Indiana Dunes
Administrative History
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The Save the Dunes Council continues today to monitor park development and to work with the National Park Service staff. Its position vis—a—vis the Park Service is supportive, watchful, and wary. The Council recognizes that as a government agency, the Service operates under certain restraints and is vulnerable to political pressure. The Council sees its role as being helpful, independent...and tough when the situation warrants. Its prime purpose is to defend the resource—to protect the park and its natural values which so many have worked so hard, so long, so determinedly to preserve.

Sylvia Troy, President, Save the Dunes Council 1967—1976, and Trustee/Secretary, Shirley Heinze Environmental Education Fund [1]

Operations, 1984—1987


The completion of the reorganization for the lakeshore's four staff divisions came during 1984. In Maintenance, four custodial positions were eliminated in accordance with the draft "Maintenance Operation Plan" which outlined established maintenance chores, standards, and operating procedures. The Office of Management and Budget (OMB) mandated the analysis of operations through its previously issued OMB Circular A—76. Among tasks to be contracted outside the Service were snow removal (effective in November 1984) and custodial services (effective in March 1985). In the evaluation of motor vehicle maintenance, cost comparisons revealed preventive maintenance should remain in—house while significant repairs should be contracted outside the Service. Bids were also invited to provide lifeguard services at the West Beach, Wells Street, Kemil Road, and Central Avenue beaches.

Through purchase and donation, the national lakeshore acquired nineteen historic South Shore Railroad cars. The park awarded a contract for the restoration of one railway car to the Indiana Transportation Museum to ready it for its eventual exhibit at the proposed East Unit Transit Center. Advanced planning funds for new South Shore Railroad stops were also received during the year. Maintenance crews remodeled government quarters No. 507 to use as a dormitory for male employees. The former dormitory was closed for health and safety reasons. Youth Conservation Corps (YCC) members assisted in this work as well as the relocation of the Science Division to Building 102 at the Bailly Administrative Area. The division vacated the Rostone House also because of safety concerns related to the advancing Lake Michigan beach erosion at Beverly Shores.

In an evaluation of properties eligible for the Historic Leasing Program, Superintendent Engquist determined that the park had no candidates. The Chellberg Farm was ineligible for leasing, having failed to meet National Register criteria. Nevertheless, the farm will maintain its historic turn—of—the—century appearance along with thirty acres of fields, cultivated under a special use permit. Possibilities for the leasing program are the 1933—34 World's Fair houses included on the National Register by the Midwest Regional Office as the "Century of Progress/Beverly Shores Architectural District" (listed in 1986). Because of the severe shoreline erosion in the area, candidates for leasing such as the Rostone House were unacceptable for health and safety reasons until the historic structures would be relocated elsewhere in the lakeshore. [2]

A new world's fair captured the lakeshore's attention in 1984 as park management looked into the future to the proposed 1992 World's Fair in nearby Chicago. With encouragement from the Advisory Commission, planning began for the proposed East Unit campground to become reality in time to accommodate the anticipated influx of visitors. [3]

Despite the ill—will over former Secretary James Watt's policies,* Congress appropriated $1,375,000 to complete Indiana Dunes' land acquisition program as stated in the Land Protection Plan. All large tracts were acquired in 1984 and park management was satisfied it had sufficient funds to complete acquisitions in the near future.

*Secretary James Watt resigned his position on November 8, 1983. William C. Clark served as Secretary of the Interior from November 21, 1983, to February 6, 1985. Donald Paul Hodel has held the position since February 7, 1985.

Park budgets Systemwide received a two percent Congressional assessment in order to reduce the Federal deficit. Indiana Dunes' Fiscal Year 1985 budget was reduced by $223,300, to stand at $3,674,100, still $198,600 less than the previous year. The lakeshore's Full—Time Equivalency (FTE) standards fell below the century mark to 99. [4]

Midwest Regional Director Charles H. Odegaard attended the April 16 meeting of the Indiana Dunes Advisory Commission as it began its final two—year term before the September 30, 1985, Congressionally—mandated expiration. During the meeting the lakeshore's newly—published gifts catalog was unveiled. Titled "Your Gift of Forever," the catalog presented the public with the park's wide—ranging financial, material, and human needs and called for donations to assist park operations. The publication was written by Chief Park Interpreter Larry Waldron. Four private organizations shared funding for publishing the gifts catalog. [5]


The lakeshore received its fourth Assistant Superintendent during the year when Larry May transferred to the position of Deputy Superintendent at Gateway National Recreation Area outside of New York City. Glen Alexander, Superintendent of Curecanti National Recreation Area, Colorado, entered on duty as Assistant Superintendent at Indiana Dunes on August 18.

