhabited by the Mound Builders, Hopewell people and Miami Indians. European settlers who eventually occupied the area built the Stanley School House which is still in the park and is used as the nature center. The transformation of the park land is similar to much of Indiana. Through the ages it has been home to glaciers, tundra, forest and farmland.
I would like to borrow some words from Richard Lieber, the founder of the Indiana State Park System. He once said,
“This then, is the value of our public estate: That we have set aside forever a part of the original domain; That by leaving it in its natural condition we have made the past intelligible to our and to coming generations; That we have attracted visitors from other states and shown them the beauty of our own; That we have found a measure of appreciation for the good of our day and an offset in part for some of its evils; That we have strengthened citizenship and helped create the appreciation of the soil which cannot but increase our attachment to our own state and to the nation; That we have tried in our State to educate the masses of our people to look upon conservation not merely as a means of self-preservation; a practical conserving of our resources, but also as a need for the appreciation and uplift of the soul of man.”
This quote perfectly encapsulates how I feel when thinking about the splendor of Chain O’Lakes State Park and my gratitude to those who came before who had the wisdom to preserve this piece of Indiana’s natural history.
Rep. Ober represents all of Noble County and portions of Allen, Elkhart, LaGrange and Whitley counties.