PORTAGE — The Porter County Chapter of the Izaak Walton League turned 60 this year and celebrated its birthday with a gathering of friends and members at the Portage Lakefront Park and Riverfront.
Founding members Herb and Charlotte Read, of Chesterton, were recognized and shared their history and memories at the event. The chapter was founded in 1958.
U.S. Rep. Pete Visclosky, D-Gary, attended the event and presented the chapter with a certification for a continuing resolution which was read into the Congressional Record on Oct. 26. It recognized the chapter for its contributions to conservation and the Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore.
"This chapter helped create that park," Visclosky said. "It is one of the greatest assets we have in Northwest Indiana."
Guest speaker Paul Labovitz, superintendent of the national lakeshore, talked about how important it is for government agencies to work with the public.
"National parks are typically created by small groups of passionate individuals," Labovitz said.
The national lakeshore adds about $250 million to the region’s economy annually, he said.
"And that is part of your legacy, too," Labovitz told the Reads. "Be proud of that."
"We are really proud of our group. We have excellent volunteers, lots of expertise and centuries of experience. We are ready for the next 60 years," chapter President Gary Brown said.