Madison, Ind.’s Clifty Falls
State Park hires new manager
Walker comes from nearby Versailles State Park
(December 2018) – For the first time in 46 years, Clifty Falls State Park in Madison, Ind., is under new leadership. Brad Walker couldn’t be happier to take the reins as the new property manager. After spending his first five years with the Indiana Department of Natural Resources working as the Assistant Property Man-ager at Versailles State Park, he said he is thrilled to be bringing his enthusiasm and experience to Clifty Falls.
“Personally, I think this is the most amazing place east of the Mississippi,” says Walker, 41. “It’s like three different parks – in the summer, in the fall when the leaves are gone, and then in the winter when the snow is on. It takes on whole new personalities.”
Already scheduled at the park is a hike on New Year’s Day, where visitors can experience firsthand the beauty of the winter terrain.
Photo by Julie Stockman
Brad Walker is the new property manager at Clifty Falls State Park. He has many ideas for programming there.
When describing his next steps as property manager, Walker is at first pragmatic and methodical. Before he does anything else, he explains, he intends to learn the park really well. He wants to know the terrain and the trails “inside, outside, and upside down.”
Clifty Inn is hosting a Madison Area Chamber After Hours event there on Dec. 19, when the community will have the chance to meet Walker and Brinson.
Drawing on his experience at Versailles State Park, he knows that the time will come that he gets a call from a lost hiker. Once you know the trails, he says, you can walk them back on the phone. It’s clear that visitor safety is his top priority.
After that, he said he is excited to engage the surrounding community as much as possible. With a nod to other state parks that lie 20 miles or more from the nearest town, he points out how the proximity to Madison offers Clifty Falls opportunities for community engagement that are hard to find elsewhere.
Natalie Brinson, also from Versailles State Park, is joining him as his assistant at Clifty Falls. In addition to being an Indiana Master Naturalist, Brinson notes her strong interest in photography, and she says she looks forward to capturing and sharing the park with her lens.
The two were a great team at Versailles, says Walker, and together, they plan to bring many of the same events they organized there, including 5K runs, night hikes and dog walks.
Other initiatives on his agenda are efforts to make the park more ecofriendly. Most lighting fixtures inside the Inn and outside around the park will be converted to LEDs. He even has plans to install some electric car chargers.
Looking out over the Ohio River from the huge picture windows of the Clifty Inn, Walker said he feels lucky. “It is breathtaking, to put it mildly,” he says. “Luck is where preparation meets opportunity, and that is the epitome of my life today.”
He encourages the community to reach out via the park’s Facebook page to offer suggestions and learn about upcoming events.
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