Lace up the hiking boots for a special levee hike through Stillwater Marsh in Monroe County on Dec. 31.

The hike will begin at 2 p.m. It’s free but limited to 20 participants. Registration is required by calling (812) 837-9546.

Hikers will meet at the North Fork check station, east of Bloomington.

During the winter and early spring, water is pumped into Stillwater Marsh from the north fork of Salt Creek to create an important resting area for waterfowl. In mid-April, the marsh is drained and then planted with wildlife food crops. The result is a rich habitat area for animals of all types.

“If the water is open, we should see a nice variety of waterfowl,” said Jill Vance, interpretive naturalist for Monroe Lake, who will lead the hike. “If the water is iced over, we’ll turn our attention to other fauna and flora that inhabit the marsh.”

Because Stillwater Marsh is closed to the public from mid-October to mid-April, this hike offers a unique opportunity to visit the habitat during the winter season.

The hike will follow the levee road right through the middle of the flooded marsh. It’s an easy hike over flat terrain, with a total distance of about 1.75 miles.

Monroe Lake is at 4850 South State Road 446, Bloomington, 47401.

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