Crown Hill North Woods


A child spontaneously embraces one of the largest trees in the Crown Hill North Woods. Photo by Elizabeth Mahoney.

350+ citizens gather to protest the destruction of the Crown Hill North Woods on 9/25/16. Photo by Daniel Axler.











The Crown Hill North Woods are saved for now! On May 5, 2017, the VA and Crown Hill Cemetery reached an agreement that relocates the veterans columbarium project within Crown Hill, to the east of the woods. The Indiana Forest Alliance applauds this decision that both honors our veterans and Indiana’s natural history. The next step: keeping this forest off the chopping block for good!  Read the story in the news here.

Destroying an old-growth forest was never an appropriate way to honor our veterans or our natural heritage. At the urging of Indianapolis Mayor Joe Hogsett, Senator Joe Donnelly, and Representative Andre Carson, the VA and Crown Hill Cemetery selected a new site for the veterans columbaria.

THANK those who corrected course and saved the woods for now:

Major Joe Hogsett: (317) 327-3601 / e-mail via his webpage


On March 8, 2017 Indianapolis Mayor Joe Hogsett called upon the Department of Veterans Affairs “to halt their efforts to develop the site.

On March 13, 2017, a group of citizens calling themselves the Crown Hill Forest Protectors risked arrest to stop construction and tree clearing at the site. A stop-work order was issued that day. And on May 5, after behind-the-scenes efforts by Indiana’s U.S. congressional delegation, the VA announced it would build its project in the empty acreage adjacent to the woods.

This reversal followed months of advocacy, marches, pickets and vigils, including thousands of phone calls to officials from friends and members of the Indiana Forest Alliance.

Why did we fight so hard to save these woods? The Crown Hill North Woods is of great ecological and community value. Dr. Donald Ruch, Dr. Kemuel Badger, and John Taylor of the Ball State University biology department conduced a site assessment in which they stated: “all efforts should be made to conserve this example of Indiana’s natural heritage.” A Floristic Quality Assessment, completed by Butler University biologist Dr. Rebecca Dolan and plant expert Kevin Tungesvick, shows that the vegetation in the Crown Hill North Woods ranks comparably to that of the highest quality nature preserves in central Indiana.


Indiana Forest Alliance | Heartlands Group of the Sierra Club Hoosier Chapter | Hoosier Environmental Council | School for Community Learning | OVRTHERE.COM | Alliance of Crown Hill Neighbors | Amos Butler Audubon: Central Indiana | The Northside Montessori School | Unitarian Universalist Church of Indianapolis | Butler-Tarkington Neighborhood Association | Veterans in Industry & Arts | Indiana Interchurch Center | Crown Hill Neighborhood Association | Marion County Alliance of Neighborhood Associations | River Park Club Neighborhood Association | Nora-Northside Community Council, Inc.


Ronald E. Walters (Interim Undersecretary for Memorial Affairs) March 22, 2017 statement

The Destruction of Crown Hill North Woods YouTube Video (by Liam Murphy, Carmen Labella & Prasad Rajamani) 

Letter to VA from Senator Donnelly and Congressman Carson

3/8/17 Statement from Indianapolis Mayor Joe Hogsett 

Petition to print & circulate

Veterans petition to print & circulate

Butler-Tarkington Neighborhood Association Letter of Support

Crown Hill Decision-Makers Contact List with Talking Points

Crown Hill North Woods Case Statement

Press release on ecological assessment of the Crown Hill North Woods

Crown Hill Neighborhood Association Letter to Andr Carson

Ecological Assessment of the Crown Hill North Woods by Dr. Donald Ruch, Dr. Kemuel Badger, & John Taylor

Crown Hill Forest Defense Fund

Will the Government Erase the Only Old-Growth Forest in Inner-City Indianapolis?

What Can Save a 300-Year-Old Indianapolis Forest?

Pictures?of the Crown Hill Cemetery North Woods

9/8/15 FONSI (Finding of No Significant Impact)

9/9/15 Environmental Assessment

IDNR Site Assessment- 3/24/2006

Veteran’s Administration Design Plan