ACRES celebrates 50th anniversary of preserving centuries-old Woodland Bog in Steuben County
June marks the 50th anniversary of the preservation of Woodland Bog, one of the first properties owned by the ACRES Land Trust. The bog is a flourishing example of the “forever” promise of the nonprofit that today is protecting more than 5,700 acres in Indiana, Ohio and Michigan.
The 20-acre Woodland Bog, northwest of Angola in Steuben County, is the gift of Burtis and Bernice Horrall, who purchased the property for ACRES at a tax sale in 1965. The acquisition, like most of the 94ACRES properties, was the result of a collaboration of local conservationists and members.
“Through their generosity and vision for preservation, the Horrall’s gift to the community, Woodland Bog, will continue to improve, undisturbed – forever,” said Heather Barth, director of fund development for the 55-year-old organization.
The ancient peat of the forest floor reveals that the bog developed over centuries. Woodland Bog also features a diverse swamp forest of pin oak, red osier dogwood, swamp white oak, big tooth aspen, red maple, red elm and a few tamarack trees. Cinnamon and royal ferns grow nearly 6 feet tall in the bog.
In 1968, an easement allowing access to the preserve at 2600 E. 100 North was generously donated by Hershel and Virginia Cole. Woodland Bog became a state dedicated nature preserve in 1972 under the Indiana Nature Preserves Act through the Indiana Department of Natural Resources, Division of Nature Preserves. ACRES founders were instrumental in the creation of the Nature Preserves Act in 1967.
Conservationist and former ACRES board member Art Eberhardt, of Angola, told the Horralls about the opportunity to purchase Woodland Bog at a tax sale and donate it to ACRES for preservation.
“We welcome gifts honoring this unique property’s 50th anniversary,” said Barth. “Contributing to the ACRES Endowment Fund ensures the next 50, and 500 years of Woodland Bog’s preservation.” Tax-deductible donations can be sent to Steuben County Community Foundation, c/o ACRES Endowment Fund, 1701 N. Wayne St., Angola, Ind. 46703-2356.
ACRES has embarked on an ambitious goal of increasing the amount of preserved land to 7,500 acres within the next three years. “That will take a generous commitment by our members and donors,” she added.