Land acquisition expands Hills of Gold conservation area

April 24, 2023

The Central Indiana Land Trust has recently acquired an additional 17.5 acres of environmentally significant forest land in southern Johnson County, once again expanding the Hills of Gold conservation area.

Zoned for new construction in a highly desirable location, the newly acquired property next to Betley Woods was at high risk for development. With this protection, the forest will stay in its natural state forever. It features various oak species and shagbark hickory and extends habitat for rare and imperiled species such as worm-eating and hooded warblers and Eastern box turtles.

“Protecting even a few acres in the right places can significantly help Indiana’s threatened flora and fauna flourish,” Cliff Chapman, president and CEO of CILTI, said in a media release. “The donors and partners who help us expand Betley Woods are making a difference that will resonate, literally, forever.”

Hoosiers will also soon have greater access to the area’s natural treasures.

CILTI recently announced a partnership with the Indiana Wildlife Federation, which received Next Level Trails funding from the state to build a sustainable trail system through Betley Woods.

The main trail will take hikers down ravines and across new bridges and stone crossings to explore the preserve’s bottomlands. An additional one-mile loop trail accessible to all ages and abilities will connect to the longer loop.

Land acquisition expands Hills of Gold conservation area