Report Oct 30, 2011

The Future of Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore

Indiana Dunes Report (4.51 MB)

This marvel of a national park, Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore, visited by some 2 million people each year, was created and survives in one of the most heavily populated places in the United States.

Far into the horizon, wide blue water reflects the sky. Waves crinkle at the shore, scattering sand and tumbling pebbles that are a legacy of ancient glaciers. Graceful dunes roll back from the beach to forests, marshes and bogs that are home to an unrivaled diversity of species, including endangered butterflies, orchids and badgers. Yet look east and west to steel mills and power plants, or across the water to the sharp skyline of the nation’s third largest city. This marvel of a national park, Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore, visited by some 2 million people each year, was created and survives in one of the most heavily populated places in the United States.

Here, Native American trails and portages that connected the Mississippi River system and the Great Lakes became a dense network of railroads, canals, roads and ports that supported muscular industrial development and the building of great cities. It took a long time for some people to realize that in the spaces between was something deep, rare and precious that deserved to be saved and protected for all Americans.

Our goal in this document is to present thoughtful, informed ideas for the future of this great national park, with a goal of sparking action and cooperation to strengthen and safeguard it.