I have always believed our state recreation areas provide all Hoosiers with opportunities for many types of outdoor activities, whether it’s bird watching, hiking, hunting, fishing or even riding ORVs.

Everyone should have the chance to pursue it on public land, with no one having more of the right over anyone else. Naturally riding off-road should only be done in areas designated for that type of use.

Normally this space is reserved for the more consumptive such as plying our state’s waters or pursuing varieties of wild game. But Indiana hosts an area available for off-roading, which has continually grown in popularity.

Some enjoy it to test limits, of their machine or themselves. It gives a chance to explore where the view always changes. A time to beat the sometimes mundane of daily life while travelling on the less tracked. Everything that happens is under your direct control.

Redbird State Recreation Area (SRA), located near the town of Dugger, serves off-road vehicle riders. The public area has been closed since March in order to complete many upgrades. The first phase of the project allowed for the construction of a new entrance and office building including gatehouse. This will allow riders better access to the property’s many trails and has been part of the long-term plan for years. Record spring rainfall delayed the project by nearly six weeks.

The newly reopened property will resume normal hours of sunrise to sunset seven days a week. Daily ORV trail-use fees will remain at $15 for registered vehicles, which includes the entrance fee. Out-of-state riders whose vehicles are not registered can purchase an annual registration sticker for $20 plus the standard daily fee.

Named after the Redbird Coal Mine, the property is approximately 1,400 acres of former surface and underground mine land. Miles of trails for all skill levels bring ORV enthusiasts to the property and reward them with unique experiences and challenges. From gentle slopes to the technically difficult, the property has trails almost anyone can enjoy.

In addition to the miles of off-road trails, the property also hosts several quality fishing lakes that can be easily accessed. Hiking is allowed over most of the property as well as mountain biking. In the spring the state area is a favorite among mushroom hunters.

Future plans call for the addition of picnic areas, additional trails and an interpretive center showcasing the coal mining operations in southern Indiana. This property is unique in the fact that it provides diverse recreational activities for those with various interests.

Redbird SRA is located at 15298 W. County Rd. 350 N., Linton.

DUCKS UNLIMITED

The Howard County Chapter of Ducks Unlimited will host its annual banquet on Sept. 21 at the Elite Banquet Center. Doors open at 5 p.m. with dinner at 6:30. Local fundraising activities like these play an important role in continuing conservation efforts for waterfowl as well as other forms of wildlife that benefit from habitat protection.

The banquet will host a variety of raffles and games where attendees can win firearms, framed artwork, handmade knives, decoys and outdoor gear. There will also be activities specifically geared for children. This is a perfect venue to help protect our wildlife resources for future generations.

WORK ON BOAT RAMP

The boat ramp on the Kokomo Reservoir, located on County Rd. 400 East, was again the recipient of a noticeable improvement. This upgrade was provided though the generosity and volunteer efforts of local businessman Erick Miller, owner of County Line Excavating and Trucking. He was aided by the help of Troy Yundt and Doug Pence.

Through two days of work the trio cut out, then installed, new boat-prep lanes at the sometimes busy launch area. This addition will make launching a boat at the popular site easier and quicker. Now boaters will have an area to prep their watercraft, either for the water or the trip back home, safer while reducing congestion. This is just another example of local people doing good things for the betterment of all those who use our local reservoir.

TOURNEY RESULTS

• Phil and Randy Reel led the field of 34 teams, winning Monday’s Kokomo Reservoir open team bass tourney, sponsored by Cardwell Built Construction and Roby’s Bullseye Outdoors. The father-and-son team won the event with four largemouth bass totaling 7.79 pounds.

Frank Brown reeled in second place with three bass weighing 6.03 pounds. Third place went to Shawn Burton and Bart Grider with two fish dropping the scales at 5.95 pounds. The team of Adam Blankenberger and Ethan Miller left with the tourney’s award for biggest bass after weighing in a largemouth tipping the scales at 4.39 pounds.

• Wayne Eads and Paul Crow swept Tuesday’s Delphi-Delco team bass tourney, held on Mississinewa, with two fish totaling 3 pounds, 4 ounces. They earned the award for biggest fish with a fish tipping the scales at 1 pound, 10 ounces. Jim Helvig and Larry Richards were second with one fish weighing 1 pound, 10 ounces. Mike Harrison and Bill Luster edged out third place with a fish weighing 1 pound, 6 ounces.

John Martino is the Tribune’s outdoors columnist. He may be reached by email at jmartinooutdoors@att.net.

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