Location: From Hwy. 421, a few miles north of Medaryville at Hwy. 143; turn west and go to the entrance, a mile or so down the road. Ignore the first "parking area" sign; go to the well-marked headquarters entrance. County Road 1650W, to the marshes and observation towers is a short way farther.
Description: This is a nice place to visit most of the year, but its big claim to fame is in the fall from mid-October through November, when thousands of Sandhill Cranes make it a stopping-off point on their migration southwards. There are observation towers where you can look down on fields full of these huge (7-foot wingspan) birds, landing, taking off, standing around eating, and dancing. Best viewed just before dusk, its spectacular. There some marshy areas that are an interesting hike, a some prairie remnant patches full of big bluestem grass, which formerly covered thousands of acres in the northwest-central part of indiana. The cranes come back on their way north in the spring, but not in such huge numbers. Once youve gone, youll want to return every year.
Nearby Points of Interest: Tippecanoe River State Park, Spinn Prairie Nature Preserve. Also check out the tree nursery run by the State Forestry Department here (northeast side).
Cautions: Jasper-Pulaski has several functions; one of them is providing for hunting. Be aware of hunting seasons, but the area is well-managed to segregate hunters from birdwatchers. There are areas set aside for hunting only--stay out! Marshes breed mosquitoes--be prepared. Try not to fall asleep while passing through the exciting scenery on the way up and back.
Facilities: Crane Observation Towers, some of which can be rented for small groups or even overnight; primitive camping.