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Federal Programs
Fishing and Boating
Recreational Facilities
State Programs
Fishing
Boating
Marina Construction
Recreational Facilities
State Parks and Nature Preserves
Statewide Comprehensive Outdoor Recreation Plan (SCORP)
Historic and Cultural Resources
Local Initiatives
Nongovernmental Organizations and Efforts


CURRENT PROGRAMS TO INCREASE OR IMPROVE RECREATIONAL OPPORTUNITIES


FEDERAL PROGRAMS

Fishing and Boating

The Federal Aid in Fish Restoration Act, also referred to as the Dingell-Johnson Sport Fish Restoration Act provides the opportunities for states to help local park and recreation boards acquire land or develop facilities that provide for the public use of sport fish resources.54 The funding is administered at the federal level by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. The DNR Division of Outdoor Recreation in cooperation with the Division of Fish and Wildlife administers these funds on the state level through the Indiana Waters Program. Funding comes from a federal excise tax on fishing equipment, marine fuel, imported pleasure boats and electric trolling motors. Funds are apportioned to state fish and wildlife agencies based on the number of fishing license holders and each state's size in relation to the other states.

Navigation rules for the Great Lakes and other inland waters are governed by federal55 and state statute.56 The United States Aids to navigation System is administered and enforced by the U.S. Coast Guard.57 The Coast Guard may designate a state boating administrator to govern private aids to navigation where not conflicting with federal aids to navigation. The state boating administrator in Indiana is located within the DNR Division of Law Enforcement.


Recreational Facilities

The National Park Service administers the Land and Water Conservation Fund established through the Land and Water Conservation Act of 1965. The purpose of the fund is to assist state, federal and local agencies in providing outdoor recreation opportunities. Funding comes from (1) net proceeds form the sale of surplus federal real property, (2) federal tax on motor boat fuels, and (3) money form oil drilling leases under the Outer Continental Shelf Lands Act.58 Projects that are eligible for reimbursement include land acquisition and construction of facilities that provide for outdoor recreation.

The National Recreational Trails Trust Fund was established by the Symms National Recreational Trails Act of 1991. the fund is supported by gasoline taxes collected from ORVs. The portion of the fund distributed to Indiana is to be administered by the DNR. Indiana received $126,000 in 1993 for trails. However, no subsequent appropriations have been made to this program by Congress.

The Transportation Enhancement Activities program is an 80% marching assistance program from the Federal Highway Administration administered by the Indiana Department of Transportation. The federal money, a result of the Intermodal Surface Transportation Efficiency Act of 1991 (ISTEA), is available to government agencies for facilities that will enhance the transportation system. The program includes ten categories of activities eligible fore funds, some of which are trail related.

The Abandoned Shipwreck Act of 198759 authorizes states to exercise authority over shipwrecks to which title has been given up by the owner. As a practical matter, this authority applies to other than the most recent shipwrecks. In Indiana, the Abandoned Shipwreck Act is administered through the Division of Historic Preservation and Archeology of the Department of Natural Resources.60 By rule, a person may not remove, disturb, or destroy an abandoned shipwreck without a permit issued by the Department. A goal of the legislation and state administration is to protect abandoned shipwrecks for historic and recreational purposes, most notably snorkeling and skin diving.


STATE AND LOCAL PROGRAMS

Fishing

The protection of fish spawning areas is a concern of anglers. In 1967, Indiana's Wetland Conservation Program was initiated among Acres Incorporated, the Indiana Chapter of the Nature Conservancy, NIPSCO, and the DNR for the purchase of lands for hunting, fishing, trapping, hiking, boating, and similar recreational activities. Some of these conservation areas provide protection for fish and spawning habitat, although the acquisitions were not made expressly for these purposes. One of the properties acquired under this program is the Galena Wetland Conservation Area in LaPorte County. This 165-acre site is located on the headwaters of the Galena River; migrating salmon and trout highlight the area.61

Several authorities exist to protect the integrity of streams for fish and wildlife. For instance, a permit is required from the Indiana Department of Natural Resources to conduct construction activities in the "floodway" of rivers and major streams pursuant to what is sometimes called the "Flood Control Act of 1945."62 A condition of a permit issued under this statute is that the construction activity not result in "unreasonably detrimental effects upon fish."63 Based upon this provision, the DNR can condition a "floodway" permit by requiring that activities which will disturb waters in the stream not occur during spawning activities. For further information regarding the Flood Control Act, see the chapter Water Quantity.

