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|Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore|
IUCN category V (protected landscape/seascape)
|Location||Porter / Lake / LaPorte counties, Indiana, United States|
|Nearest city||Gary, Indiana|
|Area||15,067 acres (60.97 km2)|
|Established||November 5, 1966|
|Visitors||2,127,336 (in 2005)|
|Governing body||National Park Service|
|Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore|
IUCN category V (protected landscape/seascape)
|Location||Porter / Lake / LaPorte counties, Indiana, United States|
|Nearest city||Gary, Indiana|
|Area||15,067 acres (60.97 km2)|
|Established||November 5, 1966|
|Visitors||2,127,336 (in 2005)|
|Governing body||National Park Service|
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, from Griffith, Indiana, on the west to Michigan City, Indiana on the east. 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. The National Lakeshore includes the Indiana Dunes State Park (1916), which is owned and managed by the state of Indinana2,182-acre (883 ha)Porter, 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 BC (Goodall Focus) to 800 BC (early Mississippian). 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.
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. 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. 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
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". 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. 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).
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) 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. 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.
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.
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. 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. 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. Over time, the sand spits would merge with the far shoreline forming interdunal ponds. 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. 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.
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. Populations of each plant group are estimated to be around 100-120 individual plants. The species included are:
Among the rare and endangered wildlife are:
In addition, the park has habitat suitable for:
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.
|Group||Number of Species||Extirpated Species||See 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|
|List of crustaceans of the Indiana Dunes|
|List of Arachnids of the Indiana Dunes|
|Insects of the Indiana Dunes and Ants of the Indiana Dunes|
|Arthropoda (Myriapoda)- other Invertebrates|
|Invertebrates of Indiana Dunes|
|List of non-marine mollusks of the Indiana Dunes|
|Plants or Plantae|
|All samples were confirmed in the Indiana Dunes State Park|
|Vascular plant-flowering plants|
|Flowering Plants of the Indiana Dunes|
|Bryophytes - Bryophyta (mosses), Marchantiophyta (liverworts), and Anthocerotophyta (hornworts).|
|Algae - especially the green algae.|
|Lichens algae and fungi in a symbiotic arrangement|
|Change in the number of species between 1896 (Calkins) and 1986 (Wetmore)|
|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).
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.
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.
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:
|Species||Latin Name||Last Seen|
|Eastern Cougar||F.c. Cougaur|
|American Bison||Bos Bison|
|Elk||Wapiti (Cervus elephus)|
|Gray Wolf||Canius Lupus|
|Red Wolf||Canus Rufus|
|Black Bear||Ursus Americanus|
|Fisher (animal)||Martes Pennanti|
|River Otter||Lutra canadenais|
|Passenger Pigeon||Ectopistes migratorius|
|Piping Plover||Charadrius 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
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, 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.
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. 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.
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:
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.
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 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.
Mnoke Prairie is an active prairie restoration along Beam Street in the central portion of the park.
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, 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.
The Bailly-Chellberg farmstead is located close to the geographic center of the National Lakeshore, at U.S. Route 20 and Mineral Springs Road.
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. The Homestead was designated a U.S. National Historic Landmark in 1962.
The real estate became the home of the Chellberg family, who built a farm on its sandy soil. As of 2008[update], the Lakeshore maintains a heritage farm on the Chellberg land, with the Bailly family cemetery on the northern edge of the property.
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. Today, the forest covers the dunes and the lake is not visible. Numerous changes have occurred since the first burial in 1827.
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.
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.
Century of Progress Architectural District
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.
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. 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
The Indiana Dunes has numerous short hike trails and a few longer distance trails:
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.
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.
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.
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.
Maple Sugar Time 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 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 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 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 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.
Fall Fanfare 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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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.
DUNES EDUCATOR INSTITUTES
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.
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,
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.
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. 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. The talley had risen to 1200 unique species by June 1.
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|
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.
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.
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.
Geological forms--North to South--
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