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Pastoral Blue River hosts abundant fauna, flora

Pastoral Blue River hosts abundant fauna, flora
Pastoral Blue River hosts abundant fauna, flora
A group of exchange students canoe down Blue River earlier this month. (Photo by Jill Robertson)

The Corydon Democrat continues its new feature for this year, ‘Top 26 of 2006,’ that takes a look at 26 people, places or things that our readers suggested make Harrison County a great place to live or work. The remaining 20 stories will be published before the end of the year.
One of the cleanest rivers in the state runs through Harrison County on its way to the Ohio River.
The Blue River, which begins in Washington County and serves as the divider for Harrison and Crawford counties in some places, is popular for canoe trips. Stretching approximately 57 miles, it is part of the Indiana Natural, Scenic and Recreational River System.
An abundance of rare plants and animals can be found in the 600 square miles that encompass the Blue River basin. Among those rarities is the hellbender salamander, which is not found anywhere else in the state. And there’s Short’s goldenrod, which is on the federal list of endangered species and found in only one other location in the world, a nature preserve in northeast Kentucky.
Former Harrison County resident Anne Cabaniss referred to the river as ‘beautiful’ and said it ‘offers spectacular scenery and solitude for canoers.’
The Indiana Dept. of Natural Resources says the river provides an opportunity ‘to experience the pastoral tranquility of rural farmland, extensive forests, numerous caves and a wealth of historical attractions.’
Squire Boone, brother of Daniel Boone, explored the Blue River area and found large Indian populations.
Canoe trips of various lengths are available along the Blue River, including one from Milltown to Rothrock Mill, which is about 13 miles, and a 10-mile trip from Rothrock Mill to the Harrison-Crawford State Forest.
Information about canoe trips can be found on the DNR Web site at
The Nature Conservancy initiated a reforestation project in 1997 to recover land along the Blue River and its tributaries, and replant trees, which will naturally act as filters and buffers for the river environment.
The state of Indiana charged The Blue River Commission with ‘preserving the natural integrity of Blue River ‘ a component of the Indiana Natural Rivers System,’ from river mile 57 to river mile 11.5 and the strip of land along each side of the river.
The Commission, made up of two representatives each from Harrison, Crawford and Washington counties, as well as the director of the Indiana Dept. of Natural Resources, meets the third Wednesday at 7:30 p.m. during the months of January, March, May, July, September and November. Meetings are held at Community First Bank in Corydon, near the intersection of state roads 135 and 62.
For more information about the Blue River Commission, visit its Web site at