At slightly larger than 100 acres and 85 feet deep, Olin Lake is the largest undeveloped waterway left in Indiana, surrounded by woods and their wild inhabitants. Olin is one of hundreds of clear, natural lakes sprinkled across northern Indiana, left behind by glaciers thousands of years ago. They are known as kettle lakes and feature cool, deep waters.
Summer cottages or year round homes dot the shorelines of most of them. The same fate awaited Olin Lake a quarter- century ago. In 1975, the land surrounding the lake went up for sale, and real estate developers sought to purchase it -- reportedly to build a mobile home park.
Instead, The Nature Conservancy and some local residents stepped in, putting up nearly $260,000 at an auction to buy 360 acres. Some of the outlying land was then sold off for farming, with a legal agreement that it would not be developed.
The lake and its shoreline became a state-dedicated nature preserve, preventing any future development there. The woods in the area are noted for their massive red oaks and beech trees, with diameters of 3 feet or more -- as well as tiny wildflowers, such as false mermaid, with their 1/8-inch blooms. In springtime, the forest floor is awash with color from trilliums, celandine poppy, phlox, may apple and others.
The lake can be reached by water through a shallow connecting channel from nearby Oliver Lake, which has a small boat ramp. The nature preserve can be reached by car, with a small parking lot leading to 1 1/2 miles of walking trails through the woods.
Olin Lake Nature Preserve is home to a diverse collection of plants, animals and fish.
Plants and trees: Trout lily, Dutchman's breeches, Celandine poppy, Jack-in-the-pulpit, Skunk cabbage, Tamarack, Red oak, Beech
Mammals: White-tailed deer, Raccoon, Chipmunk
Fish: Rainbow trout, Brown trout, Largemouth bass,
Birds: Barred owl, Common loon, Canada goose
This summary was taken from an article which appeared in the Indianapolis Star on June 10, 2003. Placement on this website is with permission of the copyright owner.