10 Facts About America’s 61st National Park: Indiana Dunes National Park
Indiana Dunes National Park | Chesterton, IN
Two months ago, America received its 61st national park when Indiana Dunes was awarded the official designation. Prior to February 15, 2019, the northwest Indiana beachfront was a national lakeshore.
Get to know the newest U.S. National Park with these top ten tidbits about the Indiana Dunes:
- Indiana Dunes is Indiana's first official U.S. National Park
- The park borders 15 miles of beach along the southern shore of Lake Michigan, with its visitor center in Porter, Indiana.
- There are multiple ecosystems packed into the park: Sand dunes, wetlands, prarie, river, and forest.
- The Indiana sand dunes are a treasure trove of nature featuring more than 1,100 flowering plant species and ferns as well as more than 350 species of birds. There is even an area set aside as breeding grounds for the great blue heron.
- The park covers 15,000 acres with 50 miles of hiking trails.
- The top things to do at the Indiana Dunes include hiking, horseback riding, birding, biking, and swimming. In the winter, cross-country skiing and snowshoeing are popular activities.
- Indiana Dunes National Park contains four national natural landmarks and one national historical landmark within its boundaries.
- The national park is not contiguous, as the beachfront is interrupted by a Port of Indiana as well as the adjacent Indiana Dunes State Park (which is managed by the state of Indiana).
- The long history of the area has been marked by a struggle between conservation and commerce, starting in 1899 when a Chicago botanist brought international attention to the rich ecological diversity of the dunes. Shortly thereafter, the region's industry boomed with steel mills and power plants. Even today, the park is intersected by an industrial harbor.
- The park's visitor center is named for Dorothy Buell, who founded the "Save the Dunes" Council in 1952 and lobbied to have the area protected by declaring it a national lakeshore.
For more information, and to watch informational videos on the park, visit: https://www.nps.gov/indianadunes
Learn about the other 60 U.S. National Parks in the National Parks book!