By Maureen Hayden
After eight years in office, Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels may be best known for his aggressive efforts to fuel Indiana’s economy, but he’s also left an unexpected mark on the state’s conservation efforts.
During Daniels’ tenure, Indiana has added more than 50,000 acres of protected wildlife habitat and 3,000 miles of hiking and biking trails.
And, using $21 million from an untapped pot of state money that had been accumulating for years, Daniels has leveraged private and federal money to embark on the biggest land preservation projects in Indiana’s history.
The Republican Daniels came into office tagged with the nickname, “The Blade,” for the sharp knife he wielded as the President George W. Bush’s federal budget director.
But Mary McConnell, head of the Nature Conservancy in Indiana, says Daniels’ efforts to conserve land for wildlife and recreation has earned him a new title: “He’s the Teddy Roosevelt of Indiana.”
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