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Fans of Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore Being Asked to Contribute Ideas to Lakeshore's Future


Winter's brute force is evident along the shores of Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore. NPS photo.

Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore could accurately be described as an "urban" park. Its location on Lake Michigan is rimmed by Indiana towns and cities such as Gary, Hammond, Portage, Valparasio, and Michigan City. And, understandably, the residents of those communities have a vested interest in the lakeshore's future. That's where the National Park and Conservation Association's "National Park, Regional Treasure" program comes into play.

This program is a partnership between the NPCA and The Eppley Institute at Indiana University, The Field Museum of Chicago, and the National Park Service. Through the endeavor they hope to "open a meaningful dialog about the challenges and opportunities at Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore. The strategic planning project is a call for ideas to improve the visitor experience, connect the park to surrounding communities and the Chicago area, and to enhance Indiana Dune's future as an iconic national park."

Here's the lowdown on the project:

What makes this strategic plan different from other plans the Park Service has already developed at Indiana Dunes?

This strategic planning process is being led by NPCA and other park partners in cooperation with the National Park Service. Unlike the park’s existing General Management Plan, which primarily focuses on managing the park’s natural and cultural treasures, this strategic plan will focus on identifying park challenges and developing solutions with the help of park partners, supporters, community residents, and visitors.

What is the Park Service’s role in this planning process?

As a partner in this planning process, the Park Service is eager to enhance the connection between Indiana Dunes and its supporters and visitors. Many of the recommendations in the final plan will likely be directed toward building new and strong park partnerships and others may be focused on park operations, so the Park Service’s expertise and input is crucial to the success of the plan and its subsequent implementation.

How will the public participate?

The project team will talk to many people over the next several months by phone, email, and in person and will survey park visitors at various times during the project. A special online survey allows you to provide your thoughts and input as well. Or you can send us an email with your comments to: or provide feedback here.

What kinds of things will this plan cover?

We will be looking at many different aspects of the park: how a visitor’s experience can be improved; how the unique resources can be preserved amid pressure from surrounding development; and how to inspire a new generation of park supporters to care for the park. And we will be looking for new ideas and fresh thoughts from people who care about Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore.

When will the plan be completed?

The planning process has begun and the finished report is anticipated in the spring of 2011.


Perhaps im a little late finding and responding to this post but am glad i found it. I live in Indiana as like many others on this forum and i as well drive a thousand miles to new smyrna and haulover beach and spend about a thousand dollars,  so me and my family can visit the Nude Beaches. Indiana as a whole would Benifit from a legal nude beach as well as the park, because of my gas stops, restaurant purchases and snacks just on the way to the beach in probably several different cities. im excited about this notion and ill be monitering it. You got my vote 100% SEE YOU THERE!

The national lakeshore should make Kemil beach clothing optional. I've seen several nudists there in recent years and it doesn't seem to me that they are hurting anyone. They are usually secluded and minding their own business.

nude sunnbathinng is a great idea. Beautiful beachfront in nature wearing nature! You get my vote

We would use Central Beach more often if it were clothing optional.  The beach is wondeful.  Dogs allowed is nice.  Clothing optional would be fantastic.  We visit Mazo beach in Wisconsin.  Great nude beach.  Central beach would be closer.  Please consider make Central Beach clothing optional.

Another vote for clothing optional! Being from the Chicago land area I would take several trips a year there

A clothing optional beach would be a terrific idea. My wife and myself went to St. Martin for the holidays and went to a clothing optional beach for the first time. We had such a relaxing time at this beach cloths free, we decided to go their for three straight days. All the people we met on this beach were so pelite and respectful of the property and other visitors. More people were on this section of beach than the other two-thirds. We live in eastcentral Indiana and would differential come to the clothes optional Dunes on a regular basis.

i think it would be nice if central beach was clothing optional

I am a lifelong resident of Indianapolis and I have not visited the dunes since childhood. However, if there were an officially sanctioned clothing optional beach there my wife and I would make regular trips during the summers. I agree with a number of comments above about the pros of having a clothing optional beach. I think it would make a great day trip destination for a number of tourists that would take great care of the beach and the park. Does anyone know how we can really see if this idea has legs?

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