A Brief History

Dorothy R. Buell,
Dorothy R. Buell, Founder

The Indiana dunes region is renowned as the birthplace of ecology, boasting of complex natural systems and over 1,100 plant species. Yet, for more than a century, people have struggled to keep this precious landscape from disappearing beneath harbors, breakwaters, steel mills, and unchecked development. In 1952, Ogden Dunes native Dorothy Buell founded Save the Dunes simply to protect the remaining untouched dunes of Northwest Indiana. One of our greatest triumphs was aiding in the establishment of the Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore in 1966 and fostering several dune-expansion bills to increase its size to over 15,000 acres of lands and waters.

With a growing Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore and the Indiana Dunes State Park nestled in between, some may claim that the dunes are already saved. However, there continues to be new threats that endanger these beloved lands and waters. Invasive species, water pollution, degraded habitats, development pressures, and more threaten the protection of both the dunes and Lake Michigan for current and future generations. While saving the dunes looks differently than what it may have over 65 years ago, we continue to do meaningful work to preserve, protect, and restore the Indiana dunes and our Lake Michigan.

“We are prepared to spend the rest of our lives if necessary to save the dunes.”

Dorothy R. Buell, Founder