Chesterton Tribune



Shirley Heinze acquires 42 acres along Sand Creek here

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The Shirley Heinze Land Trust has acquired two properties totaling 42 acres along Sand Creek in Westchester Township.

The properties--approximately 18 acres in size and 24 acres--are located on the east bank of Sand Creek, south of Indian Boundary Road, Shirley Heinze announced in a statement released on Tuesday.

The organization “plans to manage the land as a natural area, undertake restoration work to enhance its environmental value, and make it available as a community resource for educational and recreational activities,” Shirley Heinze said. “Restoration will enhance the quality of local waterways and contribute to good storm water management for the community and the Little Calumet River.”

The 42 acres feature beech and maple upland forest, floodplain wetlands along the creek, and a significant habitat for a wide variety of wildlife, including migrating and nesting birds. A variety of spring ephemeral wildflowers--notably a display of large-flowered trillium--also blooms on the forest floor. “Though not currently open to the public, the organization plans to build and maintain public trails for hiking, birding, and other passive recreational activities,” Shirley Heinze said.

The two properties, acquired in December, bring the total acreage added in 2016 to the Little Calumet Conservation Corridor--approved as an Indiana Bicentennial Nature Trust Conservation Area--220. The goal, Shirley Heinze said: to “help connect protected natural areas along the Little Calumet River through funding assistance.”

In total, more than 2,200 acres have been protected along the East Branch of the Little Calumet River by several conservation organizations, agencies, and municipalities.

“A tremendous amount of work has been achieved over the past few years thanks to the Indiana Department of Natural Resources and other local partners, including Save the Dunes, The Nature Conservancy, Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore, the Northwest Indiana Paddling Association, Northwestern Indiana Regional Planning Commission, ArcelorMittal, Northern Indiana Public Service Company, Porter County Izaak Walton League, the Gaylord and Dorothy Donnelley Foundation, and others,” Shirley Heinze Executive Director Kristopher Krouse said.

Shirley Heinze Land Trust has been protecting and preserving natural land with significant scenic and ecological value since 1981. That land--most of it open to the public for hiking and enjoying nature--covers the entire spectrum of Northwest Indiana's rich and significant natural communities, including tallgrass prairie, high dune, oak savanna, boreal flatwoods, dune-and-swale, woodlands, marshes, swamps, ponds, fens, bogs, and riparian habitat.

Five of Shirley Heinze’s properties--Cressmoor Prairie, Seidner Dune & Swale, John Merle Coulter Preserve, Barker Woods, and Ambler Flatwoods--have been dedicated to the people of Indiana as state nature preserves.

For more information on the work and nature preserves of Shirley Heinze Land Trust, visit, call (219) 242-8558, or access its Facebook page at


Posted 1/18/2017




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