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In 1916, the State of Indiana authorized the creation of a state park system during the state’s centennial as a gift to the people of Indiana. Former Governor Mitch Daniels announced the Bicentennial Nature Trust (BNT) in his 2012 State of the State Address as a new statewide effort to honor Indiana’s 200th anniversary in 2016.
The BNT was created to preserve and protect important conservation and recreation areas throughout Indiana by matching donations of land or dollars. Property acquired with this fund will become part of the public trust to ensure that the land is protected for future generations of Hoosiers to use and enjoy.
The state has identified $20 million in state funding to support the BNT and the Lilly Endowment contributed an additional $10 million grant.
The BNT is designed to encourage local participation, so each project requires a 1:1 match. The match could be provided by the Community Foundation, local non-profit or philanthropic organizations, private or corporate donors, or a bargain sale.
To ensure availability of funds for a wide variety of projects in every corner of the state, a cap of $300,000 has been set for the BNT portion of an individual project.
BNT funds may only be used for the acquisition of land and cannot be used for capital improvements, stewardship, or programming.
The program is flexible to allow local ownership and management of acquired properties. In these instances, the state purchases a Conservation Easement to protect the property forever.
A BNT Project Committee composed of technical experts from the DNR has been established to vet project proposals and make recommendations to the Bicentennial Commission for final approval. The committee meets quarterly. Submission deadlines are as follows:
Following these steps will help ensure your application is as strong as possible and maximize its chance of success: