Chesterton Tribune



Visclosky bill would make Dunes Lakeshore a national park

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U.S. Rep. Pete Visclosky, D-1st, has introduced legislation which would make Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore a national park.

“Specifically, the legislation would retitle the ‘Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore’ as the ‘Indiana Dunes National Park,’” according to a statement released by Visclosky’s office on Thursday. “The designation would create the first national park in Indiana and the 60th National Park in the United States. The intent of this legislation is to allow the Dunes lakeshore to receive the full tourism benefits and recognition of being designated a national park.”

As it happens, the first director of the National Park Service (NPS), Stephen Mather, actually proposed designating Lake Michigan’s southern shore as “Sand Dunes National Park” in 1916 but that proposal was abandoned with the U.S. entry into World War I, the statement noted.

Visclosky’s measure has been introduced with the support of the entire Indiana House delegation as original cosponsors and is currently pending consideration in the House Committee on Natural Resources.

“The recognition of being a National Park is the final step of an effort that began a century ago,” Visclosky said. “It is past time that the rest of the nation recognizes the environmental wonder and significance of the lakeshore dunes in Northwest Indiana. I thank my Indiana House colleagues and all the Northwest Indiana community leaders and officials for supporting this initiative that will ultimately attract more visitors and further stimulate our regional economy.”

“The Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore is a treasured source of beauty and recreation for Hoosier families,” concurred U.S. Rep. Jackie Walorski, R-2nd. “Making it our state's first National Park will boost the Indiana economy by drawing more tourists from across the country who want to explore the dunes.”

President of Save the Dunes Tom Conway added, “One hundred years ago, the first public meeting took place to explore the possibility of a Sand Dunes National Park along the southern shore of Lake Michigan. The Indiana Dunes are a treasure of beauty and ecology. We feel the title of Indiana Dunes National Park will bring increased attention and appreciation to this amazing place, and we commend Congressman Visclosky for always being a champion of the Dunes.”

“We are excited to learn that Congressman Pete Visclosky has introduced this bill,” said Lorelei Weimer, executive director of the Porter County Convention, Recreation, and Visitor Commission. “People love to visit our national parks and many travelers include visiting all of the national parks on their bucket lists. Many potential new visitors will add the Indiana Dunes National Park to their travel to do list because they will now know we are one of the National Parks.”

“The retitling of IDNL and properly designating the property as the first and only national park in Indiana is a huge plus for the region,” said Jack Arnett, executive director of the LaPorte County Convention and Visitors Bureau. “I thank Congressman Visclosky for once again continuing his leadership role when it comes to understanding the economic impact that tourism has within our region.”

Visclosky, the statement noted, “has long supported the preservation of and improved access to the Northwest Indiana lakeshore through the Marquette Plan.” The three principles of that plan: that 75 percent of the lakeshore should be available for free, open, and public use; that development should be set back by a minimum of 200 feet from the water; and that there should be a continuous biking and walking trail parallel to the shoreline for all Northwest Indiana residents to enjoy

In 1986 and 1992, Visclosky introduced measures later signed into law which expanded the boundaries of the current Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore.



Posted 9/30/3016




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