Indiana Dunes To Officially Be Designated As A National Park

Mike Krauser
May 24, 2019 - 12:07 pm

CHICAGO (WBBM NEWSRADIO) -- Next Tuesday is the official re-naming ceremony for the Indiana Dunes National Park, a designation more than 100 years in the making.  

It was 1916 when Stephen Mather, the first director of the National Park Service, first proposed making the Indiana Dunes a national park. 

In 1966 it was designated the National Lakeshore. And in February 2019 came the national park designation. 

The 15,000 acre park on the lake has 50-miles of trails through woods, wooded dunes, wetlands and savannahs. 

Bruce Rowe, the Supervisory Park Ranger, said there’s something special about the name "national park." 

“We’re really excited about the name change.  There’s only 61 out of the 419 national park sites that carry the name 'national park.' We think a lot of people are starting to look at the Indiana Dunes perhaps differently.  We always knew it was special, but now other people are realizing that thanks to the name change," Rowe said. 

He said they have roughly 2 million visitors a year. 

He expects that that number is going to grow and he said he has heard from a lot of people who now plan to visit since the national park designation. 

"It started almost the day of the name change back in mid-February.  We started getting calls and emails at our visitor's center from people all over the country who said, 'hey we heard you just became a national park, we'd like to come and see it this summer,' so certainly we expect our visitation to increase," Rowe said. 

There are 154 National Lakeshore signs, each of which will eventually be changed.