The Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore went through a process called an Environmental Assessment (EA) to evaluate a series of options on Wabash Avenue in Porter Beach near the lakefront. The National Lakeshore’s land is right next to town land, and at times it is tough balancing the needs of the local community with those of the many beach visitors coming to the area each year.
Save the Dunes commented on the National Lakeshore’s plans. We were unsure that an expansion of the parking area was warranted. Actual data about traffic, users, and need was not part of the document, but references were made to such figures. We would like to see a solid study of the facts before decisions are made to expand or redesign parking areas. Also, some of the area has conservative native plants, and the lack of data did not warrant damage to the ecosystem, in our opinion.
Some wonderful ideas were part of the EA, including raising the sidewalks, which are currently at grade and present a tremendous risk to beach visitors, particularly children. A foot wash is currently causing issues, and its redesign is recommended and should happen as soon as possible.
We look forward to hearing the final decision from the National Park Service soon, and thank them for including us in this process. Should you want to review our comments, click here.