Preservation advocates have scored an additional 107 acres, land in Huntington they say will be forever saved from development.
ACRES Land Trust and the Our Lady of Victory Missionary Sisters on Tuesday announced they have closed last month on the sale of prairie and forest property near Victory Noll Center, 1900 W. Park Drive.
The land, which will be known as Victory Noll Acres, features oaks, maples and sycamores, as well as steep ravines and rolling prairie areas, according to a news release. The property is on the top of a bluff overlooking the Wabash River valley, with the edge of the bluff forming the original bank of the river, first carved out by the rushing waters of a melting glacier.
ACRES Land Trust Executive Director Jason Kissel said the acquisition is especially significant because of other preserves in the area along the river. The goal is that eventually separate preserves will be connected to protect the area's unique ecology.
“This land has significance on its own, so if it never connects to other preserves in the area, that's OK, but we believe it's a piece of the puzzle toward protecting the entire ancient river bank,” Kissel said in a statement.
“This land has been very significant to the Victory Noll Sisters since 1925, when they moved into their mother house, Victory Noll,” said Sister Ginger Downey, the Victory Noll sisters' general secretary.
“Over the years this land has been a place of recreation and enjoyment, as well as solace and prayer, not only for the sisters but for many other who have come to visit.”
Before acquiring Victory Noll Acres, ACRES Land Trust already protected 242 acres at the site.
The Our Lady of Victory Missionary Sisters sold the 107 acres at a significant discount to ACRES, according to outreach manager Lettie Haver. ACRES also secured additional funding: Indiana's Bicentennial Nature Trust awarded $270,000, the Indiana Heritage Trust awarded $35,000, and a private donor contributed $64,000 toward the acquisition.
ACRES members protect 6,686 acres of natural places and working land in northeast Indiana, northwest Ohio and southern Michigan.