Sports and Outdoors

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Free state park, lake or state forest admission, May 3 … and maybe May 2, too

Get your carload of family and friends in the gate of any Indiana state park, lake or state forest without spending a dime on Sunday, May 3, as part of the annual Welcome Back Weekend, the traditional lid-lifter of the spring recreation season.

"This a great time to visit a DNR property," said Ginger Murphy, assistant director for stewardship in the DNR Division of State Parks and Reservoirs. "It's a chance for people who've never visited or haven't recently stopped by to discover a state treasure and save a few dollars at the same time."

Even veteran park-goers will notice something new or updated at most properties. Features include the Abraham Lincoln Bicentennial Plaza opening in June at Lincoln State Park, new electric campsites at Ouabache, comfort stations under construction at Clifty Falls and Lincoln, new Gus Grissom Memorial exhibits at Spring Mill State Park, improved mountain bike trails at several properties and more than 300 new interpretive wayside signs all around the state to help you enjoy and better understand what you see. For a complete list of improvements and additions, see

"We hope people will like what they see and buy a $36 Annual Entrance Pass ($18 for ages 65 and older), which will get their carload through any entrance gate for the rest of 2009."

Normal weekend gate fees for most properties are $5 per day for an in-state vehicle and $7 per day for an out-of-state vehicle. During the week, most fees are $4 for in-state and $7 for out-of-state. All other fees will be in effect. The only thing waived is the daily entrance normally charged for any car, truck, bicycle or pedestrian. The entrance fee for Historic Prophetstown at Prophetstown State Park remains in effect.

May 3 is the second consecutive day you can enter a state park or lake without paying a gate fee, but there's a condition. That's because May 2 is annual INShape Indiana DNR Day. Registered INShape participants will be e-mailed a coupon by the end of April. That coupon, when shown at the gate, gets the carload in free on Saturday, May 2 to participate in walks and other activities.

To register as an INShape participant, see To see scheduled walks and activities, visit Information about INShape Indiana also is available at 1-800-433-0746. The INShape coupon is not valid for entrance or camping on Friday night, May 1 or at state forest properties.

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