The new appropriations bill signed by President Donald Trump includes a major designation for one of Indiana’s most popular attractions. The bill includes a provision that officially turns the Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore into the state’s first national park.
The area in Porter County is now known as Indiana Dunes National Park. The change follows a years-long effort by members of Indiana’s congressional delegation, led by Congressman Pete Visclosky (D-1), to turn the site into the 61st National Park in the United States.
"I am heartened that because of the support of our U.S. Senators, the entire Indiana Congressional delegation, and numerous Northwest Indiana organizations, we have successfully titled the first National Park in our state," said Visclosky. "This action provides our shoreline with the recognition it deserves, and I hope further builds momentum to improve open and public access to all of our region’s environmental wonders."
Indiana Dunes Tourism also celebrated the designation Friday. Executive Director Lorelei Weimer says the state’s first national park will be a "significant boon to Indiana’s economic development, specifically tourism, which already pumps $476 million into our economy annually."
Other members of the state’s congressional delegation released statements on the change.
Sen. Todd Young (R-IN):
This designation certifies what we Hoosiers have known all along — Indiana Dunes is not just a state treasure, but a national treasure as well. I commend Representative Visclosky for his perseverance on this important Hoosier priority. Without his tireless advocacy, this goal would not have been accomplished. I look forward to visiting Indiana’s first National Park very soon.
Rep. Jackie Walorski (R-2)
I’m thrilled that the Indiana Dunes will be our state’s first National Park. The Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore has long been a treasured place for Hoosiers to relax, explore, and enjoy all that nature has to offer, as well as a strong driver of our local economy. The Indiana Dunes National Park will draw even more visitors from across the country, strengthening Indiana’s economy and boosting the outdoor recreation industry that is so vital to our region.
Senator Mike Braun (R-IN) and Representatives Jim Banks (R-3), Jim Baird (R-4), Larry Bucshon (R-8), and Trey Hollingsworth (R-9) voted against the appropriations bill.