Bil Browning

Coming To A Nature Preserve Near You - Coal Mining And Guns

Filed By Bil Browning | October 02, 2006 1:57 PM | comments

Filed in: Living, Politics
Tags: Department of Natural Resources, local politics

Indiana's State Park system appears to be headed in a new direction under the guidance of Kyle Hupfer, Commissioner of the Indiana Department of Natural Resources.

Coming to the nature preserve closest to you may be the opportunity to watch coal mining firsthand. The Associated Press is reporting that Hupfer has allowed a coal company to test drill in the Glendale Fish and Wildlife Area, an 8,000 acre nature preserve, in Daviess County, Indiana. The article does not state whether it will be strip-mining or deep mining but you can bet that watching Bambi and Thumper teeter out of the way of coal trucks does not have the same cachet as the nature preserve currently offers.

Hupfer is the same man who recently threw the proverbial pre-election bone (or should I say "bullet"?) to the defenders of the Second Amendment by declaring that persons visiting Indiana State Parks can now walk freely about the State parks with guns strapped to their waists, provided they have the proper carrying permits

With thousands of people visiting the Indiana State Parks annually, if each one of them came armed, it could make walking the trails interesting, to say the least. The Parks' web page declares that "Visiting a State Park or Reservoir can be healthy." I suppose running up and down hills, away from someone with a gun, very well might burn-off a lot of calories.

At one time, Indiana had more paramilitary organizations than any other state in the country. The survivalists and/or paramilitary folks (is there a difference?) can now have some very interesting picnics in our state parks. As for the rest of us, we will have a whole new generation of children who will fondly recall hearing Dad say to Mom, "Paint the kids' faces and put on their camouflage, we're going hiking in the park!" Visitors to Indiana State Parks will learn new hiking etiquette, e.g., loudly announce your approach to other hikers ahead as in, "Don't shoot - it's just the Johnson family!"

So, one day perhaps, not only will visitors to the Glendale Nature Preserve walk the trails with guns attached to their hips, but they may also be able to throw on a hard hat and proudly announce to the little ones, "Look at this wondrous coal mine - one day, it will all be yours, or, at least the clean-up, because we will have already spent the payments the company made to the state."

If the State is looking for some interesting revenue generating businesses involving our parks, reservoirs and nature preserves, I bet some of you have some very good ideas. Share them with us. Hmmmm, perhaps one day there will be the Kyle Hupfer landfill at Turkey Run State Park. Now that's immortality!

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