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Portland Arch Nature Preserve

CR 650N.
Attica, IN

Bear Creek flows through a deep ravine with high rock walls. It is joined by a small tributary stream that has carved an opening through a massive Mansfield sandstone formation and created a natural bridge known as Portland Arch. A few native white pine are mixed with oaks and hickories on the thin mantle of soil on steep slopes. The ground is covered with mosses and lichens, and supports scattered beds of blueberry, huckleberry, and wintergreen. This is the only place in the state where the Canada blueberry is found. The rare native bush honeysuckle is found here as well. Vertical cliff faces have small crevices from which grow bulblet, hayscented, and marginal shield ferns. Several colonies of Forbe’s saxifrage are found in larger pockets of soil. Liverworts cover moist portions of some rocks, and are occasionally joined by the creeping fronds of walking fern. Portland Arch has been recognized for its uniqueness since the first settlers came to western Indiana. A resort and then a Boy Scout camp were located in this area in the past. Now Portland Arch is a National Natural Landmark, as well as a nature preserve The Miller-Campbell Memorial Addition is dedicated in memory of Sam Miller and Ron Campbell. Sam was involved in Portland Arch from the beginning, becoming a volunteer steward for 30 years. Ron was the first “field” person for the Division of Nature Preserves, and primary property manager for all the preserves. Portland Arch was among his favorite natural areas.
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