Chesterton Tribune



Public input invited on NPS plan for Porter Beach parking

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The National Park Service (NPS) has released its draft Environmental Assessment for “Wabash Ave./Porter Access Site” at Porter Beach and is seeking public comment.

Each unit of the national park system is driven by federal enabling legislation and this assessment is needed to ensure the Wabash Ave. project is in harmony with the legislative intent of Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore.

The Environmental Assessment evaluates five possible alternatives in depth. The alternatives addressed include pedestrian circulation, vehicle circulation, visitor facilities, and parking options. “The alternatives meet park purposes and objectives while protecting park resources and minimizing impacts,” NPS said in a statement released this week. “All alternatives are consistent with applicable NPS laws, policies, and regulations.”

A copy of the Environmental Assessment for the Wabash Avenue/Porter Access Site is now available in two different formats:

* On line at

* Hard copies of the document at the Dorothy Buell Memorial Visitor Center off Ind. 49 and at the National Lakeshore headquarters at 1100 N. Mineral Springs Road in Porter.

The best way to comment on the Environmental Assessment is to use the electronic form at

The comment period closes on August 9 and comments may be postmarked no later than August 9.

If you cannot use the electronic form you may mail or drop off a hard copy comment form and/or letter to: Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore, Attention: Eric Ehn, Management Assistant, 1100 N. Mineral Springs Road, Porter, Indiana 46304-1299

The Environmental Assessment has five alternatives under consideration. The alternatives include a No Action and four levels of modifications for visitor use and development.

Each alternative addresses the potential environmental impacts to the parks: historic structures; cultural landscapes; archeological resources; soils, air, and water quality; vegetation; wildlife and wildlife habitat; sensitive and rare species; recreation resources; visitor use and experience; park operations; and socioeconomic conditions.

The preferred alternative, Alternative 5, would enlarge the south parking lot while restricting the north lot to accessible parking only in the summer. In the off-season the south lot would be closed and all visitors would use the north lot. Individual picnic platforms would be built adjacent to parking areas. Alternative 5 is the preferred because it would be consistent with the project goals.



Posted 7/11/2013