McVey Memorial Forest

McVey Memorial Forest is a wonderful example of upland and lowland forests, prairie, wetlands, and river habitat. The three scenic natural trails meander through diverse landscapes and habitats along Bush Creek with an overlook of the Mississinewa River. 

Edna McVey established this nature preserve in her will to be a wildlife sanctuary. McVey Memorial Forest is adjacent to hundreds of acres of a forest managed by the Indiana Department of Natural Resources; making this area one of the largest wildlife corridors in east central Indiana.

The vital wildlife habitat within this preserve is undergoing decades-long restoration efforts. Sections of this preserve may be closed for wildlife habitat improvement projects.

Visit our Current Conservation Projects page to learn more about restoration efforts at this site.

In September 2012, Red-tail Land Conservancy became the court-appointed trustees of McVey Memorial Forest in Randolph County, Indiana, acting as the caretakers and managers to fulfill the wishes of the nature preserve’s former owner and champion, Edna McVey (1885-1958).

Edna Mae McVey was born on March 8, 1885, in Ridgeville, Indiana, less than 10 miles east of where she would live most of her life. Edna McVey and her family owned property that encompassed what is now McVey Memorial Forest. They farmed only part of it, leaving the woodland itself undisturbed.

Edna never married. Upon her passing on August 2, 1958, her brothers Lewis, Charles, and James acted as her heirs. Lewis was bequeathed Edna’s farmhouse near the forest to live in for the rest of his life. In her last will and testament, Edna formed the “McVey Memorial Forest Trust” with the purpose to, “establish, develop, and maintain a natural forest in Randolph County…to be used as a sanctuary and refuge for wildlife…called McVey Memorial Forest.”

Lewis and Charles executed similar wills with funds and lands joining the McVey Memorial Forest Trust.

In her will, Edna outlined specific objectives to the trustee who would manage the forest:

To establish a refuge for wildlife by providing shelter and food in the size and quantity as will produce and maintain the greatest number of wild animals, birds, and fish.

To foster and encourage the growth of native trees and timber which would be cut only as necessary for healthful growth and maintenance. To allow for a sufficient number of hollow trees for nests and refuge for wildlife. 

To plant and re-plant trees as necessary to create a forest of scenic beauty for the enjoyment of the general public and the best natural shelter for wildlife.

To prohibit hunting or fishing except when it shall be in the best interest of the forest.

To erect a bronze plaque in memory of Edna, Lewis, and Charles McVey, stating the forest was made possible through their three wills.

As the trustees of the McVey Memorial Forest Trust and managers of McVey Memorial Forest, Red-tail honors Edna’s desire to protect and restore her forest so that wildlife can flourish, and people can enjoy the property as she did.


Acres: 249

Accessibility: Open to the Public

Features: Parking lots, picnic shelter, hiking trails (total trail length 3.5 miles), pond overlook

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