Legislation has also been enacted which provides special protection for salmonid streams. Construction activities for utility line crossings may not occur within the channel for a salmonid stream between March 15 through June 30, and from July 15 through November 30. A less restrictive construction closure is provided for other rivers and streams extending from April 1 through June 30. The DNR may provide a waiver to allow construction within these periods, but only if "the construction activities will not disturb fish spawning."64

Local governments control construction activities in portions of a stream's flood plain not governed by DNR pursuant to the Flood Control Act. By rule, the Natural Resources Commission establishes minimum standards for the regulation of these areas, and included in these standards are recreational uses.65 The Natural Resources Commission might adopt rules which would extend protection to fish spawning from construction activities to the entire flood plain.

The Water Pollution Control Board has, by rule, adopted minimum water quality standards for waterways which must be met in order to approve permits under the National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System. Enhanced water quality standards may be prescribed for sensitive waterways. Rivers and streams which support cold water fisheries, sometimes called "salmonid streams," are identified by rule.66 For additional information regarding these standards, see the chapter Water Quality.

The Indiana Department of Environmental Management administers a nonpoint source pollution control program. The program makes available grant funds to local and state entities to implement best management practices to control runoff leading to the degradation of quality of streams. As part of that program, the agency also administers "Rule 5" which requires an erosion control plan to be implemented for an area where five or more acres are disturbed. Once again, for additional information, see the chapter addressed to Water Quality.

The Department of Natural Resources also seeks to protect fisheries through traditional size, number, and bag limits upon fish. Separate standards apply to recreational fishing67 and commercial fishing.68

The Indiana Waters Program is funded through the Federal Aid in Fish Restoration Act discussed previously. This matching assistance program provides a 50% to 75% reimbursement to restore, manage, and enhance sport fish, and provide public access to sport fisheries resources. Matching funds may be derived from local tax sources, bond issues, certain types of federal funds, or force account contributions. The DNR Division of Outdoor Recreation is responsible for administering the program.

Public Law 182 was enacted in 1995 to establish a new voluntary fish and wildlife land acquisition stamp Each year the DNR designs and offers a new stamp for sale at a price of five dollars. Money collected from the sale will be deposited in the Indiana Heritage Trust Fund with amounts to be used exclusively for the purchase of fish and wildlife properties.69


Boating

In Indiana boating operations are governed primarily by state statute,70 although federal law also applies to navigable waters. The Natural Resources Commission may adopt rules to restrict the operation of boats where "unusual conditions or hazards exist."71 Violations of boating statutes and rules may be pursued by any law enforcement officer. Authorities cover activities involving speed limits, water skiing, equipment operation, sewage disposal, racing, safety, accidents, and abandoned watercraft.

Boat titling and registration in Indiana is the responsibility of the Bureau of Motor Vehicles.72 The amount of boat excise tax is established by statue based upon the class and age of motorboats and sailboats.73 The Indiana boat excise tax is not similar to the structure in other Lake Michigan states. Concerns regarding the Indiana boat excise tax have also been raised in several forums, most notably the public work group process conducted by the Lake Michigan Coastal Coordination Program and in a resolution passed by the Lake Michigan Marina Development Commission in 1995.

The Indiana Waters Program mentioned in the preceding section on fishing can also be used to enhance public access.


Marina Construction

A permit is required from the DNR before a person may "erect a permanent structure" in any navigable waterway, including Lake Michigan.74 In determining whether to approve the structure, DNR must consider whether the structure would "unreasonably impair the navigability of the waterway" or "pose an unreasonable hazard to life or property."75 For further information, see the chapter Lake Michigan and Navigable Waters.

A concern raised during the 1995 Coastal Coordination public work group process involved the carrying capacity of marinas. Applying the statutory basis of the navigable waters law identified in the preceding paragraph, the DNR considers how many boats may be handled safely within a new marina.

