Natural Bridge State Park was established in 1973. It totals about 530 acres, including a 60-acre scientific area. A self-guided nature trail explains the many ways native plants were used through out history by Native Americans & the first European settlers of this area. A two mile long hiking trail is located in the woods on the other side of the highway. There is a small picnic area but you may not camp at this park.
Writing just below the bridge under a small outcropping is one of the oldest known sites where people had lived in the Midwest. It is believed that people were living at Natural Bridge from 10,000 to 12,000 years ago! The earliest estimates of human occupation are between 9000 and 8000 B.C. Animal remains identified include 15 mollusk species and 50 vertebrate species. Of special interest are the remains of passenger pigeon, turkey, elk, wolf, bobcat, fisher, marten, and mountain lion.
Over the many years since then, people have carved their names and initials into the soft sand stone and you can still see soot stains from the fires of the original residents down through history to those today sneaking in for an over-nighter.
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