The state of Indiana itself is something we're passionate about, but the land, animals and natural beauty will always captivate us. We decided to partner with the Indiana Natural Resources Foundation to create a pints for parks series. Each new brew is named for one park, and a portion of sales goes directly to the DNR Division of State Parks.
Park History - McCormick's Creek became the first start park in Indiana and was dedicated in 1916 during the State's centennial celebration. The park is named after John McCormick, who served in the revolutionary war and settled the 100 acres of land in 1816, the same year Indiana became a state. Prior to the settlement, this beautiful land along the canyon and waterfalls was used for hunting by Miami Native Americans.
Park Geology - McCormick's Creek is well known for its amazing canyon on which is a mile long, 100 feet deep and displays spectacular views of Indiana limestone. This limestone was deposited around 318 million years ago during the Mississippian geologic period and was used in the construction of Indiana's historical state capitol. At one point, this area was covered by ice masses which left the geological patterns that we see today.
Park History - Indiana's second oldest park is the beautiful Turkey Run State Park located in west central Indiana. The name "Turkey Run" is believed to have used by early pioneers who utilized the canyons and narrow ravines to corral and harvest the abundant wild turkeys that inhabited the area. Captain Salmon Lusk originally owned a tract of this land which he was awarded for his military service. His son, John, later inherited the property and allowed the ID&S Railroad to establish a summer resort there in 1882. The resort remained in operation until John Lusk's death in 1915. Indiana purchased the property in 1916 for $40,200 in mostly private donations.
Park Geology - The park covers almost 2,400 acres of pristine streams, forests and unique terrain that contain lots of interesting geological features. Sandstone gorges revealing bedrock millions of years old can be seen along the many trails. Ancient glaciers created the scoured canyons and deposited Canadian bedrock and debris that were transported here by the ice flow. Coal mining operations that once operated in the area exposed coal seams that formed during the Carboniferous Period hundreds of millions of years ago.
Park History - Clifty Falls became Indiana's third state park in 1920 and the original 617 acre parcel was purchased for $30,000. The citizens of Jefferson County raised half of the purchase price, and the state provided the other half. The park was created to honor those lost in World War I. In 1965, the park nearly doubled in size with a donation of land from the Madison State Hospital, and today the park spans over 1500 acres. There are 10 trails that span over 14 miles and range from easy to very rugged. The park is of course known for its waterfalls, four of which are named, but there are numerous others throughout the park. Tunnel Falls is the tallest waterfall in the park at 83 feet, and was named due its proximity to an old railroad tunnel. This 600 foot long tunnel was excavated between 1852 - 1854 and was set to be part of the Madison Indianapolis Railroad, however the project went bankrupt and now the tunnel serves as an overwintering site for bats.
Park Geology - The limestone and shale walls that form Clifty Canyon were caved back when glacial meltwater drained south toward the Ohio River. The canyon ranges from 120 - 300 feet in depth. The park's 425 million year old shale and limestone rock contain numerous marine fossils and are among the oldest bedrock exposures in Indiana. Clifty Creek's stony bed contains many fossils including corals, squids, brachiopods and more. The ruggedness of Clifty Canyon offers exciting hiking opportunities and scenery year round, however the best time to see the water falls is in the winter and spring.
About the Park - In the early 1900s, scientists, recreationists and nature enthusiasts, recognizing the value of the Indiana Dunes, fought to have the region preserved. As a result, in 1925, the Indiana Dunes State Park was established. Nearly 40 years later the Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore was created making a unique situation of a State Park within a National Park.
With Lake Michigan as its northern border and a history of glacial advance and melting, a varied shoreline of giant wandering dunes, foredunes, pine-covered ridges, blowouts, marshes, swamps, bogs, forests, and oak savannas were created, ranking the Indiana Dunes more diverse than the State of Hawaii. These habitats provided homes for many types of plants and animals, from endangered orchids to over 350 species of birds being sighted within the park. In fact, the Indiana Dunes are considered to be the birthplace of succession. Ecological succession is the change in species composition over space and time. Professor Henry Chandler Cowles was one of the first researchers to understand succession and coin the term. He studied the changing environments around the Indiana sand dunes including the Indiana Dunes State Park. During his research he looked at how more species present farther away from Lake Michigan compared to closer to the beach. The wind and waves disturb the beach so as you go further from the beach, more plants are able to grow which therefore allows more animals to thrive. This created a gradient of different habitats that can be seen at the Indiana Dunes State Park today.
There are 7 trails totaling more than 16 miles that range from easy to rugged. A 1.5 mile hike loop covering the 3 tallest dunes along the Southern shore of Lake Michigan, called the 3-Dune Challenge, will give you breathtaking views at the top of each dune.
About the Park - The story of Pokagon State Park begins over 10,000 years ago, at the end of the last Ice Age. Glaciers that had once covered the northern half of Indiana began to melt and recede. All of that melting water and movement left behind some unique geological features we can see today throughout Pokagon. Lake James, Snow Lake, and Lake Lonidaw are all kettle lakes, formed when huge pieces of ice fell off the glacier and left a depression in the ground. Hell's Point, the highest peak in the park and the toboggan hill are glacial kames, formed at the bottom of a rushing waterfall inside the glacier. Pokagon's rolling topography and proximity to lakes made it an ideal place for a State Park.
