Ground broken for office, visitor center at Goose Pond
LINTON-Governor Mitch Daniels joined representatives of the Department of Natural Resources and other officials today in a groundbreaking ceremony at the site of a planned regional office and visitor’s center at Goose Pond Fish & Wildlife Area.
The initial phase of the Goose Pond building will be construction of a 4,800-square-foot office that will serve as the southwest regional headquarters for the DNR Division of Fish & Wildlife. Construction is expected to begin this year.
A second phase, still in development, will be a visitor’s center to accommodate the growing number of people coming to the property. Goose Pond recorded 3,500 hunting efforts (one hunter visit for one day) and an estimated 12,000 wildlife watchers in the past year.
Conceptual drawings for the visitor center by the DNR Division of Engineering include floor-to-ceiling glass walls overlooking the site’s large wetland. Final details await completion of a study to determine appropriate displays, educational materials, and other features for the visitor center.
As a show of support for the visitor’s center, the Friends of Goose Pond group on Friday pledged $25,000 towards its construction.
The 8,064-acre Goose Pond complex, including nearby Beehunter Marsh, was acquired by the DNR in 2005. In addition to hunting and fishing opportunities, the site’s expansive wetlands and prairie have quickly made it a popular destination for wildlife viewing, especially bird watching.
More than 240 bird species have been recorded at Goose Pond, including a number of rare and endangered birds, such as northern harrier, short-eared owl, Wilson’s phalarope, sandhill crane, whooping crane, American bitten, least bitten, king rail, sedge wren, and Henslow’s sparrow.
Two birds whose home territory is Asia found their way to Goose Pond earlier this year-an Asian hooded crane in February, and a curely sandpiper in May.