Indiana Conservation Officer Mark Johnston investigated a near-fatal ice incident occurring near Roush Lake in Huntington County. At 11:07 a.m. on Jan. 3, he was dispatched, along with the Huntington County Sheriff’s Department, Indiana State Police and local Fire/Rescue Departments, to a small pond located south of Roush Lake where a fisherman had fallen through the ice.
Johnston arrived and found Michael H. Gosnell in the near frozen water, clinging to the ice he had recently broken through. Minutes later Johnston coordinated with Markle firefighter Michael Grant to effect a successful rescue operation. Grant donned an insulated dry suit, crossed the frozen pond and, with help from rescue personnel, was able to pull Gosnell from the water.
Gosnell was treated at the scene by EMS and then transported to Parkview Huntington Hospital in Huntington. He was treated for cold-related injuries as well as bruises and cuts.
Gosnell was not wearing a lifejacket at the time of the accident. His companion, James Koon, witnessed the incident and called 911. Koon was also able to toss Gosnell equipment to help him stay above water until emergency personnel were able to make rescue.
Conservation officers urge all ice fishers to carry a lifejacket or other flotation device, to check ice regularly and to never go out on ice alone.
Healthy Rivers tops 10,000 new acres
Indiana Department of Natural Resources (DNR) Director Rob Carter on Jan. 7 announced the Healthy Rivers INitiative (HRI) has surpassed 10,000 acres with the addition of newly acquired land in four counties.
“This is a huge milestone,” Carter said. “Add preexisting state-owned lands in the project area and land enrolled in the federal Wetlands Reserve Program, and we’re rapidly approaching the halfway point of our goal in just over 2.5 years.”
Gov. Mitch Daniels launched HRI in 2010 to secure permanent conservation protection for nearly 70,000 acres along Sugar Creek, the Wabash River and the Muscatatuck River.
The newest parcels include almost 725 acres in Vermillion and Vigo counties in the Wabash River Project Area, and more than 425 acres in Jackson and Scott counties in the Muscatatuck River Project Area.
The addition of the 1,150 acres brings DNR’s newly purchased HRI acres to 10,058. HRI is a partnership of resource agencies and organizations working with landowners to provide a model balancing forest, farmland and natural resources conservation.
It connects separated parcels of public land to benefit wildlife; protects important wildlife habitat and rest areas for migratory birds; opens lands to public recreational activities; establishes areas for nature tourism; and provides clean water and protection from flooding to downstream landowners.
The Indiana State Department of Agriculture, The Nature Conservancy of Indiana, the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service and the USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service are HRI project partners. For more information, see www.healthyrivers.IN.gov
Geocache Adventure at Dunes State Park
Indiana Dunes State Park will host a special Geocache Adventure on Jan. 19. The event will run from 11:30 a.m.-5 p.m. Using GPS units, participants will travel the park and nearby dune land area while performing outdoor challenges.
A special aspect of this year’s event includes the “Spot of Soup Run.” Participants will be challenged to complete a special passport requiring sampling signature soups from well-known local restaurants. Try the soups, collect the stamps and race back to the park’s nature center by 4 p.m.
The day will end with a chili dump, in which participants are invited to bring chili to dump into a kettle to be cooked over a fire at the nature center. Awards and door prizes will be given out during dinner.
Participants may register and learn more about the event by going to www.geocaching.com and searching ZIP code 46304 to find the event listing.
“You only need a GPS unit and a sense of adventure,” said Brad Bumgardner, park interpreter. “It’s a great opportunity to play in the winter weather, while getting a sample of the best warm-ups in the dune land area.”
The program, including the soup sampling, is free after paying the park entrance fee of $5 per in-state vehicle or $10 per out-of-state vehicle. For more information, call 219-926-1390. Indiana Dunes State Park is at 1600 North 25 E., Chesterton, Indiana 46304.
State parks summer interns
The DNR is looking to recruit 38 volunteers to work on trails this summer at four state parks for the Indiana Heritage Corps (IHC) program. IHC is an AmeriCorps program administered through the DNR Division of State Parks & Reservoirs.
IHC volunteers receive on-site housing, a living allowance of $340 per month, an education stipend ($1,468 before taxes) and hands-on experience, as well as a chance to earn college internship credit and live at a state park.
The state parks offering the program are Pokagon (in Angola), Fort Harrison (in Indianapolis), Brown County (in Nashville) and O’Bannon Woods (in Corydon). IHC members will clean, restore and construct 25 cumulative miles of trail in the four parks.
IHC candidates should be at least 17 years old, U.S. citizens or lawful permanent residents, be able to pass a strict FBI background check and be able to make a 3.5-month commitment (Monday-Friday from May 13-Aug. 16) to the program.
IHC, which started in January 2012, is funded through Indiana’s Office of Faith-Based and Community Initiatives. Interested and qualified candidates should email a résumé and cover letter to indianaheritagecorps@dnr.IN.gov
More information is at www.dnr.IN. gov/parklake/7252.htm
The views and opinions expressed in this column are those of the author and not necessarily those of Farm World. Readers with questions or comments for Jack Spaulding may contact him by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or by writing to him in care of this publication.