FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WANE) — It may be seven months away, but the Indiana Department of Natural Resources will have been planning for seven years by the time the next total solar eclipse occurs. The next total solar eclipse will be on April 8, 2024, and, during the afternoon hours, a major portion of the Hoosier state is in the path of totality.
Shortly after the last total solar eclipse in 2017, the Indiana DNR got a call about booking an inn at one of its state parks for seven years in the future.
According to Ginger Murphy, that really sparked the notion that it was time to start preparing. Murphy is the Deputy Director of the DNR’s Division of State Parks. She told WANE 15 that the total solar eclipse is something that will draw people from all over the country.
“It is a big deal. I think that’s the best thing that I could say. From what I understand, I’ve never actually seen a total solar eclipse, it is a pretty amazing experience,” Murphy said.
According to NASA, in any given location on Earth, a total eclipse only happens every 100 years or so. So, Murphy said it will be a one-in-a-lifetime experience for many when it happens next year.
During the 2017 eclipse, the state of Kentucky saw its state parks filled and traffic became a real issue post-eclipse as everyone tried to leave, Murphy said.
She said every single state park in the path of totality will be available to view the eclipse. They invite people to stay a few days later to avoid the traffic.
The cabins are all full, but there are still rooms available at the Inns and campgrounds will become available for reservations on October 8.
Murphy added that anyone who lives in the path of totality should watch from home to help make room at the parks for those who don’t live in the path and to avoid traffic jams.
As for what will be available at the parks, Murphy said they’re preparing to have the best viewing spots all ready to go with different opportunities and programs and with eclipse glasses available for purchase to help keep everyone safe.
They’re also looking for different businesses and organizations that want to sponsor some of the things they’re doing.
The DNR is coordinating with the Indiana Department of Homeland Security and INDOT, too, because of the number of people expected to come see the eclipse.
Ultimately, they want everyone to see the eclipse and have an enjoyable experience, she said.
“We hope you take advantage of it. We hope families get their kids outside to see it,” Murphy said. “It’s a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to really get that sense of what outer space is, that three-dimensional feel of we’re connected to things outside the Earth in many ways.”
To get additional information on which state parks will be available and get any questions answered, you can visit on.in.gov/eclipse. You can also sign up to get updates when the DNR makes new information available.