Indiana’s natural lands hold numerous benefits. The wilderness is more than an empty prairie or sparse forest. It provides a place for recreation, food supply, environmental gains and economic benefits for local communities.

The wilderness is important to Hoosiers as watersheds provide clean drinking water; the land filters the air we breathe, is home to countless animals, and is a place for rest and relaxation in the form of camping, hunting, fishing, and water sports.

It is important to defend these areas by designating them as protected areas to stem the tide of over-development and its accompanying pollution and habitat destruction. Indiana’s agency for wilderness protection rests with the Department of Natural Resources (DNR). This agency seeks to preserve and protect our unique natural resources for the benefit of all Hoosiers. It’s important to keep this agency strong and efficient so Hoosiers can enjoy the freedom, solitude, and beauty of our natural landscapes.

Theodore Roosevelt, Jr. was the 26th President of the United States and was an avid outdoorsman. He enjoyed hiking, hunting, and camping, and he believed the soul was nourished by nature. He began the push to protect public lands by establishing the first national parks and drafting the Antiquities Act, allowing his presidential successors the ability further conserve natural wonders. We should continue his work and strive to properly maintain our natural resources so that future generations are able to enjoy clean, untouched wilderness.

This past session, the Indiana General Assembly adopted a bi-partisan resolution urging the study of the feasibility and necessity of a wilderness preservation system for Indiana’s public lands. Nearly 400,000 acres are owned by Hoosiers, and it is important these lands are protected. There are key questions that would be answered by such a study, such as how lands will be managed; how much land should be set aside and left in its natural state; and what sort of methods will be used for management.

Visit some of Indiana’s unique locations and then visit DNR’s website at http://www.in.gov/dnr/. Should any changes be offered, DNR offers the public a chance to weigh in. The website is also the portal for hunting and fishing licenses along with a central site for location information.

Sen. Young represents Senate District 47 which encompasses portions of Crawford, Dubois, Harrison, Orange, Perry and Washington counties. For more information on Sen. Young, his legislative agenda or other State Senate business, call 1-800-382-9467 or visit www.IN.gov/s47.

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