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Redbird State Riding Area: Dugger, Indiana 

RedbirdSRA.com logoIndiana is on the verge of getting its first state-sanctioned off-highway vehicle park: The Redbird State Riding Area near Dugger in the southwestern part of the state.

The park sits on the site of a former coal mine, providing riders with lots of steep inclines as well as muddy valleys.

Dugger, IndianaFunding for the park comes from registration fees paid by riders, along with money from the federal Recreational Trail Fund, raised from a portion of the gas taxes paid by OHV enthusiasts, and daily riding fees. All told, the state Department of Natural Resources has invested more than $1 million in the project.

Opening ceremonies were held June 7 for the 225-acre park. As of August, though, the facility was still closed to riding because construction of parking and other facilities hadn't been completed.

The parking, shelter and restroom facilities were being built but then heavy rains hit, flooding the area and putting a stop to construction.

Meanwhile, law enforcement is patrolling the area to ensure that nobody rides there until the facility is open.

The area was once the site of the Redbird Coal Company mine, which closed in 1950.

In the 1970s, off-road riders found the area, with its steep hills, to be a great place to ride.

In the late 1990s, the state Department of Natural Resources acquired 200 acres, with plans to buy another 400.

Once the Redbird State Riding Area opens for this year, it will only be open on weekends and holidays from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.

The cost is $10 a day. Plus, your ATV must be registered with the state Department of Natural Resources, which costs $30 for three years.

You must obtain a daily use permit to use the riding area, sign a liability release, and have a photo identification that shows your age.

No alcohol is allowed, and all ATVs must have spark arrestors and mufflers. Plus, riders must wear helmets and over-the-ankle boots.

To get there, go west out of Linton, Indiana, on state Route 54 toward Dugger. Go past the intersection of state Routes 54 and 59 about 2 1/2 miles to 1500 West. Traveling north on 1500 West, take the first gravel road on the left, which is 350 North.

To find out when the area will open for riding, contact the state Department of Natural Resources at (317) 232-4070 or go to the Redbird website at www.redbirdsra.com.