The citizens of Steuben County thought so too when they worked to turn what was once farmland into Indiana's 5th State Park. In 1925, the people here donated the land and funds for the original acreage of the park and then gave that land to the State of Indiana as a Christmas gift in 1925. For the first two years, this land was known as Lake James State Park, but was renamed Pokagon State park in 1927.
Richard Lieber, who is known as the father of Indiana State Parks, along with local residents, wanted to honor the Potawatomi people who once inhabited this area. One of these local residents had heard chief Simon Pokagon speak in downtown Angola. Simon Pokagon was a renowned writer and speaker, who fought for fair treatment for the Pokagon band of Potawatomi. It was decided Pokagon would be a fitting name for this park.
During the early 1930's much of the property still looked like open farm land. In order to help turn the rest of the property into a functioning park, a Civilian Conservation Corps was stationed here in 1934. The CCC was a program created by President Roosevelt during the Great Depression as part of his New Deal. This program put young men, ages 18-25, to work all across the country planting trees, building roads and dams, and helping to create state and national parks.
One of the CCC structures is probably what Pokagon is more known for-the toboggan run! The original toboggan run was built by the CCC in 1935. It was not intended to be open to the public; it was just something fun for the boys to do in the winter. By 1938, the park manager at the time decided it would be a great attraction and opened to the public. The toboggan run has seen many changes throughout the years - taller towers, a second track and refrigerated tracks in the 1970's. Today it runs from the Friday after Thanksgiving to the last weekend in February.
About the History - In 1814, the first recorded pioneer arrived in the valley of what is now known as Pioneer Village at Spring Mill. Long before this, Native American groups such as the Piankashaw and the Shawnee tribes were in the area. In 1865, George Donaldson purchases a tract of forest, and preserved it, giving us old growth forest, a National Natural Landmark. Spring Mill was established in 1927. The Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) played a role in the repair of the village and other park projects. The Pioneer Village, with its massive water-powered grist mill, 20 historic buildings, and interpreters, is a unique chance to step back in time. Gus Grissom, born and raised here in Mitchell and one of the Mercury 7 astronauts is honored here with a unique Memorial that has the Gemini 3 space capsule and so much more.
Park Geology - Caves in Indiana? Spring Mill lies in the heart of Southern Indiana and it's limestone bedrock. Limestone is calcium carbonate, a basic mineral and the opposite of acidic. The rock is very porous, allowing water to percolate through. This slightly acidic water dissolves and limestone over time and large passageways are formed. Spring Mill is a karst landscape with sinkholes, underground streams, and caves, giving us 454 acres of a nature preserve called Mitchell Karst Plain. This is one of the largest tracks of undisturbed sinkhole plains in Indiana. The caves here are why a grist mill and pioneer village were formed in the 1800's, giving settlers the spring water to keep their grist mill running year round. The springs from three of our caves feed Spring Mill Lake. In the summer, you can take a boat tour through upper Twin Cave.
Brown County State Park is the largest park in the Hoosier State. Formed in 1929, this park has hosted millions of visitors over its 16,000 acres over the years. The hills of Brown County are visually striking, with foggy vistas and fall colors wowing Hoosiers and guests alike.
In addition to natural beauty, Brown County has a rich cultural history. The nearby town of Nashville was originally formed as an artists’ colony. Famous artists including T.C. Steele and William Zimmerman associated with the community over the years. The park also hosted Civilian Conservation Corps Companies 1557 and 1561, who planted trees and built much of the park infrastructure used today.
Shakamak State Park is a product of southwestern Indiana’s coal mining history and the vision of local community leaders. In the early 1900’s, coal mining was the main industry in Green, Sullivan and Clay counties. The Golden Knob and Bladder’s mines built a railroad switch through the Busseron Creek watershed, creating a lake. Local people saw the need to restore the nearby abandoned mines to provide outdoor recreation, so the three counties donated the land that became Indiana’s seventh state park. It was originally called Tri-County Park, but was renamed “Shakamak” in 1929 meaning “river of long fish.” This name honors the Kickapoo and other Indigenous people whose homelands included the site.
In the 1930s, Civilian Conservation Corps company 522 built a group camp, cabins, campsites, swimming area, hiking paths, and many of the other structures still in use today. They even added two additional lakes, Kickapoo and Lenape. With over 1770 acres of land and 680 acres of water and a rich history, Shakamak is a recreation lovers paradise offering a wide variety of outdoor experiences.
Mounds State Park in Anderson, Indiana is 290 acres of history, natural beauty, and recreation. As its name suggests, this park contains and preserves some of the finest examples of Native American mounds, also called earthworks, in the state of Indiana. Built by Native American people of the cultural groups Adena and Hopewell, from approximately 250BC to 50AD, these earthworks stand as a testament to early astronomy, architecture, and engineering of the peoples who lived on the land for well over 17,000 years – and who are still around today. The park showcases a more recent history too with some of the earliest European settlers in Madison County, with the 1850s Bronnenberg Homestead. Natural history is also on display at Mounds State Park which has terrain shaped by glacial meltwater, seeps and springs that feed a biologically sensitive wetland called a fen and is bordered by the beautiful White River. Visitors can enjoy the six hiking trails while soaking in the natural and historical wonders of Mounds State Park.