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Photographer documents state park system’s living history

PARKE COUNTY, Ind. (WISH) – As Indiana celebrates its Bicentennial, 2016 marks another milestone for the state; the first state parks opened 100 years ago.

In 1916, leaders started the park system with the opening of McCormick’s Creek State Park and Turkey Run later the same year as a gift to Hoosiers for the centennial.

Decades of the system’s history have been documented by Outdoor Indiana, a magazine published by the Department of Natural Resources.

According to the DNR, Outdoor Indiana has more than 12,500 subscribers.

A day in the office for photographer and writer John Maxwell includes trekking trails and terrain of some of the 400,000 acres of forest, water and wetlands the state preserves.

“There’s always something new to find. There (are) always different people (at the parks),” Maxwell said. “We now have a state park within an hour’s drive of every Hoosier and that was our goal to get to at the end of the 100 years.”

Maxwell has spent 28 years witnessing the parks’ living history through a lens and says every hike and photograph remains a first.

“It’s not the greatest way to make a living but it’s a good way to live a life, just getting out and experiencing the outdoors and sharing it with all our readers,” Maxwell said.

To learn more about Outdoor Indiana, click here.