Chesterton Tribune



Dunes Action honored by Hoosier Environmental Council

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The grassroots, all-volunteer, non-partisan Dunes Action! has been awarded the Frontline Advocate of the Year by the Hoosier Environmental Council.

Dunes Action! is a northwest Indiana organization dedicated to the preservation of the cultural and natural heritage of the Indiana Dunes. The group was formed in February 2015, after area residents were alarmed to discover the Indiana Department of Natural Resources had signed a lease with a private developer, Pavilion Partners LLC, to construct a large conference/banquet center adjacent to a historic Pavilion at the Indiana Dunes State Park, effectively commercializing the park.

Residents were further alarmed by the lack of transparency and public participation regarding the plans, and ultimately established Dunes Action! to raise awareness, hold IDNR accountable to public disclosure rules, and to compel the agency and developers to follow all applicable laws and regulations.

Dunes Action! was given the award Saturday in Danville, IN, at the Hoosier Environmental Council’s 10th annual “Greening the Statehouse” forum, which is Indiana’s largest annual gathering of environmental-minded citizens.

“We’re very pleased to receive this award from the Council. In spite of many hurdles, we're continuing our efforts to stop commercialization at the state park, and to advocate for transparency and community input,” said Jim Sweeney, co-founder of Dunes Action! “Many thanks to the Hoosier Environmental Council for recognizing our work.”

“Dunes Action has done so much to protect our cherished Indiana Dunes State Park situated along the shores of Lake Michigan including the historic Dunes Pavilion from irresponsible and damaging development. HEC is honored to recognize Dunes Action with this award,” said Kim Ferraro, senior staff attorney and agriculture policy director for HEC.

The HEC Annual Awards is an ongoing part of Greening the Statehouse (GTS), Indiana's largest annual gathering of environmental-minded Hoosiers, an event that is in its 10th year. GTS 2017 featured panel discussions on grassroots organizing in urban, suburban, and rural communities; engaging environmental-minded Hoosiers across the political spectrum; and influencing local government decisions. The event was capstoned by a keynote address by Reverend Mitch Hescox, president and CEO of the Evangelical Environmental Network, one of the nation’s leading conservative Christian advocates for caring for creation.

Founded nearly thirty-five years ago, the Hoosier Environmental Council (HEC) aims to advance solutions that are good for the economy and good for the environment. Visit for more information, and follow HEC on Twitter: @hec_ed or on Facebook at



Posted 12/7/2017




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