New nature reserve protects history of White River and Indiana – Muncie Journal

By Kelley V Phillips—

Muncie, IN — Muncie-based Red-tail Land Conservancy, located at 125 E. Charles St., Suite 200, Muncie, has announced the creation of Hidden Canal Nature Preserve, a 50-acre forest in Anderson, IN. Located on the White River across from Mounds State Park, this reserve creates a protected corridor along the river for local and migratory wildlife. It also preserves the remains of an important historic canal from disturbance caused by the growing urban environment. Now owned by Red-tail Land Conservancy, this precious habitat and the history of the canal it contains are permanently protected from future development.

The Hidden Canal Nature Reserve is home to many types of wildlife such as woodpeckers, great blue herons, deer, turkeys and river otters. With the protection of this land, animals will not need to cross neighborhoods and urban areas to seek food and shelter where they can potentially have harmful interactions with humans and roads. It also creates a safe passage protected from man-made structures for migrating birds and fish.

Within the nature reserve is a remnant of the hydraulic canal which was built in the 1870s. The canal has been uniquely designed using a natural ridge that borders the property. Although initially a promising design that would revolutionize Anderson’s flour milling industry, construction failed before the canal was ever used. Even heavily eroded, the central channel of the canal is still visible in the reserve. Madison County Historian Steve Jackson said: “With the creation of the Hidden Canal Nature Preserve, a very unique piece of Madison County history has been protected for generations, present and future. , to visit and enjoy. “

The Hidden Canal Nature Reserve was partly donated by landowners and secured through donations from individuals. Mounds Greenway’s efforts to raise awareness of the importance of protecting a free-flowing White River have been critical to the project. Red-tail Executive Director Julie Borgmann said, “People care deeply about the White River and Anderson’s natural heritage. We are grateful to our partners and the generous individuals who share our vision of protecting the natural beauty of this river corridor. They are the heroes of the habitat.

Before the reserve is opened to the public, it will undergo an extensive environmental restoration process to eliminate invasive plant species like the bush honeysuckle. Complete restoration of the forest can take several years. Eventually, the Hidden Canal Nature Reserve will be accessible to the public with hiking trails, wildlife viewing areas and educational signs.

“The White River has supported wildlife and people for millennia in this region,” Borgmann said. “We must protect and restore the natural lands along the river to preserve this irreplaceable resource. “

More information on the history, ecology and restoration plans of the Hidden Canal Nature Reserve can be found at While this reserve is being restored, Red-tail invites visitors to explore their 10 public nature reserves located in east-central Indiana.

About Red-tail Land Conservancy

Red-tail Land Conservancy is a 501 (c) 3 non-profit organization that protects and connects the habitats where wildlife and humans thrive. By permanently preserving and restoring forests, prairies and wetlands, Red-tail Land Conservancy plans for a future where the natural beauty of east-central Indiana will exist for generations to come.

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