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Page last updated on November 8, 2023 at 4:57 pm

For more information, please contact

Steve Cotter, Natural Resources Manager, Parks and Recreation or 812-349-3736

Angela Van Rooy, Interim Communications Director, Office of the Mayor or 812-349-3505

Prescribed Fire, Deer Hunts Improve Plant Health, Diversity at Griffy Lake

Bloomington, Ind.Parks and Recreation natural resource managers are planning a nine-acre prescribed burn Nov. 9 at Griffy Lake Nature Preserve, on the north side of the lake near the Griffy Lake dam.

Nine-acre prescribed burn area, outlined in yellow, scheduled for Nov. 9, 2023 on the north shore of Griffy Lake Nature Preserve
Nine-acre prescribed burn area, outlined in yellow, scheduled for Nov. 9, 2023 on the north shore of Griffy Lake Nature Preserve

Additionally, in a continuing effort to improve plant and habitat diversity, deer hunts are scheduled to take place at Griffy Lake Nov. 18 and 19, and Dec. 2 and 3.

The prescribed burn will take place Nov. 9 depending on weather conditions and moisture levels necessary for safe and successful completion of the burn. Griffy Lake Nature Preserve will remain open during the prescribed fire, but the West North Shore Loop Trail will be closed during, and for at least one day after, the burn.

The burn is prescribed to allow more sunlight to reach the forest floor to create better conditions for regeneration of oak and hickory trees, which are currently outcompeted by other species. According to Parks and Recreation natural resources manager Steve Cotter, restored, native oak and hickory forests host a variety of insects that are critical in local food chains. These forests are also more resilient to climate change, including the impacts of increasing temperatures and drought conditions.

Habitat Solutions Wildlife and Forest Management will conduct the burn. Prescribed fire is an effective tool for managing hardwood forest ecosystems, as the low-intensity ground fire removes invasive and other undesirable plant species, recycles nutrients, and increases habitat diversity. In addition to the benefits for the ecosystem, prescribed fire is also effective in reducing the risk of large wildland fires.

Griffy Lake Nature Preserve will be closed to the public during the deer hunt weekends (Nov. 18-19 and Dec. 2-3), beginning at 11 p.m. the Friday before the hunt through 5 a.m. the Monday after the hunt. Only hunters who applied and were selected to participate in the hunt are permitted to hunt at Griffy Lake Nature Preserve. The nature preserve remains closed to public hunting.

The goal of the annual deer hunts is to remove enough deer from the nature preserve to reduce deer browse pressure on understory plants and seedling trees to the point that these species are able to recover, and to continue reproducing within the preserve.

Parks and Recreation has actively managed the deer population at Giffy Lake with sharpshoots or hunts since 2017. See the deer harvest data, and plant height study results, online.

For updated information, follow City of Bloomington, IN - Parks and Recreation on Facebook or call the Parks and Recreation office at 812-349-3700.


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