Indiana Dunes - History
History | Earliest Efforts | Legislation History | Natives of NW Indiana | Letters of Victory
For more than a century people have struggled to keep the Indiana Dunes from disappearing beneath harbors, breakwaters, steel mills, and unchecked housing development. Since the Save the Dunes Council was founded in 1952, it has worked to create a National Lakeshore (1966), then to enlarge and protect it from such encroachments, as a proposed jetport, a railroad yard, and a nuclear power plant. Only 13 of Indiana's 45 miles of Lake Michigan shoreline are within authorized boundaries of the national and state parks. The efforts of the Save the Dunes Council and others have preserved these 15,000 acres. However, beautiful and important Dunes, prairies and wetlands remain outside the parks, undefended. But even putting land into parks is not the final answer. New threats to the Dune's ecosystem are always emerging...among them the often invisible villains of air and water polution, toxic waste, landfills, and the filling and draining of wetlands.
Help us meet the challenges ahead.
For 10,000 years water, wind and sand have worked to make the Indiana Dunes a place like no other on Earth. The area's long sandy beaches, dunes, Beech-Maple forests, marshes and bogs are home to a rich variety of plants and animals from places as far-flung as the desert, prairie, Deep South and the Arctic. Gentians, orchids and other rare flora and fauna thrive here. Woodland streams nurture salmon and trout. And more than two million people each year-the same number that visit Yellowstone and Glacier National Parks-find rest and recreation on the Dune's beaches and trails. Nature made the Dunes what they are but it has taken more than nature alone to keep them.
"The Dunes are a symbol of the crisis that faces all Americans. It is as though we were standing on the last acre and were faced with a decision of how it should be used...In essence, it foreshadows the time not far removed when we shall in all truth be standing on that last, unused, unprotected acre and be wondering which way to go." --Senator Paul H. Douglas in 1958
The Battles for the Indiana Dunes: The 1966 legislation
The Battles For The Indiana Dunes, Part II - Making the park a reality: 1967-1976
The Battles For The Indiana Dunes: Part III: 1977 to 1980
The Battles For The Indiana Dunes: Part IV: 1981 to 1986 - Legislation, Litigation, and Loss