Free Admission to Indiana State Parks and More


You have reasons to wander. Thanks to free admission to the park for veterans, the input that LaPorte wants on its urban trails, an Indiana Dunes ranger who will lead a hike in the hills and a Turkey Trot race that will burn Thanksgiving fat before the consume.

But you cannot walk some parks in the next few days due to controlled deer hunts.

Here’s what we’re reporting in this week’s Outdoor Adventures column.

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Come to a public workshop from 6 to 7:30 p.m. CST on November 10 to give the Town of LaPorte your input on its bike paths and water trails in order to update its master plan. You can also take part in a five-mile bike ride at 10 a.m. CST on November 10 that will serve as a “bike audit,” where you can point out any improvements you’d like to see on the city’s trails.

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The workshop will be held in a classroom at the LaPorte County Public Library Exchange Building, 807 Indiana Ave., LaPorte, and the ride will also begin from this building. You can also click on a poll to share your preferences for LaPorte trails, linked in this column online. For more information, contact Deputy City Planner David Heinold at [email protected]

All Indiana State Parks, Forests and Recreation Areas will offer free admission Nov. 11 to veterans and serving members of the military, as well as everyone in their vehicle. Just let the attendant know at the park entrance that you are a military or veteran.

All National Park Service locations provide year-round free access to active duty military, veterans, and Gold Star families (close relatives of a military member who died in war or eligible military action) ; for this you will need some form of military or veteran identification – find the related details in this column online.

Sample baked goods made with flour ground on site at Bonneyville Mill County Park, near Bristol, while taking horse-drawn carriage rides, watching mill demonstrations, shopping for seasonal handicrafts and visiting early Father Christmas, Mrs. Claus and the elves from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on November 12.

The park’s one-room schoolhouse will host “Christmas Story Time” and “Old School Lessons.” Buckwheat pancakes will be served in the barn.

Free entry. Bonneyville Mill is 2.5 miles east of Bristol, south of Indiana 120 at 53373 County Road 131.

An Indiana Dunes National Park ranger will lead a hike through the hilly, wooded upland trails of his Pinhook Bog from 1:30 p.m. to 3 p.m. CST November 12-27. Meet at the bog parking lot at 920 N. Wozniak Road in Michigan City.

From Indiana 2 west of LaPorte and east of US 421, drive north on Wozniak. After the toll road, look for the entrance on the right.

Notre Dame hike

Join Diana Mendelsohn, longtime organizer of Arbor and Earth Day events, for a November 12 hike to enjoy nature and waterfowl along the University of Notre Dame campus lakes. Meet at 9 a.m. on the south side of the Bob Evans parking lot, 204 N. Dixie Way, one block north of Indiana Toll Road in Roseland.

Join this 55th Annual 5K & 10K Timed Run and Fun Kids 1K Run on November 20 on the wooded dirt trails of Southwestern Michigan College at 58900 Cherry Grove Road, Dowagiac. The 5K and 10K will start at 1 p.m. and the 1K at 2 p.m. The cost is $25 before November 12 to include a t-shirt and $30 thereafter. The 1K is free (no T-shirt). To register, go to

Starry nights and conference

Do you care about the night sky and eliminating light pollution? Will you come for some assisted stargazing as Dr. TK Lawless County Park in Vandalia, a designated dark sky park, stays open until midnight on November 18-19?

If so, you might want to tune in to the International Dark-Sky Association’s free virtual conference on November 11-12, lasting 24 hours and featuring speakers from around the world, from Aruba to Nepal. Gain cultural and scientific insight into the stars and solutions to preserve the sky. Registration is required at

Parks closed for deer hunting

The following parks will be closed for controlled deer hunts to manage ecosystems and prevent the loss of important plants.

Spicer Lake Nature Reserve in New Carlisle will close on November 12 and 13, then again on December 3 and 4.

Love Creek County Park in Berrien Center will close from November 15 to 20.

Indiana State Parks will close some properties on November 14-15 and November 28-29. Nearby, which includes Potato Creek, Pokagon, Chain O’Lakes and Tippecanoe River State Parks. Others that will close are Brown County, Cave River Valley Natural Area in Spring Mill, Charlestown, Fort Harrison, Harmony, Lincoln, McCormick’s Creek, Ouabache, Prophetstown, Shades, Shakamak, Summit Lake, Trine and Whitewater Memorial.

Find columnist Joseph Dits on Facebook at SBTOutdoorAdventures or 574-235-6158 or [email protected].


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