Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia - View original article

Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore
IUCN category V (protected landscape/seascape)
Map showing the location of Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore
Map showing the location of Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore
LocationPorter / Lake / LaPorte counties, Indiana, United States
Nearest cityBeverly Shores, Indiana
Coordinates41°38′53″N 87°06′29″W / 41.64806°N 87.10806°W / 41.64806; -87.10806Coordinates: 41°38′53″N 87°06′29″W / 41.64806°N 87.10806°W / 41.64806; -87.10806
Area15,067 acres (60.97 km2)
EstablishedNovember 5, 1966
Visitors2,127,336 (in 2005)
Governing bodyNational Park Service
Jump to: navigation, search
Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore
IUCN category V (protected landscape/seascape)
Map showing the location of Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore
Map showing the location of Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore
LocationPorter / Lake / LaPorte counties, Indiana, United States
Nearest cityBeverly Shores, Indiana
Coordinates41°38′53″N 87°06′29″W / 41.64806°N 87.10806°W / 41.64806; -87.10806Coordinates: 41°38′53″N 87°06′29″W / 41.64806°N 87.10806°W / 41.64806; -87.10806
Area15,067 acres (60.97 km2)
EstablishedNovember 5, 1966
Visitors2,127,336 (in 2005)
Governing bodyNational Park Service
West side of the national lakeshore
East side of the national lakeshore

Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore is a unit of the National Park System designated as a U.S. National Lakeshore located in northwest Indiana and managed by the National Park Service. It was authorized by Congress in 1966. The national lakeshore runs for nearly 25 miles (40 km) along the southern shore of Lake Michigan, in Beverly Shores, Indiana. The park contains approximately 15,000 acres (6,100 ha).

The National Lakeshore has acquired about 95% of the property with the authorized boundaries. The National Lakeshore holdings are non-contiguous and includes the 2,182-acre (883 ha) Indiana Dunes State Park (1916), which is owned and managed by the state of Indiana in Beverly Shores, Indiana.

The park is physically divided into 15 disconnected pieces. Along the lakefront, the eastern area is roughly the lakeshore south to U.S. 12 or U.S. 20 between Michigan City, Indiana on the east and the ArcelorMittal steel plant on the west. A small extension, south of the steel mill continues west along Salt Creek to Indiana 249. The western area is roughly the shoreline south to U.S. 12 between the Burns Ditch west to Broadway, downtown Gary, Indiana. In addition, there are several outlying areas, including; Pinhook Bog, in LaPorte County to the east. The Heron Rookery in Porter County, the center of the park, and the Calumet Prairie State Nature Preserve and Hobart Prairie Grove, both in Lake County, the western end of the park. Also within the National Lakeshore is the Hoosier Prairie State Nature Preserve, managed by the Indiana Department of Natural Resources.


Human presences in the Indiana ground and there is little evidence of permanent communities forming during the earlier years. Archeological evidence is consistent with seasonal hunting camps. The earliest evidence for permanent camps is consistent with the Hopwellian occupation of the Ohio valley. Five groups of mounds have been documented in the dunes area. These mounds would be consistent with the period of 200 BCE (Goodall Focus) to 800 CE (early Mississippian).[1] Even that was a short lived permanency. The advent of European exploration and trade, introduced more changes to the human environment. Tribal animosities and traditional European competition affected tribal relations. Entire populations began moving westward, while others sought to dominate large geographic trading areas. Once again the dunes became a middle point on a journey from the east or the west. It continued to remain a key hunting ground for villages over a wide area.

See also: Petit fort

It wasn't until the 19th century that native villages once again were scattered through the area, but this was soon followed by European settlement. Joseph Bailly was the earliest recorded settler in the dunes. He moved here from trading villages around Niles, Michigan. Settling along the Calumet River.[2] Soon he was joined by a series of other settlers and the communities in the dunes began to develop. They included Chesterton, Porter, Tremont, and the Town of the Pines. These pioneer communities grew and expanded.

City West was one of several "ghost towns" situated in the dunes. Planned as a rival to Chicago, it was partly built in 1837 but failed that summer, during a national economic panic. The remains of the town, partly carted off to be used as lumber, were located near where the pavilion in the state park now stands, until a forest fire in the 1850s destroyed whatever was left.[3] The statesman Daniel Webster is thought to have visited City West on the 4th of July, 1837, en route from Chicago to Michigan City.

Today, the entire coast line has been settled for use as homes, factories, businesses and some reserved for public parks.

Preserving the dunes

Mather visits the Indiana Dunes

A movement began in 1899 to preserve the unique area of the dunes. In 1916, the visionary National Parks Director Stephen Mather held hearings in Chicago on a "Sand Dunes National Park".[4] In 1926, the Indiana Dunes State Park opened. In the 1950s, a desire to maximize economic development through a "Port of Indiana" spurred interest in preservation. Save the Dunes Council President Dorothy Buell began a nationwide campaign to buy the land. Their first success was the purchase of 56 acres (230,000 m2) in Porter County, the Cowles Tamarack Bog.[4] The Kennedy Compromise entailed the creation of a national lakeshore and a port. Then Illinois Senator Paul H. Douglas lead the Congressional effort to save the dunes. In late 1966, the bill passed and the Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore became a reality. Four subsequent expansion bills for the park (1976, 1980, 1986, and 1992) have increased the size of the park to more than 15,000 acres (61 km2).[4]

Geology of the Lakeshore[edit]

Glacial Lake Chicago, 14,000 years before present

The Lake Michigan Basin was formed during the Wisconsin Glacial Period. The Michigan Lobe of the continental glacier began its retreat northward over 20,000 years before present (YBP)[5] forming the southern shore of the Lake Michigan Basin.

