We are proposing to rename the northern-most purchase unit of the Hoosier National Forest the “Richard Lugar Legacy Unit.” (Click map to enlarge.)
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Senator Lugar has been a strong advocate for forests, both globally and in Indiana. Forests provide invaluable ecological, health and inspirational benefits, both to the current and future generations of Hoosiers. Senator Lugar has long recognized the economic value of Indiana’s forests, including the obvious timber-related jobs and that our southern forests are the backbone of the tourism and outdoor recreation industry in the area. The citizens of Indiana will be forever indebted to his legacy of conserving forests both at home and abroad.
Senator Lugar's Accomplishments
- Senator Lugar served on the Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry Committee for his entire Senate career.
- In 2009, he joined with Purdue University to establish the Lugar-Purdue Future of Forestry Program and Scholarship.
- He introduced legislation to authorize the Tropical Rain Forest Conservation Act of 1998. Because of this, millions of acres of tropical forests around the world have been conserved.
- Lugar authored the Forest Legacy Program in the 1990 Farm Bill. Because of this over two million acres of forests have been protected in the U.S.
- He has been a long-time supporter of land acquisition funding for the Hoosier National Forest.
The Nature Conservancy, with support from the Hoosier National Forest and numerous other conservation groups and individual supporters, would like to recognize the Senator for his tireless work on behalf of forest protection.
We are proposing to rename the northern-most purchase unit of the Hoosier National Forest the “Richard Lugar Legacy Unit.” This renaming would require an Act of Congress.
This particular section of the national forest is the most heavily-used of all the purchase units and includes Lake Monroe, Hardin Ridge Recreation Area, and the Charles Deam Wilderness Area, and is close to other popular outdoor recreation, such as Brown County State Park and Yellowwood State Forest.
From an ecological standpoint, this unit contains the largest block of forested land remaining in Indiana and is a hot-spot for migratory birds. The National Audubon Society has designated the Pleasant Run Unit, as well as Lake Monroe and Yellowwood State Forest as Important Bird Areas. Lake Monroe is a regionally important reservoir for both recreation and drinking water. It has over 1.5 million visitors per year and is the water source for all of Monroe County (population 100,000).
Only about 4% of Indiana’s land is set aside for public recreation and conservation. The Hoosier National Forest is Indiana’s only national forest and is one of the smallest national forests in the country. The Hoosier National Forest’s purchase boundary includes about 600,000 acres, although only 202,000 acres within the boundaries are actually owned by the Forest (see map). To build on Senator Lugar’s work to acquire significant lands for the Hoosier National Forest, we and our partners are dedicated to focusing 20,000 acres of future land acquisitions in Senator Lugar’s honor, to increase the Hoosier National Forest by 10%.
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