Chesterton Tribune



National Park name change takes effect; bill renames Dunes trail for Democrat Senator Paul Douglas of Illinois

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The provision which changes the name of Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore to Indiana Dunes National Park--part of the budget deal signed into law on Friday by President Trump--will take effect immediately, the National Park Service is reporting.

The bill also changes the name of the Miller Woods Trail to the Paul H. Douglas Trail in honor of the late Illinois Democratic Senator who helped lead the fight along with Save the Dunes and other citizen groups to create the National Lakeshore in 1966.

“103 years in the making, what a terrific tribute to the neighbors, partners, visitors and National Park staff,” Indiana Dunes National Park Superintendent Paul Labovitz said. “We are so appreciative to the entire Indiana delegation for their recognition and support of this national treasure."

Meanwhile, tourism boosters in Porter County are voicing their support of the name change.

“We believe the designation of national park is long overdue and would be of significant benefit not only to Northwest Indiana but also to the entire Midwest Region,” Porter County Convention, Recreation, and Visitor Commission (PCCRVC) President Mitch Peters said in a separate statement released after deadline on Friday.

“We could not be prouder of Visclosky’s efforts and the work our National Park Service members have done to make this a reality,” PCCRVC Executive Director Lorelei Weimer said. “The Indiana Dunes National Park is Indiana's first national park, and will be a significant boon to Indiana's economic development, specifically tourism, which already pumps $476 million into our economy annually.”

“In 2018, even without national park status, 3.6 million visitors came to see the Indiana Dunes. In terms of visitation, the then Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore and the Indiana Dunes State Park already ranked seventh in the nation, putting them just under Yellowstone out of the 418 National Park Service Units,” the statement noted.

“As the most biodiverse area in North America and the birthplace of ecology, Indiana Dunes advocates have been trying to get national park status for the Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore since 1916,” the statement said. “The Indiana Dunes area encompasses 15,000 acres of woodlands, prairies, savannas, bogs, wetlands and, of course, sand dunes, which reach heights up to 192 feet. The dunes were created when glaciers receded 14,000 years ago, creating white, sandy beaches along 15 miles of Lake Michigan shoreline. These beaches are ranked among the best in the U.S., making the Indiana Dunes a premier family-friendly destination and the top attraction in the state of Indiana.”


Posted 2/18/2019








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