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May 1, 2014

Indiana state parks welcome you back May 2-4

Celebrate spring at Indiana’s 24 state parks and eight reservoirs during Welcome Back Weekend, Friday through Sunday.

The weekend features outdoor programs, free admission for veterans and active duty military personnel on Saturday, free admission for everyone on Sunday and an invitation to share pictures and tweet about your state park visit.

The free admission also applies to state forest recreation areas.

“Our properties are inexpensive places to relax, play, exercise and enjoy the outdoors,” said Dan Bortner, DNR State Parks & Reservoirs director. “This weekend is an invitation to shake out the tent or set up the camper and enjoy all that our state parks have to offer.”

Welcome Back Weekend events include:

• Morel Mushroom Festival at Brown County State Park.

• A “Hound Hike” at Shakamak State Park.

• World War I Weekend at Fort Harrison State Park.

• Geocaching at Harmonie State Park.

• Wildflower/fern program with DNR botanist Mike Homoya at Ouabache State Park.

• Walking-stick workshop at Patoka Lake.

For a complete list and details, see stateparks.IN.gov/5882.htm.

Visitors are encouraged to share their Welcome Back Weekend experiences via social media. They can:

• Use the hashtag #welcomebackIN and give us a shout-out on Twitter (@INdnrstateparks), Facebook (INdnrstateparksandreservoirs) and Instagram (@indianadnr).

• Take a selfie at their favorite state park and share it on social media with hashtag #welcomebackIN.

• Submit photos to the DNR Flickr page and photo contest. More information is at stateparks.IN.gov/5997.htm.

Visitors will notice changes and improvements around the state. Caves at Spring Mill State Park are reopening to groups with permits this summer, and Wolf Cave at McCormick’s Creek State Park is reopening to everyone.

See a list of updates for all properties at stateparks.IN.gov/2441.htm.

Sunday also kicks off Travel Indiana Week, sponsored by the Indiana Office of Tourism Development.

Most entrance gates will still be staffed Sunday, so visitors can purchase their annual pass, lake permit or horse tags for the season. An Annual Entrance Pass costs $40 for a state resident and $20 for state residents ages 65 and older.

An out-of-state pass costs $60. Special SPR Go! Value Packages that include Annual Entrance Passes can be purchased at innsgifts.com.

Admission at most properties for non-veterans or non-military personnel on Saturday will be $5 per in-state vehicle and $7 per out-of-state vehicle.

On Saturday, veterans should show military ID, a V.A. card or Disabled Hoosier Veteran license plate, an Indiana veteran's driver's license or discharge papers with accompanying state photo ID.

Free admission extends to anyone in the same vehicle.

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