The U.S. House of
Representatives approved on Wednesday legislation authored by U.S. Rep. Pete
Visclosky, D-1st, which would re-designate Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore
as a national park.
The House passed
the bill--H.R. 1488: The Indiana Dunes National Park Act--by unanimous
consent. The measure is now awaiting consideration by the U.S. Senate.
consideration, Visclosky made the following statement:
“I would like to
thank Chairman Bishop and Ranking Member Grijalva of the Committee on
Natural Resources for their work on this legislation, as well as Chairman
McClintock and Ranking Member Hanabusa of the Subcommittee on Federal Lands.
“Mr. Speaker, the
legislation we are considering today would re-title the ‘Indiana Dunes
National Lakeshore’ as the ‘Indiana Dunes National Park.’ While this is a
small change, it would have an enormous benefit of rightly placing the
Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore where it belongs as the nation’s 60th
national park and the first national park in the State of Indiana. Located
along the southern shore of Lake Michigan, the Indiana Dunes are a natural
wonder and home to a vast array of rare plants and animals. According to the
National Park Service, the Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore is the seventh
most biologically diverse National Park Service unit.
completes an effort that began over 100 years ago when Stephen Mather, the
first Director of the National Park Service, first proposed establishing the
southern shore of Lake Michigan as ‘Sand Dunes National Park.’ I believe Mr.
Mather said it best when he stated in his 1917 report to Congress, ‘The sand
dunes are admittedly wonderful. . . . No national park or other federal
reservation offers this phenomenon for the pleasure and edification of the
people, and no national park is as accessible. Furthermore, the dunes offer
the visitor extraordinary scenery, a large variety of plant life,
magnificent beaches, and splendid opportunities to camp in the wild country
close to nature.’”
Mather’s effort to establish Sand Dunes National Park was abandoned with the
onset of the First World War. Then, in 1966, thanks to the efforts of
concerned citizens, the Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore was established on
the Lake Michigan shoreline. Since that time, the park has been expanded by
Congress on four different occasions. These expansions nearly doubled its
original size so that the Lakeshore currently encompasses roughly 15,000
acres of wetlands and marshes, beaches, oak savannahs, and sand dunes. It is
clear that the title of ‘Indiana Dunes National Park’ is fitting for such a
unique and beautiful natural resource.
taxpayers over a number of generations have invested in the preservation of
the Indiana Dunes. It is incumbent that we do everything possible to
encourage citizens and travelers from around the world to visit the park to
learn, recreate, and simply enjoy the sublime environment of the Northwest
Indiana lakeshore. H.R. 1488 helps to achieve this goal.
“Mr. Speaker, I am
proud that the Indiana Dunes National Park Act has the full, bipartisan
support of the entire Indiana delegation, and I thank my Indiana Senate
colleagues, Sen. Joe Donnelly and Sen.Todd Young, for introducing the
companion measure in the Senate. I urge my colleagues to support passage.”