The Columbia Mine Preserve in Southwestern Indiana opened to the public today. The property is just over a thousand acres. It's part of the Patoka River National Wildlife Refuge. The preserve was supposed to open in October for Refuge Appreciation Day - but the federal government shutdown delayed those plans. The mine preserve harbors and protects rare birds- river otters and bobcats.
"It's a dream fulfilled! A tremendous amount of time and effort went in to accomplisihing the protection of this land for fish and wildlife and for the benefit of the public", says Refuge Manager, Bill McCoy.
Hunters wont be able to hunt on the preserve just yet. There's a long process that goes into getting land on the federal register for hunting and fishing.