The Valparaiso Moraine is the dominant geologic form that created the various landscape forms of the Indiana Dunes, about 40,000 YBP.[5] Within the arc created by the Valparaiso Moraine are two younger recessional moraines of the Tinley Moraine and the Lake Border Moraine. Each moraine created an artificial dam across the southern outflow of the melt waters of the receding glaciers. As each glacial lake breached a low spot in the moraines, water levels receded, leaving a series of shorelines and dune ridges.[5]

The Calumet Shoreline is the oldest visible shoreline of Lake Michigan. It is a visible a sand ridge along Ridge Road through Lake and Porter Counties, Indiana. Two older shorelines, the Tolleston and the Glenwood Shoreline are much harder to identify and further south in the counties.[6]

During the periods of glacial retreat, there were periods of stability. During these times, glacial lakes formed along the southern borders of the glaciers, bound into the Lake Michigan Basin by the recessional moraines. Four major glacial lake periods created the Indiana Dunes. They are the glacial Lake Chicago (14,000 YBP), Glacial Lake Algonquin (9,000 YBP), glacial Lake Chippewa (7,000 YBP), and Lake Nipissing stage (4,000 YBP). Once the glaciers had fully retreated from the Lake Michigan basin, post Lake Nipissing stage, the same factors that created the dunes south of the current shoreline, expanded the existing shoreline.[5] The littoral currents or Longshore drift transport sand southward along the eastern shore of Lake Michigan. As they encounter streams bringing water from inland, sandbars are created, pointing down current, either southward if the shore is north to south or westward along the southern shore itself.[6] If the currents are strong enough as they were when the Glenwood Shoreline was created, shallow inland bays would be formed with a wide sand spit between it and the open lake.[6] Over time, the sand spits would merge with the far shoreline forming interdunal ponds.[6] Each sand spit would be come a dune ridge. As the ponds filled in and wind built the outer sand ridges higher, the ponds would dry up and only a stream would remain, as the Little Calumet River does today, just south the state and national parks. As the shoreline moved northward, new ridges formed, additional streams, now slower and less powerful formed and the process duplicated itself. To the west of the Indiana Dunes, Wolf Lake in Hammond, Indiana forms a western border to the dunes. Here the same process is at work, only the littoral drift is again south, but along the western shore, pushing the sand and sand spits eastward.[6] Today, it is the remants of the marsh lands and inter-dunal or inter-sand spit lakes that have formed this region over 40,000 years.[6]

Flora and fauna[edit]

The park is in the central forest-grasslands transition ecoregion.

Rare, Threatened, and Endangered Species
The park includes habitats for several rare plants and animals. The park has more than 1400 species of vascular plants, ranking it 8th in total plant species among all units of the National Park System. None of the plants are on the Federal list of Threatened and Endangered Species (T&E Species), but several are on the list of State T&E Species.[7] Populations of each plant group are estimated to be around 100–120 individual plants. The species included are:[7]

Among the rare and endangered wildlife are:[7]

In addition, the park has habitat suitable for:[7]

Species Count
The numbers below are taken from the Main Articles or See also articles attached to this page. They will be updated as additional list/articles are created.

GroupNumber of SpeciesExtirpated SpeciesSee Also
Chordates or Animals with Backbones
Mammals or Mammalia
Mammals of the Indiana Dunes
Birds or Aves
Birds of the Indiana Dunes
Reptiles or Reptilia
List of reptiles of the Indiana Dunes
Amphibians or Amphibia
List of Amphibians of the Indiana Dunes
List of fish of the Indiana Dunes
Invertebrate or Animals without Backbones
Arthropoda (Crustacea)-Crustacean
List of crustaceans of the Indiana Dunes
Arthropoda (Chelicerata)-Arachnida
List of Arachnids of the Indiana Dunes
Arthropoda (Chelicerata)-Insects
Insects of the Indiana Dunes and Ants of the Indiana Dunes
Arthropoda (Myriapoda)- other Invertebrates
Invertebrates of Indiana Dunes
Annelida-segmented worms
List of non-marine mollusks of the Indiana Dunes
Plants or Plantae
Vascular plantferns.[10]
All samples were confirmed in the Indiana Dunes State Park
Vascular plant-clubmosses
Vascular plant-flowering plants
Flowering Plants of the Indiana Dunes
Vascular plant-conifers
BryophytesBryophyta (mosses), Marchantiophyta (liverworts), and Anthocerotophyta (hornworts).
Algae – especially the green algae.
Lichens algae and fungi in a symbiotic arrangement[12]
Change in the number of species between 1896 (Calkins) and 1986 (Wetmore)[12]
Invasive Plants
List of invasive plant species in the Indiana Dunes
Plankton and other microscopic life forms
Total to date

Wildlife – Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore is full of wildlife, including white-tailed deer, Red Fox, raccoons, opossums, cottontail rabbits, Canada geese, seagulls, squirrels, hawks, Turkey Vultures, mallards, Great Blue Herons, garter snakes, songbirds, and rodents.

