Last week, U.S. Senator Mike Braun (R-Ind.) introduced S. 2990, the Benjamin Harrison National Recreation Area and Wilderness Establishment Act of 2023. This bill would designate approximately 15,300 acres to expand the wilderness designation in the Hoosier National Forest (HNF) and approximately 29,382 acres for the designation of a National Recreation Area (NRA) to serve as subunits of the HNF. The further intent of this bill is to maintain the natural beauty of the HNF and provide an opportunity for further public enjoyment of this national treasurer by current and future generations.
View the proposed forest boundaries on the USFS map here.
“Indiana is blessed with natural beauty, outdoor recreation, and history in every corner of the state. As an avid outdoorsman who knows the importance of conservation, I’m proud to introduce legislation that will specifically designate thousands of acres of forest for protection in Indiana to ensure it can be enjoyed and appreciated by future generations.” – Senator Braun
The full bill text is available here.
The Secretary of Agriculture, acting through the Chief of the Forest Service, would be called upon to manage the designated wilderness addition in compliance with the Wilderness Act of 1964, excluding special provision for trails and roads in the wilderness addition. Additionally, the NRA will be managed in a manner that promotes recreational opportunities, vegetation management that is consistent with the United States Forest Service (USFS) land management plan, and ensures the protection of the Monroe Reservoir water quality – that supplies water resources for over 150,000 Hoosiers in southern Indiana.