September 28, 2012

Bringing back the beauty of nature

— Cass County can be proud of its response to news that some thoughtless individuals were ruining a scenic retreat.

After word got out about the problem, the community sprang into action.

A Cass County highway crew spent about four days clearing away the bulk of the debris, including a steer carcass, old mattresses and a toilet. The crew also used some stockpiled dirt to create berms that will make it harder for illegal dumpers to pull off the road.

The Cass County Catfish Club held a cleanup day Saturday to clear out the remaining trash.

The transformation has been truly amazing. Before the cleanup, the river bank was literally covered in trash and other forms of debris.

After the cleanup, it was again a sparkling example of nature’s beauty.

If you hadn’t known the mess that was there before, you would never have believed it.

And Ron Haston, stewardship manager for NICHES Land Trust, has even better news. He has collected the names of several area residents who have committed themselves to helping to keep the area free of garbage.

Haston said the community response had convinced his organization to keep the nature preserve open to the public.

“As long as the community support is the way it is, we have no intention of closing it,” he said. “We didn't want to close it in the first place.” That’s cause for celebration.

NICHES owns the 20-acre nature preserve, which was donated by brothers Courtney and David Justice.

The preserve is still accessible from the main entrance, which is about halfway between the Georgetown bridge and 600 West. NICHES is making plans to add a parking area there.

Let’s hope the land trust will have no cause to change its mind. Perhaps the steps taken by the highway department will be enough to discourage most of the dumpers, and maybe nature lovers will be able to stay on top of the litter so that the area will never again have the look of a dumping ground. Let’s hope so.

Spots like this one are God’s gift to all of us. It’s our responsibility to take care of them.

Want to help?

If you’d like to volunteer as a steward for the Justice Farms property, contact NICHES stewardship manager  Ron Haston at 765-586-1457 or

Text Only | Photo Reprints
  • THEIR VIEW: Indiana needs open primary elections Indiana's primary election system is dysfunctional. What the state really needs is an open primary system. This month, the Lake County election board argued about the procedures for recruiting high school students as poll workers for the May 6 primar

    April 23, 2014

  • KITCHELL: Tax bills show what smoke & mirrors don't There's a price to be paid for the decline in what we call civic engagement -- and local property taxpayers are paying that price. In case you haven't received your 2014 Cass County property tax statement yet, be prepared for a bit of sticker shock w

    April 23, 2014

  • MARCUS: Illinois brings joy to Indiana From the email this week, I sensed a profound need by Hoosiers to find joy in the problems of Illinois. Our neighbors to the west are fighting their way through a mess of their own making. They have forced themselves to raise taxes and cut services t

    April 22, 2014

  • THEIR VIEW: Let voters weigh option of easing daily commute There was a time in this country when workers typically lived less than an hour's walk from their jobs. A time when a "commuter" was simply a traveler taking advantage of a reduced railway fare on his way to the big city. A time when the American sub

    April 22, 2014

  • VILLAGE IDIOT: Wait a minute here — what did I just sign? When Dr. Sam said, "You've got the prostate of a 16-year-old," it was hard to keep from beaming. This must be how a woman feels when a complete stranger tells her she has a beautiful baby. Well, maybe not quite. Still, it was hard not to feel proud o

    April 22, 2014

  • LYONS: How we devalued the 'R' word At the risk of angering somebody like MSNBC's Melissa Harris-Perry, I sometimes used to joke that I only look white. Actually, I'm Irish. Meaning basically that I wasn't raised to think the man in the big house had all the answers, nor deserved all t

    April 21, 2014

  • HAYDEN: Want better teacher ratings? Ask the kids The state may be back where it started, encumbered with a flawed teacher grading system, a year after implementing what were meant to be tough new standards. That was the general consensus of the State Board of Education days after teacher evaluation

    April 21, 2014

  • THEIR VIEW: Careful look at tax structure needed Indiana legislators this year created a "blue-ribbon commission" to study the state's taxes on businesses this summer. We hope the commission will listen to Larry DeBoer, a Purdue professor who might understand Indiana's tax structure better than any

    April 20, 2014

  • KNISELY: Adventures in cat spaying If you're a regular reader of this column, you know I have a cat. I got the cat to deal with the mice. Even if you only pop in on this column from time to time, you still likely know I have mice and that I hate them. I complain about it quite regular

    April 20, 2014

  • PUBLIC FORUM: Letters for Sunday, April 20, 2014 Power forum hopes to answer questions Do you pay electric bills? Then you are invited to learn how Public Power can often lower electric rates. Logansport's coal firing plant must be shut down within two years, and our contract with Duke expires in f

    April 20, 2014

Hyperlocal Search
Premier Guide
Find a business

Walking Fingers
Maps, Menus, Store hours, Coupons, and more...
Premier Guide

Should mushroom hunters be allowed to forage off-trail in Indiana state parks?

     View Results
Featured Ads
AP Video
Bon Jovi Helps Open Low-income Housing in Philly Pipeline Opponents Protest on National Mall Hagel Gets Preview of New High-tech Projects S.C. Man Apologizes for Naked Walk in Wal-Mart New Country Music Hall of Fame Inductees Named 'Piles' of Bodies in South Sudan Slaughter New Yorkers Celebrate Cherry Blossom Blooms SCOTUS Hears Tv-over-Internet Case Justice Dept. Broadening Criteria for Clemency Chief Mate: Crew Told to Escape After Passengers 'Miss Meadows' Takes Holmes Back to Her Roots Biden: Russia Must Stop Talking, Start Acting David Moyes Out As Manchester United Manager Raw: Leopard Bites Man in India Iowa College Finds Beauty in Bulldogs High Court to Hear Dispute of TV Over Internet Stowaway Teen Forces Review of Airport Security

Click HERE to read all your Parade favorites including Hollywood Wire, Celebrity interviews and photo galleries, Food recipes and cooking tips, Games and lots more.