Flowering Plants – The Indiana Dunes has over 369 species of flowering plants. Of these, thirteen are considered Threatened or Endanger of extinction. Additionally, there four invasive flowering plants on the list. Some of the most common spring flowers include the May Apple, buttercups (6 varieties), and violets (14 varieties). Summer brings out the orchids (5 varieties) and lots of goldenrod (11 varieties).[14]

Invasive Plants – Invasive plants are those introduced species that dominate a landscape pushing out traditionally native species and others species by their ability to multiply rapidly. There are 54 such species in the dunes.[15]

Unusual Sightings
In October 1920, a rare Arctic Three-toed Woodpecker was captured a mile west of Dune Park Station. Later that month another male was captured east of Dune Park Station. One was busy digging out grubs and the other was nervously flying from tree to tree.[16]

In May 1919, a Clay-colored Sparrow was found near Dune Park. It was a part of a larger flock of Harris's Sparrow migrating along the western shore of Lake Michigan.[16]

Extirpated Species
Several species of plants and animals have disappeared from the dunes. Few can be clearly identified. Among those species thought to be gone are listed below:

SpeciesLatin NameLast Seen[8]
Eastern Cougar[17]F.c. Cougaur[8]
American BisonBos Bison[8]
ElkWapiti (Cervus elephus)[8]
LynxLynx lynx[8]
BobcatLynx rufus[8]
Gray WolfCanius Lupus[8]
Red WolfCanus Rufus[8]
Black BearUrsus Americanus[8]
Fisher (animal)Martes Pennanti[8]
River OtterLutra canadenais[8]
PorcupineErethizon dorsatum[8]
Passenger PigeonEctopistes migratorius
Piping PloverCharadrius melodus

Exotic and Invasive Species

Alien or exotic species are plants and animals which are not native to the area. These plants can be classified as Invasive if they rapidly replace other plants and animals in the ecosystem, creating a monoculture and threatening the extinction of the traditional plants and animals. Among plants found in the park, the following are considered to be exotic. Those marked with an '*' are listed as invasive

Natural areas[edit]

See also: Oak savanna
Calumet Prairie
Calumet Prairie

Calumet Prairie is a joint venture between the National Park Service and the Indiana Department of Natural Resources. The Calumet Prairie State Nature Preserve in the northern portion of the land between Interstate 90 to the north and the Little Calumet River on the south. The National Lakeshore owns the southern half of this plot.

Cowles Bog
Main article: Cowles Bog

Cowles Bog, a National Natural Landmark, is a fen wetland named in honor of biologist and ecologist Henry Chandler Cowles. Located south and west of Dune Acres, Indiana, Cowles Bog is the sole remaining remnant of the "Central Dunes" where Cowles performed his pioneering field studies of Ecological succession and species diversity. A National Lakeshore trail runs from Mineral Springs Road into Cowles Bog.[18]

Great Marsh
See also: Marsh

The Great Marsh is an interdunal wetland just south of the dune ridge overlooking Lake Michigan. It stretches from steel plants in Burns Harbor, 12 miles (19 km) east to County Line Road on the edge of Michigan City. A century ago, it was the nesting and migratory layover for many birds, which depended on its variety of plants.[19] In the late 19th century, the marsh was drained through a series of ditches, creating three watersheds and reducing the water table. As the water levels changed, new plants and trees moved in, creating a new habitat and displacing the wildlife that was dependent on the pre-existing wetlands.[19]

Beginning in 1998, the national lakeshore began restoration of the marsh by closing Derby Ditch and restoring 500 acres (200 ha). The work consist of:[19]

Heron Rookery

See also: Heron Rookery
Yellow Trout-Lily

The Heron Rookery is located along the East Arm Little Calumet River in the northeast corner of Porter County. The Rookery is physically separated from the main part of the park. It is accessible from County Road 600 East, south of County Road 1400 North. The rookery is a hardwood forest. The great blue heron nests, for which the site is named, are no longer a feature of the area. Spring brings out a variety of wildflowers.[20]

Hoosier Prairie
Main article: Hoosier Prairie

Hoosier Prairie, a National Natural Landmark, is a 430 acres (170 ha) tallgrass prairie adjacent to Griffith, Indiana. It is a geographically isolated unit of the Lakeshore, owned and maintained by the Indiana Department of Natural Resources as a state nature preserve. Some 574 species of plants have been observed growing in this patch of prairie.

Miller Woods
Main article: Miller Woods

Miller Woods is located in Miller Beach, Indiana It is accessed through the Paul H. Douglas Center for Environmental Education on Lake Street. The area is dominated by dune and swale topography. the ridges or swells are beach and dune sand. They date from the post Glacial lake Nipissing period some 3000 years before present. The swales are the depressions between the ridges. They are generally either ponds or marshes.[21]

Mnoke Prairie

Mnoke Prairie is an active prairie restoration along Beam Street in the central portion of the park.

Mount Baldy
Typical wildflowers near Mount Baldy. Plants such as these help hold the dune together.

Mount Baldy is a sand dune located at the east end of the park. At 123 feet (37 m) tall, it is one of the tallest sand dunes on the southern shore of Lake Michigan. It is a wandering dune that moves an average of 4 feet (1.2 m) every year, and so is called a "living dune." Mount Baldy is accessible from U.S. Route 12 (also known as Dunes Highway) between the Town of Pines and the western border of Michigan City. Visitors can hike 0.7 miles (1.1 km) up the dune and from the top, on a clear day, can view Chicago's skyline and the south shore. Portions of the area are closed to allow beach grasses and other native plants to regenerate.

Pinhook Bog
Main article: Pinhook Bog

Pinhook Bog, a National Natural Landmark, is a geographically isolated unit of the National Lakeshore. The quaking peat bog is located near U.S. Route 421 approximately 9 miles (14 km) south of Michigan City. The bog formed from a postglacial kettle moraine left behind about 14,000 years before the present by the melting of the ice sheet during the end of the Last glacial period. The acidic bog is noted for pitcher plants and other wetland species. Access to the bog is restricted to ranger-led guided tours.[22]

Historic areas[edit]

Bailly-Chellberg Farms

Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore Bailly Chellberg Area P5040016.jpg

The Bailly-Chellberg farmstead is located close to the geographic center of the National Lakeshore, at U.S. Route 20 and Mineral Springs Road.

Bailly Homestead

This is the location of the pioneer trading post established in 1822 by fur trade pioneer Joseph Bailly. Bailly settled here and his last home, adapted from his 1830s retirement house, survives.[23] The Homestead was designated a U.S. National Historic Landmark in 1962.

Chellburg Farm

Main article: Chellberg Farm

The real estate became the home of the Chellberg family, who built a farm on its sandy soil. As of 2008, the Lakeshore maintains a heritage farm on the Chellberg land, with the Bailly family cemetery on the northern edge of the property.[24]

Bailly Cemetery

Main article: Bailly Cemetery
Bailly Cem Bailly plaque 2004 39.jpg

The Bailly Cemetery is located half a mile north of the homestead. Its location is a sandy bluff, which once looked out across the dunes to Lake Michigan.[25] Today, the forest covers the dunes and the lake is not visible. Numerous changes have occurred since the first burial in 1827.[26]

Joseph Bailly buried his only son by Marie in the fall of 1827 on a sandy knoll. He erected an oak cross on the site and a three-sided shelter. After 1866, the Bailly area was no longer the quiet place that it had been. Other families now lived in the area and some had been using the cemetery for their families as well. However, late in 1866, Rose Howe (granddaughter of Joseph Bailly) had the family plots fenced and requested that those other families remove their deceased to other cemeteries. In 1879, she had the entire cemetery walled in and an iron gate installed to the north.[26]

Finally in 1914, Rose Howe took one further step to protect the cemetery of her family. She had the area inside the wall filled with sand. Stone steps replaced the gate to a contemplative walk atop the cemetery. An oaken cross was raised atop this new ground, continuing the tradition started by her grandfather. Rose Howe died in 1916, while in California. She was returned to Indiana in 1917 and was the last burial in the family cemetery.[27]

Century of Progress Architectural District

The Florida Tropical House, back elevation taken from the beach.

The Century of Progress Architectural District is listed on the National Register of Historic Places and is located in the east portion of the park. The district consists of a total of five buildings, all from the Homes of Tomorrow Exhibition during the 1933 Century of Progress World's Fair which took place in Chicago.[28]

Good Fellow Club Youth Camp
Created by the Good Fellow Club of U.S. Steel in 1941, the camp served the children of Gary, Indiana until 1977. It provided outdoor recreation and a chance to leave the city behind for a week or more.[29] The camp used tent cabins with a central restroom and shower house. Atop a rise was the main lodge where meals were provided and a trading post with a bowling alley were maintained.

Lustron Homes

See also: Lustron house
Lustron House on Drake Ave

The national lakeshore acquired three Lustron homes during its land acquisition process. The Jacob Klien House was located in an endangered habitat. It was moved to the east side of Drake Avenue in Beverly Shores and placed atop a dunes overlooking the lake. The Schulof house located on Lakefront Drive was transferred to the Historic Landmarks Foundation of Indiana for preservation and it was moved to Stephens Street in Porter, Indiana. The Powell house remains inaccessible within the park on Lakefront Drive.[30]

Swedish Farmsteads Historic District (pending)

The Swedish Farmsteads of Porter County, Indiana are representative of the numerous rural communities settled by a significant ethnic population. They influenced the religious community and social community. Swedish immigration was at its highest from 1840 until 1920. At its height, 1910, it was estimated that 1 out of every 5 Swedes was living in the United States.[31]

Recreational opportunities and activities[edit]

Richard Lieber (front right) with NPS Director Stephen Mather at what would become Indiana Dunes State Park in 1916.

The park contains 15 miles (24 km) of beaches, as well as sand dunes, bogs, marshes, swamps, fens, prairies, rivers, oak savannas, and woodland forests. The park is also noted for its singing sands. More than 350 species of birds have been observed in the park. It has one of the most diverse plant communities of any unit in the U.S. National Park System with 1418 vascular plant species including 90 threatened or endangered ones. The Indiana Dunes area is unique in that it contains both Arctic and boreal plants (such as the bearberry) alongside desert plants (such as the prickly pear cactus).

First-time visitors to the Lakeshore often go to the Dorothy Buell Memorial Visitor Center at U.S. Route 20 and Indiana Route 49, near Porter, Indiana. This center offers standard visitor-center amenities, including a video, brochures, hands-on exhibits, and a gift shop. It is free to the general public.

Indiana Dunes State Park Bathhouse and Pavilion – Chesterton, Indiana

Camping is available at the Dunewood Campground on U.S. Route 12. The campground includes an RV dump station and two loops of trailer accessible sites (some with pull-through drives). All sites have grills, a picnic table, and access to restrooms with running water and showers. There are a limited number of walk-in sites in the Douglas Loop.

The park provides opportunities for bird watching, camping, 45 miles (72 km) of hiking, fishing, swimming, horseback riding, and cross-country skiing. Cycling is available on the Calumet Trail, a crushed limestone multiuse trail which runs through the eastern section of the park, providing access to the Indiana Dunes State Park, as well as to the communities of Beverly Shores; the Town of Pines; and Mount Baldy on the edge of Michigan City, Indiana. A new Great Marsh Trail opened in 2010 with an accessible, paved section usable by wheelchairs opening in fall 2012. The trail is off Broadway in the east end of the park. The park has about 2 million visits a year. Rules state not to feed any of the wildlife, including seagulls, deer, or raccoons. Collecting crinoid fossils on the beach is strictly prohibited. Possession or use of a metal detector is also prohibited – as in all national parks.

Ranger-Led Programs: Rangers provide free walks and talks throughout the park on a regular basis. The Singing Sands, the official newspaper of the national lakeshore is published semi-annually with a listing of Ranger lead activities.[32]


The Indiana Dunes has numerous short hike trails and a few longer distance trails:

Miller Woods Trail Map.JPG
Succession Trail arriving at the beach.
Contours of the Cowles Bog Trail from the trailhead to Lake Michigan. Distances shown in yards/meters.

Burnham Plan trails
The Marquette Plan is called a "Lakeshore Investment Strategy" for Indiana. It is composed of two key elements. A 50-mile (80 km) trail is planned to cross Indiana to link Illinois, Indiana and Michigan communities along the Lake Michigan shore. There are planned both land trails for bicycles and hikers and a 'blue water' trail' for kayakers.[35]

Water Trail The Lake Michigan Water Trail, was designated a National Recreation Trail in 2011 and currently extends 45-mile (72 km) from Chicago's Northerly Island to Michigan City's Millennium Plaza.[36]

Long Distance Hike/Bike Trail There will be links to major parks and a wide variety of cultural and natural sites. The 9 miles (14 km) Marquette Trail will eventually connect the eastern and western segments of Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore. The 3 miles (4.8 km) Porter Brickyard Trail opened in 2012 as part of the Burnham Plan Centennial. It will link several community hike/bike trails to the Calumet Hike/Bike trail creating a link between the Lake County communities and Michigan City. Northwestern Indiana Regional Planning Commission (NIRPC) is guiding the work with assistance from local governments, the National Park Service, private landowners and the American Planning Association.[35]

Lake Michigan[edit]

Chicago visible across Lake Michigan from West Beach, Indiana Dunes NL

West Beach, located adjacent to U.S. Route 12 and County Line Road lies on the border of Gary and Portage, Indiana. It is a geographically separated section of the Lakeshore that is preserved as a piece of public beach access and an example of the same theme of plant succession as is found in Cowles Bog. This section of the Lakeshore displays most of the successive stages of Indiana Dunes biotic progression, from open beach sands to mature Eastern Black Oak forest. A new (2007) West Beach Succession Trail (0.7 miles or 1.1 kilometres in length) features different stages of plant succession in the beach and inland dunes.

The Portage Lakeview and Riverwalk was completed in 2009 as a project of the National Park Service, Northwest Indiana Regional Development Authority, and the City of Portage, Indiana. The National Park Service owns the site and all facilities. The site is operated by the City of Portage through a cooperative agreement.

Porter Beach, located north of U.S. Route 12, is a small, public sand beach within the Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore. The surrounding area is residential and is governed by the town of Porter.

Educational opportunities[edit]

Public programs[edit]

Maple Sugar Time[37] For two weeks every spring, you can experience the making Maple Sugar. You'll see how the Indians gathered the sap and learn maple trees, and pioneer sugaring. Visit the sugar shack to watch the sap boil down into maple sugar and syrup.

Kids Fun at the Visitor Center[37] Every Sunday afternoon, a Ranger meets with kids to explore the Dorothy Buell Memorial Visitor Center. It is an afternoon of fun kids activities and stories.

Paul H. Douglas Center Open House[37] During the spring and the fall, families can a park ranger and explore Miller Woods. Each month 1:00 PM to 4:00 PM at the Paul H. Douglas Center there will be a different program.

