Morgan–Monroe State Forest

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Morgan–Monroe State State Forest
Map showing the location of Morgan–Monroe State State Forest
Map showing the location of Morgan–Monroe State State Forest
Location Morgan County and Monroe County, Indiana, USA
Nearest city Martinsville, Indiana
Coordinates 39°19′16″N 86°24′48″W / 39.32111°N 86.41333°W / 39.32111; -86.41333Coordinates: 39°19′16″N 86°24′48″W / 39.32111°N 86.41333°W / 39.32111; -86.41333
Area 24,000 acres (97.12 km2)
Established 1929
Governing body Indiana Department of Natural Resources

Morgan–Monroe State Forest is a state forest in Morgan County and Monroe County of Indiana, and is the second largest state forest in Indiana. The 24,000 acres (97 km2) comprising this deciduous forest were abandoned farmland, as the previous residents realized that the land's rocky soil was very poor for agricultural purposes, which the state of Indiana purchased in 1929 to prevent further erosion and to create the state forest.[1][2]

Indiana's first Civilian Conservation Corps camp was in Morgan–Monroe State Forest in May 1933.[3] The fire tower for the forest is no longer usable, but in 1999 was placed on the National Register of Historic Places.[4]

An AmeriFLUX/FLUXNET tower, for the purpose of measuring water, carbon dioxide, and heat levels in a mixed hardwood ecosystem, is located within the forest. This tower is maintained by Indiana University's Department of Geography.[5]

Within the state forest is Stepp Cemetery, which dates back to the 19th Century. The cemetery is believed be haunted by a woman (the Black Lady) who lost her baby son in a tragic accident in the 1930s, and remains near the grave of her beloved child to this day. Some versions of the story claim the woman chases visitors.[6] Some accounts also state that their dog's ghost also guards the baby's grave.[7] Additionally, other versions of this story include dead teenager and roadworkers who will chase visitors. Paranormal investigators have reportedly captured orbs and EVPs in the cemetery. The cemetery has been extensively vandalized.[6]

Recreation activities include four hiking trails. Hunting in the state forest is for deer, fox, ruffed grouse, raccoon, squirrel, and turkey. Another highlight is the Draper Cabin, which is one hundred years old and may be rented overnight.[8]

Cherry Lake is noted for its fishing. Folklore states that it is due to the employees of former Indiana governors made sure to stock the lake so that when governors "held meetings" in a nearby cabin, there would be good fishing afterwards.[9]

Morgan–Monroe State Forest, along with nearby Yellowwood State Forest, are among the very few places in Indiana where one can pan for gold, although a free permit is required first before doing any prospecting.[9]

Indiana University's Morgan-Monroe Observatory is located in the Morgan–Monroe State Forest.


  1. ^ DNR - Division of Forestry: Morgan-Monroe State Forest
  2. ^ Conn, Earl My Indiana:101 Places to See. (Indiana Historical Society Press, 2006). pg.74.
  3. ^ National Park Service (2010-07-09). "National Register Information System". National Register of Historic Places. National Park Service. 
  4. ^ Conn pg.74
  5. ^ Indiana University Atmospheric Science Morgan-Monroe State Forest Eddy Covariance Tower
  6. ^ a b Kobrowski, Nicole Encyclopedia of Haunted Indiana 1st Ed. ISBN 978-0-9774130-2-7 (Unseen Press), 2008
  7. ^ Hammans, Justin. Encyclopedia of Haunted Places (Chartwell Books, 2008) pg.119
  8. ^ Morgan-Monroe State Forest
  9. ^ a b Morgan Monroe State Forest