As a condition of DNR permit approval for the construction of the Portage Public Marina on Portage Burns Waterway, the City of Portage was required to conduct a study to assist with the determination of the number of boats to be handled safely by the marina. The city hired a private consulting firm to conduct a boating safety and traffic study to identify the maximum safe capacity of Portage Burns Waterway. The results were then correlated with the number of slips to be constructed at the marina site. A policy has been adopted by the city to enforce the slip limit at the new marina. Once the maximum number of slips have been constructed, boat traffic on the waterway will be evaluated again to determine the efficiency of the slip limit.76

Currently, standards for determining the application of this statute to the carrying capacity of a marina have not been identified at the state level. The Natural Resources Commission has specific authority to adopt rules, however, and could adopt rules for this purpose.

The LMMDC, referenced earlier in this chapter, was created by the General Assembly to better achieve economic development through marina development.77 Port authorities can be established to develop, enhance, and regulate activities associated with the port by municipal ordinance or resolution by the county commissioners.78

The state cannot provide funding to a marina located in Lake County unless the marina does each of the following: "(1) Provides a boat ramp without charge for access by Indiana residents to the waters served by the marina. (2) Provides access to marina property without charge for fishing by Indiana residents in the waters served by the marina. (3) Dedicates at least eight percent of the total number of parking spaces at the marina for parking vehicles, including boat trailers, by Indiana residents without charge."79


Recreational Facilities

The Land and Water Conservation Fund is administered at the federal level by the National Park Service. States receive the grant monies and distribute the funds on a competitive basis to eligible local entities. In Indiana the program is administered by the DNR Division of Outdoor Recreation. The program provides 50% reimbursement grants to assist park and recreation boards in acquiring and developing outdoor recreation areas for public use.

The Hometown Indiana Grant Program provides a 50% matching assistance program for local historic preservation, community forestry, and local parks.80 Effective in January 1998, new rules were adopted to help administer a $5,000,000 appropriation to the program by the Indiana General Assembly.81 As approved by a resolution of the Natural Resources Commission, 70% of the appropriation is eligible for grants to community parks and recreation areas. This distribution is administered by the DNR Division of Outdoor recreation. Another 20% is eligible for grants to the historic preservation of real property. This distribution is administered in by the DNR Division of Historic Preservation and Archeology. The final 10% is eligible for grants to community forestry. This distribution is administered by the DNR Division of Forestry.82

In 1995, the Transportation Corridor Planning Board was established.83 The board is charged with reviewing the list of existing rights-of-way that might be abandoned during the following year as prepared by the Indiana Department of Transportation and the Department of Natural Resources; approve or disapprove the priorities for potential future uses of rights-of-way consistent with the INDOT's comprehensive transportation plan and DNR's trail system plan; review criteria for project selection under the program; and, review procedures for public participation under the program.

Off-road vehicles which are operated on public property must be registered with the DNR.84 A registration fee of $6 is required for each ORV.85

The DNR is authorized to construct and maintain ORV trails and snowmobile trails on public and private land.86 Snowmobile trail usage is limited to December 1 through April 1 when there are at least four inches of snow on the ground. Revenues derived from registrations are applied to law enforcement and for constructing and maintaining vehicle trails. No ORV trails have been established or maintained pursuant to this program.


State Parks and Nature Preserves

The Indiana Heritage Trust was created by the General Assembly in 1992. The Trust is funded through the sale of Environmental License Plates. The Trust also seeks contributions from corporations, foundations, and individuals. The Trust uses the money to by land from willing sellers for new and existing state parks, state forests, nature preserves, fish and wildlife areas, trails and other areas.87

Recently, funds from the Heritage Trust Program were provided to assist with the purchase of the Cresmore Prairie in Hobart on June 28, 1996. The prairie is owned and managed by the Shirley Heinze Foundation and will be dedicated as a nature preserve on October 5, 1996.

