DNR warns of crowded public lands during April 8 eclipse

INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. -- The Indiana Department of Natural Resources (DNR) is prepping for the total solar eclipse coming to Hoosier skies on April 8, and they want to remind the public to expect more-than-usual traffic on DNR properties that day.

"Much of Indiana will be in the zone of totality for the total solar eclipse on April 8, including 54 properties managed by the Indiana DNR that will provide an excellent vantage point for viewing the once-in-a-lifetime event," DNR officials say. "If you plan to visit a state park, state forest, fish & wildlife area, or state-managed nature preserve within the zone of totality, expect to have a lot of company, plus the long lines and traffic that come with it — and plan for a full day enjoying the outdoors in spring’s often fickle weather."

Officials say if you live in the zone of totality, it might be best to view the event from your own backyard to avoid the crowds.

“We look forward to welcoming thousands of Hoosiers and guests to see and feel the effects of this amazing astronomical event with the wonderful backdrop our public lands provide,” said DNR director Dan Bortner. “We have guests coming in from across Indiana, the country, and the globe to camp, stay at our inns, or spend the day with us. As you prepare your eclipse-day plans, we want you to be prepared to make the most of your time with us.”

Tips from the Indiana DNR:

  • Arrive early and stay put. Entrance gates (where they exist) open at 7 a.m. When parking areas are full, gates will close to cars and pedestrians. If you leave before the eclipse, you may not be able to get back in.
  • Bring your Annual Entrance Pass. Properties with entrance gates will charge gate fees. Cash or credit cards will be accepted, but showing your pass will help the lines move more quickly.
  • Bring cash. Wireless communications in the zone will likely be slow, so bring extra cash for food, drinks, gate entrance, and commemorative items that may be for sale, just in case.
  • Pick up ID tags. Free ID wristbands for kids will be available at or near entrance gates at most properties.
  • Bring lawn chairs and a picnic. The eclipse actually begins between noon and 1 p.m. depending on where you are, but you’ll want to arrive long before that. Some but not all locations may be selling food.
  • Fill your gas tank before you come. People from all over the world will be visiting, and gridlock may ensue as you head home.
  • Pack your car and your patience. Bring extra snacks, water and first aid supplies/medicines and a backpack of car games, videos, or other entertainment for the kids to enjoy during travel.
  • Monitor traffic at INDOT TrafficWise or 511IN.org.

Click here for more eclipse information.

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