The Central Indiana Land Trust has completed the final purchase of land from Highland Golf and Country Club. The organization says it can now proceed with plans to open White River Bluffs Nature Preserve in 2021.
The $2.9 million plan preserves 12.2 acres of wooded land along the White River and adjacent to the country club established in 1919. White River Bluffs lies east of Michigan Road between 56th and 52nd streets and features some of Indianapolis’ oldest trees and offers a downtown skyline view, along with a unique look at Hinkle Fieldhouse.
“This project has attracted more donors and partners than any of our preserves to date because of its unique location, features and potential,” said Cliff Chapman, executive director of the Central Indiana Land Trust. “More than 90 donors from all over the U.S. acknowledged this special area and saw the importance of preserving the land as a natural area.”
The project also includes a trail and an 80-foot-tall hanging garden to provide nectar sources for butterflies. Project organizers say thousands of milkweed plants, prickly pear cactus, and other plants will attract monarch and black swallowtail butterflies.
“We visualize thousands of butterflies fluttering above the White River every summer,” added Chapman.
Deal negotiations began five years ago and CILTI purchased a section of the land in 2016. CILTI has since done an erosion-control project and worked to eliminate invasive species from the property, which will help in restoring the land for a loop trail.