Threatened Lake Michigan[37] Several times a year, you can join a ranger at the Dorothy Buell Memorial Visitor Center to explore some of the greatest threats facing Lake Michigan. From 1:00 PM to 2:00 PM you'll learn about the spiny water flea, round goby, and zebra mussel and their impact on Lake Michigan. You can learn how to prevent more invaders to the lake.

Spring Blooms Hike[37] Meet a ranger at the Dorothy Buell Memorial Visitor Center and carpool to the week's best trail where you will explore the forest for wildflowers and other signs of spring. Several times each spring, between 1:00 PM to 3:00 PM a group will explore the park's wildflowers.

Field trip programs[edit]

Fall Fanfare[38] Students will learn about the change of the seasons. The cooler weather and short days bring about changes as plants and animals prepare for winter. Available in October and November, the program is appropriate for 1st through 6th graders.

Winter Exploration[38] The class will explore the winter woods on a nature hike. The program begins with a slide show on animal and plant adaptations to winter. If there is sufficient snow, Snowshoes will be provided for a hike in the woods. Available in January and February, the program is appropriate for 4th through 12th grade.

Indians and Fur Traders[38] Learn about American Indian lifestyles and the fur trade. The program goes back to the early lifestyles of the American Indians, fur traders, and voyageurs. Available all years, the program is appropriate for 3rd through 8th grade.

A Grain of Truth[38] As a class, the students will explore dunes and observe how winds and powerful waves work to create and erode moving sand dunes. There is a hike in the foredunes and down to the beach see first hand processes of dune building, and erosion. Availabile during spring, summer, and fall, the program is appropriate for 4th through 8th grade.

Lake Michigan Alive[38] Students will learn about the diversity of life issues affecting Lake Michigan. Through play acting and games, they will learn about the food chain. View preserved sea lamprey and trout. Students are encouraged to help care for the Great Lakes. The program is available all year, as it is primarily indoors. There is a short trip to the lake. It is appropriate for 4th through 12th grade.

Water World[38] A true field trip, students explore a wetland. Armed with nets and pans, the will discover the diversity of pond life and learn the importance of our water resources. The program can be extended for an in-depth experience, with a 3-hour hike to Lake Michigan. Subject to weather, the program is available from April to October and is appropriate for 4th through 12th grades.

Habitat Hike[38] Visit many of the habitats in the lakeshore. Students will get a chance to see many of the 1,400 species of plants in the lakeshore. Visit forest, dunes, swamp, and sand prairie, while learning about the environmental factors that affect plant survival. Available all year, except during Autumn Harvest and Maple Sugar Time

Reflections on Snow[38] A cross-country skiing journey through winter habitats. . Indoor activities include learning about winter track and winter survival through predation. If there is adequate snow, a Ski hike will take the class out to experience the winter landscape. Availability only in January and February. The program is appropriate for 5th to 12th grade.

Pinhook Bog[38] Hike the unique world of a bog. Students will learn to identify rare, insecting-eating plants and experience a habitats created by the glaciers. There is an opportunity to walk on a floating mat of sphagnum moss. Available from mid-April through mid-November, the program is appropriate for 6th through 12th grade.

Professional development[edit]


During the academic year, the Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore and the Dunes Learning Center (DLC) provide a variety of professional development opportunities for teacher in the K–12 setting. Workshops feature experts in various fields of study, hands-on activities and adventures within the national lakeshore. Illinois and Indiana teachers can receive continuing education units (CEUs) or continuing recertification units (CRUs) for each workshops. Those teacher wishing to earn graduate credit can do so through Indiana University Northwest and Chicago State University. Workshops are held at the DLC.

Sister park[edit]

The park has a sister park relationship with Poland's Kampinoski National Park[40]


Indiana Dunes is working to provide access to beach areas. Access to the waters of Lake Michigan is a challenging problem. Presently, two beach access areas are considered accessible: West Beach, Portage Lakefront and Riverwalk,[41]

Fully Accessible Accessible parking and restroom services are available throughout the park. A standard wheelchair is available for loan at the Paul H. Douglas Center.[41]

BioBlitz 2009 May 15 and 16, the park hosted an All Taxa Biological Diversity survey. In a 24-hour period, 2000 students and thousands of additional volunteers surveyed the park for every available living species. "We have inventoried 890 species", said John Francis, vice president of research, conservation and exploration for National Geographic in Washington, D.C.[42] The tally at the close of the 24 hours was 890 species, including 26 amphibians and reptiles, 101 birds, 18 fish, 27 fungi, 11 mammals, 410 plants, and 178 insects.[43] The talley had risen to 1200 unique species by June 1.[44]



Weather conditions and warnings[edit]

The primary feature of the Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore is Lake Michigan. The lake brings with it several weather-related conditions that can create threats to the enjoyment of the area.

Climate data for Chesterton, Indiana
Average high °F (°C)30.5
Average low °F (°C)14.3
Rainfall inches (mm)1.96
Snowfall inches (cm)12
Source: [53]

Working in the National Lakeshore[edit]

Working in the Dunes

The National Lakeshore provides a variety of programs through individuals who volunteer their time and energy to the park and its visitors. Over the years, the annual report of Volunteer In Parks has shown significant contributions. Volunteer opportunities are list in a nationwide website called America’s Natural and Cultural Resources Volunteer Portal.

