Crown Hill Woods

Saving One of Indianapolis' Remaining Older-Growth Forests

The Crown Hill North Woods are safe … 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 saved the woods:

Mayor Joe Hogsett: (317) 327-3601 / e-mail via Mayor’s 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.


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

Indiana’s forests need you! Be part of an active, engaged network of forest advocates from all over Indiana. What can you do? Join IFA! Volunteer! Or write to or call officials on behalf of Indiana’s forests.