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150 Guests Welcomed to Indianapolis’ Newest Nature Preserve: Oliver’s Woods

June 16, 2010 | Central Indiana Land Trust Inc. | Indianapolis, IN


Contact: Maria Steiner
Community Relations Director
Central Indiana Land Trust Inc.
1500 N. Delaware Street
Indianapolis, IN  46202
Phone: 317-631-5263

Friends and members of the Central Indiana Land Trust celebrated the permanent protection of fifty-three acres of nature this past Saturday, June 12th, 2010.  Not your typical nature preserve location, Oliver’s Woods is located in the heart of one of Indianapolis’s busiest shopping - and highest income – areas.  The nature preserve is located directly adjacent to the 683,000 square foot Keystone at the Crossing shopping area, widely known as Indiana’s luxury shopping mall.  It is anchored by Saks Fifth Avenue and Nordstrum and includes other retailers such as Tiffany & Co. and Williams Sonoma.  Also within walking distance of the preserve: over 1,000 hotel rooms and 40 restaurants.  About 180,000 people live within a five-mile radius of the property and boast an average household income of more than $85,000, more than double Indiana’s average household income.  

Former landowner Oliver Blair Daugherty ensured the permanent protection of his family’s land by bequeathing it to the Central Indiana Land Trust upon his passing in 2009.  He lived on the land until he became ill in 2008, and fended off many purchase offers over the years – with at least one offer coming in at $14 million.  

This 53 acres had been in Mr. Daugherty’s family since the mid-1800s, when his great-grandfather received it as a land grant.  The land has been named Oliver’s Woods Nature Preserve in his honor.  Oliver’s Woods also features a home, named the Daugherty House, which will eventually become the Land Trust’s headquarters.  The home was built in the late 1800s as a Dutch Colonial and has many historical features.  Additions were built on in the 1950s, including a kitchen and garage.  

One hundred fifty guests were in attendance as Indiana Supreme Court Chief Justice Randall Shepard spoke to the importance of a community’s access to nature.

“We are delighted that Oliver Daugherty chose to preserve this beautiful natural area in the midst of such a highly developed part of the city, and we are honored that he chose the Central Indiana Land Trust as the vehicle for doing so.  Mr. Daugherty’s wishes and the mission of the Land Trust are a perfect fit.  The Central Indiana Land Trust will ensure that this land is protected forever,” said Heather Bacher, Executive Director for the Central Indiana Land Trust.

Mr. Daugherty generally kept to himself, but was interviewed by Jeff Kollath for the Indianapolis Parks Department in 2003.  When asked what he would like to see done with the land either during or after his lifetime, Mr. Daugherty said, “I’d like to see what’s here stay here.”

The new preserve has 16 acres of forest and 37 acres of prairie restoration, as well as a mile of White River frontage.  This will be the Land Trust’s seventh protected site located on the White River, central Indiana’s largest river.  The White River is of particular environmental importance, as it supplies over 500,000 residents with their drinking water, as well as recreational opportunities for many anglers and paddlers.

In the future, the preserve will be open for the public to use for wildlife viewing and hiking.  A portion of it is in an easement with the City of Indianapolis for the southern portion of Town Run Park mountain bike trails.  The area under easement will continue to serve the community as mountain bike trails.

About the Central Indiana Land Trust

The Central Indiana Land Trust is a 501 (c) 3 not-for-profit organization that has protected over 3,800 acres in central Indiana through conservation easements, fee simple land acquisition, and land protection partnerships.  The Land Trust manages 15 of their 28 properties as nature preserves that are open to the public.

Through land protection, stewardship and education, the Central Indiana Land Trust preserves natural areas, improving air and water quality and enhancing life in our communities for present and future generations.  For more information, please visit


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