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Natural Awakenings Indianapolis

Group Trespasses on Crown Hill North Forest to Save It

On March 13, the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs issued a stop work order and a promise to open dialogue with the public about the proposed site of a columbaria where the Crown Hill North Forest currently stands with trees that pre-date European settlement. A group of concerned citizens trespassed onto the property with the intention to stay until such a promise was made.

As news of the forest protectors making their stand spread across the city, so did the outpouring of support, which included more than 500 calls to the VA in one weekend, people bringing snacks and warm drinks to the protectors, and others even joining the protest.

Wholly unaffiliated with any official organization, the group consisted of about a dozen people, most of which were complete strangers until just 36 hours before the protest started. It included four veterans, local business owners, childcare providers, the director of Fishable Indiana Streams for Hoosiers, Indianapolis City-County Councilor Zach Adamson, and a 15-year-old tree climber. When their lawyer, Russ Sipes, who volunteered to represent the protectors pro bono, confirmed the stop work order, the group cleared logs they had dragged across the access road, removed all of their belongings, picked up trash inside and outside the fence and covered stumps of some trees already cut down with soil so that they might re-sprout for future generations to enjoy.

The grassroots group decided to officially form under the name Crown Hill Forest Protectors and are actively seeking participants for future action.

For more information, visit or follow them on Facebook and Twitter.

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