MICHIGAN CITY — It took more than 100 years, but Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore, a 15,000-acre park stretching along the Lake Michigan Shoreline from Gary to Michigan City, is finally on its way to becoming a national park.
That is, if the legislation continues moving forward.
On Wednesday, the House Committee on Natural Resources approved Congressman Pete Visclosky’s legislation, H.R. 1488, the Indiana Dunes National Park Act, by unanimous consent. The measure is now referred to the full House and is expected to be considered in the coming months.
According to a press release from Visclosky's office, H.R. 1488 would retitle the “Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore” as the “Indiana Dunes National Park.” The designation would create the first National Park in Indiana and the 60th National Park in the United States. The initial effort to name this area as a National Park began in 1916 under the first director of the National Park Service, Stephen Mather. The National Park designation would provide greater recognition of this Northwest Indiana attraction with the intent of drawing more visitors to the region and stimulating the local economy.
Additionally, a bipartisan companion measure has been introduced in the Senate by Sen. Joe Donnelly. This measure is cosponsored by Sen. Todd Young and is currently pending consideration in the Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources.
In the release, Visclosky said, “I thank Chairman Rob Bishop, Ranking Member Raul Grijalva, and all the members of the Natural Resources Committee, for their leadership to bring forward and advance this legislation. I hope that the full House considers this important legislation as soon as possible so that we can quickly begin to harness this national recognition of the Indiana Dunes and attract new visitors and economic activity to our region.”
Senator Joe Donnelly said, “The Indiana Dunes is one of the most beautiful natural resources in our state and our region, and I am hopeful the full House of Representatives will quickly pass this legislation now that it has advanced from the Committee. Designating the Dunes as a National Park would give the area the recognition it deserves, attract more visitors, and further stimulate the region’s economy.”
Senator Todd Young stated, “I appreciate Rep. Visclosky and his House colleagues for acting on this bill. Many Hoosier families have fond memories of times spent together at the Indiana Dunes. Changing its designation to a National Park will give families who live outside our great state the opportunity to know about, and enjoy, one of Indiana’s most beautiful places.”
Congresswoman Jackie Walorski stated, “The Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore is a treasured source of natural beauty and outdoor recreation for not just Hoosier families but all Americans. Making it the first National Park in Indiana will strengthen our state’s economy by drawing more tourists from around the country and boosting the outdoor recreation industry that is so vital to our region. I look forward to voting for this bipartisan bill on the House floor.”