This year docents led more than 100 environmental education programs for more than 2,500 students. The Junior Ranger and Advanced Junior Ranger participants worked over 2,300 hours, conducting exotic species removal, native seed collection, habitat restoration, and various cultural resource projects. A great crew of volunteers hosted a well-received public program titled "Gathering at the Calumet." Volunteers also worked approximately 2,000 hours during the Maple Sugar Time and Duneland Harvest festivals. Throughout the summer, volunteers enabled the park to keep several historic buildings open to the public during the Summer Open-House programs.[65]

Artist-in-Residence is a unique volunteer program where a variety of visual artist spend 2–4 weeks in the park. In addition to doing their painting, sculpting, or other art, these volunteers display their works and provide public programs about their art.[66]

Dunes National Park Association (DNPA)[edit]

In 2012, The Dunes National Park Association (DNPA) was established as a nonprofit organization dedicated to supporting the Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore. The DNPA is endorsed by the Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore. The primary purpose of the DNPA is to solicit funds for the direct benefit or support of the Lakeshore and related activities, advocate on behalf of the park and educate the community on the abundant resources available in the national park.[67]

See also[edit]

Geological forms--North to South--

People associated with the Dunes[edit]

National park units in Indiana[edit]



  1. ^ The Archaeology of Porter County; J. Gilbert McAllister; Indiana History Bulletin; Vol. X, No. 1; October 1932; Historical Bureau of the Indiana Library and Historical Department, Indianapolis; 1932
  2. ^ Bailly Homestead, Historic Structures Report, Historical Data Section; Dr. Harry Pfanz, ca. 1972, pg 4 ^ manuscript, Margaret Larson; ca. 1907
  3. ^
  4. ^ a b c Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore website
  5. ^ a b c d The Indiana Dunes – Legacy of Sand; Special Report 8; State of Indiana Department of Natural Resources;
  6. ^ a b c d e f Kenneth J. Schoon, Calumet Beginnings, 2003
  7. ^ a b c d Historic Structures Report and Cultural Landscape Report; Phase II: Environmental Assessment for Good Fellow Club Youth Camp; USDI, National Park Service; Porter, Indiana; June 2009
  8. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m Mammals of the Indiana Dunes; John O. Whitaker, Jr., John Gibble, & Eric Kjellmark; Scientific Monograph NPS/NRINDU/NRSM-94/24. United States Department of the Interior, National Park Service, 1994
  9. ^ a b c Indiana Dunes, Animals
  10. ^ Ferns of the Dune Region of Indiana' R.M. Tryon, Jr.; The American Midland Naturalist; The University of Notre Dame, Notre Dame, Indiana, Vol. 17 No. 1; January 1936
  11. ^ Indiana Dunes, Plants
  12. ^ a b Lichens and Air Quality in Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore, Final Report; Clifford M. Wetmore, University of Minnesota, St. Paul, Minnesota, June 1986
  13. ^ Ecology of Miller Woods, National Park Service, Midwest Region, Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore Research Program, Report 90-01
  14. ^ Native Wildflowers of the Indiana Dunes; Emma B. Pitcher & Noel B. Pavlovic, Friends of the Indiana Dunes, 1992
  15. ^ The Singing Sands, Summer 2009, Vol. 30, no 1, National Park Service, Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore; Porter, Indiana 2009
  16. ^ a b The Auk, A Quarterly Journal of Ornithology, Volume 38, The American Ornithologists' Union, Lancaster PA, 1921
  17. ^ The Cougar Almanac; Robert H. Busch: 2004; 160 pgs
  18. ^ Natural Areas in Indiana and Their Preservation; Lindsey, Alton A., Damian V. Schmelz, Stanley A. Nichols; American Midland Naturalist, Dept of Biology, University of Notre Dame, Notre Dame, Indiana, 1969; pg 523–530
  19. ^ a b c Great Marsh Restoration, At Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore, Pamphlet, Porter, Indiana, obtained 2010
  20. ^ Indiana Dunes, National Park Service brochure
  21. ^ Ecology of Miller Woods, Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore Research Program report 90-01; National Park Service, Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore; Porter, Indiana; 1990
  22. ^ Daniel, Glenda; Dune Country, A Hiker's Guide to the Indiana Dunes; Illustrated by Carol Lerner; Swallow Press; Chicago, Illinois; 1984, pg 121.
  23. ^ Bailly Homestead, Historic Structures Report, Historical Data Section; Dr. Harry Pfanz,
  24. ^ Chellberg Landscape Report, Chellberg Farm, Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore, National Park Service, March 2000
  25. ^ Frances R. Howe, The Story of a French Homestead in the Old Northwest, p 68.
  26. ^ a b BAILLY CEMETERY, at Baileytown, near Porter, Westchester Township, Porter County Indiana; Cemetery of the Pioneer family of Honore Gratien Joseph Bailly de Messein; and Marie LeFevre; Burials 1827 to 1918; Olga May Schiemann, 1952; pg 1