The Indiana Natural Heritage Protection Campaign is a cooperative fund raising effort deigned to generate $10 million ($5 million of public appropriations to be matched by $5 million private contributions) for the acquisition and care of areas which qualify for the state nature preserve system.88 Each dollar contributed by citizens, businesses, and philanthropic organizations are matched with an equal appropriation from the state legislature. The total acreage to be acquired in the campaign may not exceed 15,000 acres. Campaign purchases "may be made only from willing sellers."89


Statewide Comprehensive Outdoor Recreation Plan (SCORP)

As a result of an ongoing process of evaluating Indiana's outdoor recreation achievements, the DNR Division of Outdoor Recreation produces the Statewide Comprehensive Outdoor Recreation Plan (SCORP) every five years. The entire state is examined to document its resources, needs, and issues for the SCORP. A citizen group known as the Plan Advisory Committee assists in the document preparation. The document outlines issues local citizens would like to see addressed and alternatives DNR recommends for action.

The SCORP is submitted to the National Park Service every five years to remain eligible for the Federal Land and Water Conservation Fund monies which are passed through to qualified local park boards.90 The SCORP must also be considered in developing priorities for the Hometown Indiana Grant Program and for the Recreational Trails Program.91


Historic and Cultural Resources

The DNR Division of Historic Preservation and Archaeology implements a program to preserve the heritage of Indiana. The division inventories sites and structures, reviews sites for protection, provides educational opportunities about Indiana historic resources, and administers grants and incentives for preserving these resources.

The division conducts inventories of historic sites. The inventory is a catalog of all Indiana buildings, sites, structures, and objects made before 1950.92

Sites can be nominated for the National Register of Historic Places and the Indiana Register of Historic Sites and Structures. Applications for placement on both of these lists are reviewed by the DNR and ultimately reviewed for approval by the Indiana Historic Preservation Review Board.93 To be eligible sites must be at least 50 years old and significant to our past. In addition, eligible properties should look much as they did when they acquired their significance.

Funding for preservation and archaeology projects is available to local organization and communities. Non-profit organizations and local governments may apply for matching grants to carry out projects that relate to Indiana's historic preservation goals. The grant is part of Indiana's annual share of the federal Congressional appropriation for historic preservation.

Owners of certain Indiana historic property have both state and federal tax credit programs available to assist them with the cost rehabilitation projects. The Federal Tax Reform Act of 1986 provides a 20% federal income tax credit on the cost of rehabilitating a historic building. The Indiana Historic Rehabilitation Tax Credit Program provides a 20% state income tax credit on the cost of rehabilitating a historic building.

The Certified Local Government Program helps preservation efforts of Indiana cities and towns in coordination with their development plans. Certified programs have a competitive advantage in applying for grants from the DNR Division of Historic Preservation and Archaeology. The certification also allows the participation in the nomination process for the National Register of Historic Places and eligibility for funding for historic preservation commission staff.

The Division also reviews federal and state projects that may affect properties or archaeological sites that are eligible for the National or State Registers. If historic properties or significant archaeological sites are present in the project area, the division consults with the project sponsors to avoid or alleviate any adverse effects or to document any significant features of the area that must be removed or altered.94


Local Initiatives

The Northwestern Indiana Regional Planning Commission assists with trail planning and development in northwest Indiana. NIRPC has printed a map outlining the trail opportunities and published an accompanying report in 1990 titled, Trail Opportunity Plan for Northwestern Indiana. The report was prepared in Cooperation with DNR and the U.S. Department of the Interior. The report identifies trail opportunities along abandoned corridors and other rights of way in northwest Indiana. NIRPC also developed a Regional Bikeways Plan which was adopted in 1994 and is being implemented largely with Transportation Enhancement Funds and local matching funds.95


Non-Governmental Organizations and Efforts

A national effort to promote the construction of recreational trails is the American Greenways Program. American Greenways is program of The Conservation Fund, a national organization committed to land and water conservation. American Greenways was created to help assemble a national network of linked natural areas and other open spaces. The program serves as an umbrella organization, promoting the greenways concept at the national, state, regional, and local levels. It provides professional and technical assistance to interested citizens, private landowners, non-profit organizations, and governmental agencies. Through the formation of conservation partnerships, American Greenways will help create state and regional greenway networks and carry out specific greenways projects.96


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