Indiana Dunes Portage Lakefront and Riverwalk

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Indiana Dunes Beaches Ready for a Busy Summer Season

June 16, 2017 - Bruce Rowe, Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore

Work is complete to make visits to the nearly 17 miles of Lake Michigan shoreline at Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore and Indiana Dunes State Park even more welcoming for millions of visitors this summer. The two parks, located on the southern shore of Lake Michigan, encompass the Indiana Dunes, the state’s most popular tourist destination, which attracted more than 3 million visitors in 2016.

“The Indiana dunes are truly a national treasure,” said Natalie Johnson, Executive Director of Save the Dunes. “They offer an unparalleled nature experience, including an amazing variety of wildlife and plants, wonderful hiking trails, and the kind of outdoor adventure you rarely find so close to home. It’s the best beach vacation you can find away from an ocean.”

Efforts to make the Indiana Dunes a worry-free experience began after reports that a steel mill spilled hexavalent chromium into the Burns Waterway near Lake Michigan. The Environmental Protection Agency tested hundreds water samples after the spill and found no significant trace of the chemical. More recent tests along Indiana Dunes beaches shows the water is fine, but the National Park Service decided to conduct weekly water tests to ensure the highest water quality.

Later this year, the National Park Service hopes to reopen access to the popular beach at Mount Baldy, which has been closed since 2013 after the hazards were discovered on the dune face. Extensive testing found the beach safe. It will reopen once work is completed on a secure trail down Mount Baldy, to provide access. The Mount Baldy dune will remain closed, except for ranger-led tours.

In addition, the parks have developed a variety of special visitor programs during the summer.
At the National Lakeshore, park staff will offer free “Beach Fun Friday” activities at West Beach. Join park staff each Friday at 1:00 pm to try out kayaks and paddleboards in Lake Michigan. After sunset, gather around a beach campfire to enjoy stories and song while toasting some marshmallows. The program is offered from June 16 through September 1.

At the Indiana Dunes State Park, swimming is allowed only when lifeguards are on duty. However, for the first time in decades, the lifeguard staff has been expanded to allow swimming seven days per week on both the eastern and western portions of the beach. In recent years, swimming was allowed only on the western section on weekdays. The family-friendly beach will conduct a fireworks program on June 29 and will host the popular sand sculpture contest on July 8.

For more information about the upcoming beach season, contact Indiana Dunes State Park at 219-926-1952 or Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore at 219-395-1882.

Team announced for restoration of The House of Tomorrow in Beverly Shores

March 16, 2017 - Chesterton Tribune

The team chosen to lead the rehabilitation of The House of Tomorrow was announced this month by Indiana Landmarks and the National Trust for Historic Preservation.

The House of Tomorrow--America’s first all-glass residence, designed by Chicago architect George Fred Keck for the 1933-34 Chicago Century of Progress World’s Fair and named a National Treasure last year by the National Trust--currently sits, dilapidated, atop a sand dune at Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore in Beverly Shores.

The design team working to rehabilitate America’s first glass house includes the following Chicago-based firms: bKL Architecture; Bauer Latoza Studio; Wiss, Janney, Elstner Associates, Inc.; Willoughby Engineering; and HJKessler Associates.

Last fall Indiana Landmarks and the National Trust launched a $2.5-million campaign to restore the house, and National Park Service and Indiana State Historic Preservation staff will ensure the project meets preservation standards.

Fourth Graders to Receive Every Kid in a Park Passes

March 27, 2017 - Grace Lee, National Park Trust

Partners are coming together to ensure kids across America can experience our national parks and public lands. The National Park Trust, The North Face, and Outdoors Alliance for Kids will join the National Park Service to co-host an Every Kid in a Park event at Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore for 60 fourth graders from the Chicago Academy. This is the fourth event to be hosted in five different cities (NYC, D.C, San Francisco, Chicago, and Boston) all funded by The North Face Explore Fund.

The Every Kid in a Park program allows all fourth graders and their families free access to all federal lands for an entire year. This Every Kid in a Park launch event will feature a welcome program with the Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore Superintendent Paul Labovitz as well as speakers from National Park Trust.

Legislation introduced to make national lakeshore a national park

March 10, 2017 - Northwest Indiana Times

U.S. Sen. Joe Donnelly and U.S. Rep. Pete Visclosky, both Hoosier Democrats, have revived legislation to designate the Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore as a national park.

Donnelly and Visclosky said they have the support of the entire Indiana congressional delegation.

The legislation introduced Wednesday would rename the park as the Indiana Dunes National Park and create the first national park in Indiana and the 60th national park in the United States, which Donnelly and Visclosky say would give greater recognition to the natural beauty of the dunes and potentially draw more visitors and boost the local economy.

Stephen Mather, the first director of the National Park Service, proposed designating the southern shore of Lake Michigan as the Sand Dunes National Park in 1916 because of the vast biological diversity and geological features of the Northwest Indiana lakeshore. The proposal, however, was abandoned at the onset of World War I.

National Park Service to Hire Youth Workers for Summer 2017

March 1, 2017 - Florida Harris, Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore

INDIANA DUNES NATIONAL LAKESHORE: Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore has jobs for 10 teenagers this summer. The Youth Conservation Corps (YCC) program is a work-learn-earn program for 15-18 year-olds. The deadline to apply is April 22, 2017.   

Participants are paid $7.25 an hour for the 40-hour work week. The program runs from June 4 to August 12, 2017, and applicants should be prepared to work the entire length of the program. Youth jobs include working as part of a crew to do a variety of manual labor tasks, normally outdoors. The crews perform work such as staining, painting and caulking the exterior of park buildings and work as grounds maintenance (mowing grass, picking up trash, cleaning restrooms, etc.) and trails rehabilitation.

No experience is necessary. Participants will be selected by random draw from the pool of applications.