Posted by: Bridgett Hernandez

  • 12/13/2022

ACRES protects 110 acres in Auburn

ACRES Land Trust has acquired Greenhurst Commons, a 110-acre urban nature preserve in the City of Auburn, through a full donation.

The property was the grounds of the former Greenhurst golf course. When it went up for sale in 2013, Abby and Mark Millett and Rick and Vicki James worked to ensure the green space would remain intact. They purchased the property and opened paved trails for the public to enjoy.

Photo by Jarrid Spicer

To ensure the natural area will continue to benefit the community for generations to come, they decided to donate Greenhurst Commons to ACRES. Once the nonprofit owns and protects land, it will never sell or transfer the deed.

“ACRES is Indiana’s first local land trust with a proven track record. ACRES not only will protect the land, but also will restore crucial habitat for native plants and animals. We are confident that with ACRES’ stewardship, Greenhurst Commons will be protected in perpetuity for all to enjoy,” Abby Millett said.

Photo by Jarrid Spicer

The trails are open to the public from dawn to dusk, with parking at 1740 North Main Street, Auburn, IN 46706. The entire trail system is paved, making it suitable for wheelchairs and other mobility devices, as well as bicycles.

The overall visitor experience will remain mostly unchanged under ACRES’ ownership. In the coming months, ACRES plans to update signage and route the trail into a loop system. Visitors may notice posted rules that help limit the impact on this natural area.

Cedar Creek flows through Greenhurst Commons. Photo by Jarrid Spicer

With the acquisition of Greenhurst Commons, ACRES now protects six properties and 571 acres in DeKalb County. This urban preserve also builds on ACRES’ work in the Cedar Creek Corridor. ACRES and other conservation partners protect over 1,600 acres along this scenic waterway.


Robert Hart - February 15, 2023 - 4:19 pm

As an Acres member and a close neighbor of Greenhurst Commons, I was pleased to hear of this property acquisition. I look forward to continuing to use this space for walking and peddling for years into the future. This is a unique urban space with larger volumes of human, dog, and bicycle traffic than some rural areas. Please preserve the current trail system as much as possible since the upper and lower loops allow for better separation of trail users which is very helpful in times of high usage. Also, please preserve the small bridge across Cedar Creek. This allows unique views of the creek and connects the additional "back" loop which makes a perfect 2 mile complete loop when you walk from the parking lot and take the entire outside loop. This additional loop also allows for more separation of trail users in times of high volume. Closing sections of the trail would condense traffic and create more unpleasant interactions with dog walkers, hikers, and cyclists.

Heather Barth - February 20, 2023 - 12:30 pm

Thank you for sharing your appreciation of Greenhurst Commons. We recognize change is hard. Our mission is to protect land. The very best way to do this is to not allow public access. In fact, most of our preserves are closed to the public. Locations that do offer public access include just one access point and earthen trails dedicated to foot traffic only. We made many concessions to meet the public's desired use of Greenhurst Commons, at least the those compatible with a protected nature preserve. We’re pleased to continue to offer public access. We’re providing not one but 3 access points. Paved trails will be maintained as long as possible. Bicycles are welcome. The tradeoff is that ½-mile of the existing 2-mile trail will be removed in order to allow us to restore native habitat. This private park will transition to a 100-acre urban nature preserve, something not many small towns can claim.

Jodie - January 13, 2023 - 10:07 am

We are so grateful for those who donate to the wellbeing of communities. Greenspace is a huge resource for healthy communities. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you.

Peg Maginn - January 10, 2023 - 11:33 am

How exciting! It's a wonderful and generous donation.

Mary Gibson - December 14, 2022 - 8:52 am

What a wonderful gift. For many future generations. Thank you.