  27. ^ The Bailly Cemetery; CW Nelson, Chesterton Tribune, December 22, 1949; pg 5
  28. ^ Cultural Sites of Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore; National Park Service, Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore; Porter, Indiana
  29. ^ Good Fellow Club Youth Camp, Chesterton, Indiana; Historic Structures Report and Cultural Landscape Report; July 2005
  30. ^ Historic American Building Survey (HABS), National Park Service, IN-258, IN 259, and IN 260, Washington, D.C.
  31. ^ National Register of Historic Places Multiple Property Documentation Form; Selected Swedish Farmsteads of Porter County, Indiana; NPS Form 10-900- B; Kenneth R. Dodson, July 10, 1994
  32. ^ Education Programs At Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore brochure; National Park Service
  33. ^ a b c d e Indiana Dunes, the Casual Coast; Porter County Convention and Rec Commission, 2008
  34. ^ a b c Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore brochure; National Park Service; 2001
  35. ^ a b [1][dead link]
  36. ^ Making the waterways more paddle-friendly; Heather Augustyn, Times Correspondent; Monday, June 15, 2009
  37. ^ a b c d e Schedule of Events
  38. ^ a b c d e f g h i Educational Adventures in the Dunes, A Teachers' Planning Guide to Environmental Education Programs in the Indiana Dunes; Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore, Porter, Indiana; 2009
  39. ^ Professional Development
  40. ^ [2]; [3]
  41. ^ a b Indiana Dunes Accessibility
  42. ^ BioBlitz ends with success, despite weather; Northwest Indiana Times, May 17, 2009
  43. ^ Tally of species to grow; May 17, 2009; Amy LaValley; Post-Tribune, Michigan City, Indiana
  44. ^ BioBlitz, Species Inventory Information, Facts – National Geographic
  45. ^ Indiana Dunes, Dunewood Campground Information, National Park Service; Porter, Indiana; July 2007
  46. ^ Activities At Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore; National Park Service; Porter, Indiana
  47. ^ a b
  48. ^ Learning Center
  49. ^ The Singing Sands,; Fall 2008–Spring 2009; Vol 29, No. 1; cover story
  50. ^ A Times Special Report, NWI Now; March 1, 2009; The Times, Hammond, Indiana; Pg AA14
  51. ^ The Eight Beaches of Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore; National Park Service, Porter, Indiana; 2007
  52. ^ a b Valpo man risks life to save girl in rip current; confusion on the beach; Kevin Nevers; Chesterton Tribune, Vol. 127, No. 51, Page 1 & 12; Chesterton, Indiana; 6/11/2010
  53. ^ "Weatherbase: Historical Weather for Chesterton, Indiana". Retrieved January 7, 2009. 
  54. ^ Press release: National Park Service Plans for Prescribed Fires this Fall; October 15, 2009
  55. ^ Press Release, Summer Visitation Increases at Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore, July 17, 2009
  56. ^ Press Release: Fireworks Prohibited, June 19, 2009
  57. ^ Press Release: Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore Seeks Public Input for an Interpretation and Education Plan, March 01, 2010
  58. ^ Press Release: Parkids Develop Untold Stories, July 7, 2009
  59. ^ Press Release: National Park Service Hosts Annual Architecture Open House, September 30, 2009
  60. ^ The Singing Sands; Fall 2009 – Vol. 30, No. 2; Cowles Bog Wetland Restoration Project; pg 5
  61. ^ Press Release: Seeking Comments on White-tailed Deer Management Plan, February 5, 2009
  62. ^ Press Release: President's Fiscal Year 2008 NPS Budget Proposal, March 31, 2008
  63. ^ Press Release: Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore is Seeking to Locate Temporary Housing, March 12, 2010
  64. ^ Press Release; National Park Service Closes Section of Furnessville Road Due to Storm Damage, August 21, 2009
  65. ^ Volunteer In Park, 2005 Report; Department of the Interior, National Park Service; GPO, Washington, D.C. 2006; pg 20.
  66. ^ Press Release: Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore Showcases Artists' Work, August 27, 2009
  67. ^ "Dunes National Park Association". 
  68. ^ Indiana's Unrivaled Sand Dunes: a National Park Opportunity
  69. ^ About Frank V. Dudley : Frank V. Dudley Exhibit : Events : Valparaiso University
  70. ^ Hazel Hannell remembered as Dunes artist and advocate
  71. ^ Gregg Hertzlieb: "Hazel Hannell: 'Still Life, 1946'"
  72. ^ Internet Movie Database,
  73. ^ Olga Mae Schiemann, From A Bailly Point of View, An introduction to the first pioneer family of northwestern Indiana, Chicago, Illinois, 1952. Issued as a Duneland Historical Society Publication, August 1955.
  74. ^ Images of America, Westchester Township, Westchester Public Library; Arcadia, Books, 1999; pg 22
  75. ^ Images of America, Westchester Township, Westchester Public Library; Arcadia, Books, 1999; pg 19
  76. ^ Dune Boy: The Early Years of a Naturalist, Edwin W Teale; 1943

Further reading[edit]

External links[edit]