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Indiana Dunes: America’s Newest National Park

Wednesday, March 20, 2019
Indiana Dunes

In February, the Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore was re-designated a national park, making it the 61st national park in America and the first national park in the state of Indiana.

“I am heartened that because of the support of our U.S. senators, the entire Indiana congressional delegation, and numerous Northwest Indiana organizations, we have successfully titled the first national park in our state,” said U.S. Rep. Pete Visclosky, who has long been championing the effort. “This action provides our shoreline with the recognition it deserves, and I hope further builds momentum to improve open and public access to all of our region’s environmental wonders.

The park covers 15,000 acres along Lake Michigan, with 15 miles of shoreline. Over 3.6 million people visited the Dunes in 2018. The area became the Dunes National Lakeshore in 1966, but the effort to reach national park status goes back far longer; in 1916, the first-ever director of the National Park Services recommended the Dunes be recognized as a national park because of its unique biological diversity and its geological features.

According to Indiana Dunes Tourism, the new designation will bring even more people to the area to see the astounding amount of diversity in its (relatively) small area. The park features woodlands, prairies, savannas, bogs, wetlands and the eponymous 192-foot tall sand dunes. According to Indiana Dunes Tourism Executive Director Lorelei Weimer, the new designation will be a significant boon to the state’s economic development in terms of tourism.

The National Park Service already operated the area and will continue to do so under the new designation. The Indiana Dunes State Park will remain a separate entity as a state-owned park.

To learn more about the park, visit:

Lorelei Weimer, Executive Director
Indiana Dunes Tourism