Chesterton Tribune

Photo: Dunes Creek uncovered when State Park removes parking lot

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Dunes Creek as it was and is: The east parking lot at the Indiana Dunes State Park has been removed as part of the Dunes Creek restoration project. This view is looking east from the park’s entry road. (Tribune photo by Margaret L. Willis)

 

Indiana Dunes State Park officials on Friday celebrated the “uncovering” of Dunes Creek as restored, after decades of being buried underground.

The Dunes Creek restoration project involved the removal of the parking lot east of the main State Park lot and the installation of an observation area that gives the public a view of the creek in a much more natural state.

State Park Assistant Manager Doug Stukey said the creek restoration is about 90 percent completed, with more than 20,000 marrram stem grass plantings placed in the vicinity. The second phase of the project will consist of a trail and boardwalk that will be accessible to the disabled, he said.

The creek went underground in the 1930s, Stukey said, when the Civilian Conservation Corps directed the creek underground in a six foot culvert and built an encampment above the creek. After the days of the CCC were over and the CCC left the park, the site turned into what has been known as the state park’s auxiliary parking lot.

The Dunes State Park was awarded a grant through the Lake Michigan Coastal Program in order to uncover the section of the creek and return it more to its original state. Officials used drawings of the area from the 1930s before the creek went underground as their guide, Stukey said. As the years go by, the area will become more and more natural looking, he added.

The creek still runs through a culvert under the state park’s main parking lot before emptying into Lake Michigan.

Indiana Department of Natural Resources hosted an event on Friday that showcased the Dunes Creek uncovering. Also at the event, a new poster titled “Ecosystems of the Coastal Region,” created by Barb Labus, was unveiled.

 

Posted 1/16/2006

 

 

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