Why You Should Visit
Found at the lowest elevation in Indiana, Point Township Complex is a group of natural communities that display Deep South character. Flatwoods is the primary natural community type, but within the area are ancient river channels, which today are manifested as the deep sloughs, swamps and ponds that characterize the region. The preserves also exhibit a treasure trove of state significant sites as well as rare plants and animals.
Interior Low Plateau
597 Acres (Twin Swamps)
437 Acres (Section 6 Flatwoods)
452 Acres (Gray Estate Cypress Slough)
State Nature Preserve, 1987 (Twin Swamps)
Owned & Managed By
The Nature Conservancy & Division of Nature Preserves
Division of Fish & Wildlife, Indiana Heritage Trust, Natural Resources Conservation Service
What The Nature Conservancy is Doing/has Done
Beginning in 1986, the Conservancy and the DNR have methodically protected land throughout the township in order to preserve the diversity of ecosystems, rare plant species and uncommon animal species that make its home in the Point Township Complex preserve. Prescribed burns are also applied at the Section 6 Flatwoods to allow sunlight to reach understory plants and to maintain the state-endangered buffalo clover which requires fire or soil disturbance to germinate its seeds.
What to See: Plants and Animals
Scattered bald cypresses along with dense stands of green ash, sugarberry and silver maple trees make the canopy of Gray Estate Cypress Slough. White milkweed, catbrier, lizard's tail, spiderwort and buttonbush plants can also be spotted throughout this wetland.
Section 6 Flatwoods is an uninspired name for a rare ecosystem home to a diversity of plant and tree species. Walking through the preserve expect to see post oak, false aloe, yellow star-grass, Sampson's snakeroot, starve panic grass and small skullcap on the dry hillsides; wetland plants like the swamp white oak, wild iris, black-footed quillwort, swamp oval sedge and purple fringeless orchids; and several prairie plant species such as purple milkweed, blazing star, rattlesnake master and American feverfew. Apparently the preserve doesn't need such a flashy title when the flora has such colorful names.
At Slim Pond and Goose Pond, populations of fish, reptiles, amphibians, wading birds and waterfowl are to be found near the deep ponds. Native pecan trees and naturally occurring bamboo and cane provide the cover for the wet floodplain forest. Keep an eye out for poison ivy and stinging nettle, prominent in many areas of the preserve, while the dainty social sedge and the red leaf stalks of the bloodlead plant add color and beauty.
The two swamps at Twin Swamps are less than identical as one is dominated by bald cypress along with their "knees" while the other is mostly overcup oak. Flatwoods of red maple, cherrybark oak, post oak and shagbark hickory can be observed from the weaving trail located at the preserve. Some common plants include swamp cottonweed, buttonbrush and some of the smallest flowering plants in the world - duckweed and water meal. The Prothonotary Warbler, Yellow-throated Warbler, Blue-gray Gnatcatcher, and if you're lucky, the rare Yellow-crowned Night Heron and Fish Crow can be spotted overhead. Fish, frogs, and the eel-like siren live within the swamp as does snakes though they are rarely seen.
A trail at the Gray Estate Cypress Slough and boardwalk at Twin Swamps are the only developed pathways at the Point Township Complex. Expect wet areas all around the preserves, so dress accordingly. For more information, please read the Conservancy's Preserve Visitation Guidelines.
For More Information
Gray Estate Cypress Slough: From Evansville, travel west on S.R. 62 approximately 17 miles to Mount Vernon. Turn south on S.R. 69 until it ends at Hovey Lake Fish and Wildlife Area. From there, go west roughly 1.25 miles to the first intersection (C.R. 300 W). Do NOT turn, but rather continue west on C.R. 1500 S until it makes a sharp right turn (heading north) and look for the preserve sign and parking lot are on the south side of the road. * A trail does exist on this preserve as well as a road that parallels the easter border including Deadman's Corner at the south end.
Section 6 Flatwoods: From Evansville, travel west on S.R. 62 approximately 17 miles to Mount Vernon. Turn south on S.R. 69 and travel 4 miles to Boneback Road (on the right side). Turn right and follow the sharp curve to the left. Continue another 3.2 miles to Slim Pond Road (Township Church is on the corner) and turn right. Follow the road through the preserver (roughly 1.6 miles) and park along the road. * There is no trail on this preserve at the time.
Slim and Goose Ponds: From Evansville, travel west on S.R. 62 approximately 17 miles to Mount Vernon. Turn south on S.R. 69 and travel 4 miles to Boneback Road (on the right side). Turn right and continue on Spencer Ditch Road. Turn left onto Half Moon Road and follow it around Half Moon Pond. (on the right). Turn left at the next road and continue to the preserve sign and parking area on the right side of the road. * No trail exists at this preserve.
Twin Swamps: From Evansville, travel west on S.R. 62 approximately 17 miles to Mount Vernon. Turn south until it ends at Hovey Lake Fish and Wildlife Area. From there, go west roughly 1.25 miles to the first intersection (C.R. 300 W). Turn right (north) on the gravel road and travel one mile to the parking lot on the left side of the road. * A boardwalk and trail is available on this preserve.