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Park, forest offer quick get-aways

Park, forest offer quick get-aways
Park, forest offer quick get-aways
Smokey The Bear lets visitors to O'Bannon Woods State Park and the Harrison-Crawford State Forest know the level of fire danger for the day. (Photo by Jo Ann Spieth-Saylor)

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 12 stories will be published before the end of the year.
Need to get away?
If it’s a trip to the country that interests you and time is of the essence, consider a trip to O’Bannon Woods State Park and the Harrison-Crawford State Forest, located about 10 miles west of Corydon.
The 26,000 or so acres that make up the property offer serenity at an affordable price. For those with an Indiana license plate, admission is $4 Monday through Thursday and $5 on Friday, Saturday, Sunday and holidays. For those from out of state, admission is $7.
At the gate, visitors will receive a brochure that gives a brief history of the property. In 1932, the Indiana Dept. of Natural Resources, formerly the Dept. of Conservation, purchased the first parcels for a state forest. A group of men, through the 517th Company Civilian Conservation Corps, planted trees at the park’s entrance and constructed buildings on the property, including the property manager’s residence, a shelterhouse and retaining walls.
The brochure also details the nine trails available for hiking on the property. They range from easy to rugged and are as short as .8 mile to as long as two miles. The rugged Adventure Hiking Trail, which is 24 miles and designed for the serious backpacking hiker, winds through the property. It is part of the American Discovery Trail and takes 2-1/2 to 3 days to complete. Five overnight shelters are available along the way.
The fire tower is near the entrance. Originally built in 1932, it was replaced in 1941 after being destroyed by fire. Earlier this year, renovation was made to the tower, which has 133 steps from bottom to top. And there is quite a view from the top.
Offered on the 2,000 acres that comprise the state park, are camping sites and a group camp; picnic areas; horse trails; access sites to Blue River; and the Nature Center and Pioneer Farmstead, which offer information and education programs. Also included in the state park’s jurisdiction is Wyandotte Cave, which is located further west of S.R. 462 off S.R. 62.
Coming up in September is a demonstration of the 1850 haypress, which is run by an ox, and living farmstead (Sept. 2 through 4); Archaeology Day (Sept. 16); and an Outdoor Skills Workshop (Sept. 23).
In the Harrison-Crawford State Forest, hunting and fishing are permitted, as outlined by state law. About 24,000 acres make up the state forest.
Plans are to have a new swimming pool ready for use in the 2007 recreational season. An olympic-size pool built in 1979 was closed at the end of the 2001 season due to costly needed repairs.
Former Harrison County resident Anne Cabaniss, who now lives in New Albany, said, in suggesting the complex as a Top 26, that it offers ‘a chance to really get away from it all.’
The office for O’Bannon Woods State Park can be reached at 738-8232. To inquire about programs at the Nature Center, call 738-8234. And for more information about Wyandotte Cave, call 365-2705.
To make camping reservations, call 1-866-622-6746 or go online to
For questions pertaining to the Harrison-Crawford State Forest, call 738-7694.