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It’s been 50 years since Portland Arch Nature Preserve was recognized as a National Natural Landmark. Join us for a special hike to celebrate. This hike will take place, rain or shine, on Saturday Oct. 21, and is open to 25 participants.

What is a National Natural Landmark?
An area is given this federal designation for outstanding biological and/or geological features. Portland Arch was added to the program in 1973 in recognition of its natural bridge, which was created as a small tributary stream carved an opening through its massive Mansfield sandstone formation. Bear Creek flows through its deep ravine, and the high rock walls add to the beauty of the site.

A few native white pine are mixed with oaks and hickories on the thin mantle of soil on steep slopes. The ground is covered with mosses and lichens and supports scattered beds of blueberry, huckleberry, and wintergreen. This is the only place in the state where the Canada blueberry is found. The rare native bush honeysuckle is found here as well. Vertical cliff faces have small crevices from which grow bulblet, hayscented, and marginal shield ferns. Several colonies of Forbe’s saxifrage are found in larger pockets of soil. Liverworts cover moist portions of some rocks and are occasionally joined by the creeping fronds of walking fern. Portland Arch has been recognized for being unique since the first settlers came to western Indiana. A resort and then a Boy Scout camp were located in this area in the past. In addition to being a National Natural Landmark, Portland Arch is a nature preserve.
 
Wear appropriate clothing and footwear, bring water, sunscreen, and bug spray.
Bring binoculars and a hand lens, too, if you have them.
No restroom facilities.
 
More info about the National Natural Landmarks Program:
The program is administered by the National Park Service. Established in 1962 with the intention of partnering with landowners to benefit these natural and culturally significant sites. Landmarks are located in rural and urban areas. To date, more than 600 natural areas have received this distinction. 

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