Special Assistant to the Chief Ranger John Townsend drafted a special regulation to curtail the use of alcohol on beaches by stating it served as the basis for "anti—social, unsafe, and hazardous acts" at Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore. Prepared for Midwest Region's and the solicitor's review, the amendment to the Code of Federal Regulations (36 CFR 7.88) would empower the superintendent to prohibit the possession or consumption of alcoholic beverages.* The superintendent could restrict portions of beaches or the entire lakeshore and its campgrounds to the practice. The solicitor opined that the special regulation was unnecessary because the superintendent already had the authority to close or restrict areas. With a sufficient period for publicity, the interdiction of alcohol consumption at West Beach was scheduled for 1987.

*The banning was desirable principally for safety reasons with the potential adverse affects of intoxication under a hot summer sun. In addition, lakeshore rangers faced continued enforcement problems with underaged drinkers, especially from those entering the Lakeshore from the City of Gary's Wells Street beach where alcohol consumption was already illegal. Outlawing alcohol usage at West Beach would also eliminate the jurisdictional inconsistency. See Engquist interview, 16 September 1987.

West Beach operated for its first full year with contracted lifeguard service. While the contract was a success, beaches had to close thirty times because of adverse weather conditions and rip—currents.

Normally scheduled during July, the Duneland Folk Festival was not held in 1985. It merged with another festival, the Autumn Harvest Festival, and was held at the Chellberg Farm in late September. The combined festival became known as the Duneland Harvest Festival. G. R. Davis of the Friends of Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore helped to revive the Singing Sands Almanac, the park's interpretive newsletter which was terminated in 1982. The Friends organized the financial aspects of the newsletter by selling subscriptions to the Almanac. A ten—dollar annual charge included both a subscription and a Friends membership. The Friends also funded scientific research projects and staffed interpretive programs. The new Almanac's editor was Glenda Daniel, noted naturalist and author of Dune Country.

In response to numerous fires in the western United States, nine Indiana Dunes rangers fought fires in California while five others provided support in staging areas. The national effort was coordinated by the National Interagency Fire Coordination Center at the Boise [Idaho] Interagency Fire Center.

During an aerial patrol, law enforcement officers spotted a field of marijuana. Cultivated in an isolated area away from roads and trails, the field of more than 200 plants—with an estimated street value of one to two million dollars—featured its own irrigation system. Providing continuous surveillance, park rangers arrested two individuals suspected of cultivating the illegal plants. The plants were burned. No prosecution, however, transpired.

In another Management Efficiency move, reorganization of the Maintenance Division came at mid—year with the identification of four distinct work groups, each supervised by its own foreman. Workers remodeled quarters No. 504 into a new women's dormitory and Bailly Administrative Area building 102 into offices for Resource Management and Visitor Protection staff. The West Beach Dune Succession Trail, 1,100 feet of boardwalks, stairs, and overlooks, was completed providing visitors an enjoyable dunes walking tour route from the Long Lake Trail to the West Beach Bathhouse. In addition, maintenance workers also renovated several bridges and stairs on the Bailly—Chellberg Trail. A new source of labor was realized late in the year when the U.S. District Court, Northern District of Indiana, established a public service program with the national lakeshore. Under the program, the court may order offenders to perform their public service requirements with the lakeshore's Maintenance Division. [6]

Park Planner Bob Elmore prepared plans to complete the Bailly Administrative Area in terms of centralizing maintenance operations. Advocating the abandonment of deteriorating maintenance outposts throughout the park, Elmore and Denver Service Center planners envisioned consolidating maintenance and storage facilities at one site. To accommodate the park's sizeable maintenance operations, five new structures will be required. [7]

The Indiana Dunes Land Acquisition Office successfully acquired all properties identified in the Land Protection Plan except for the Dunes State Park, Hoosier Prairie, and seven residential properties representing a mere twenty acres. The office recommended condemnation on most of the residential tracts.

Erosion problems continued to escalate with all—time high Lake Michigan water levels recorded during April and May. At Mount Baldy, two interim beach nourishment programs by the Corps of Engineers over the past decade had stemmed difficulties there. The National Park Service supported pending legislation to authorize a $7.9 million long—term program. At Beverly Shores, no nourishment program occurred because of the revetment protection installed in the early 1970s. Rising lake levels, however, imperiled lakefront roads as well as five homes, all park—owned and occupied by the former owners holding reservations of use. On July 26, Beverly Shores closed its Lake Front Drive to automobile traffic. The Park Service supported the move, allowing nature to take its course, and intensified planning efforts to relocate the National Register-eligible World's Fair structures. In late summer, the Service entered into an agreement with Beverly Shores to provide shoreline road stabilization by placing 6,000 tons of sand, half the needed amount, with the town providing the remainder. [8]

One particularly thorny issue facing park management involved the proposed access to West Beach. The heavy influx of visitors to the area—numbering more than a quarter—million people every year—used local access roads not designed for the traffic load. The 1980 General Management Plan (GMP) provided for a new access road, plans for which were devised in 1982 and 1983. The proposed route, running north from Interstate 94 and following an abandoned railroad right—of—way, will pass over U.S. Highway 12 and two railroads via a 1,700—foot bridge. The route will pass through a floodwater retention basin between two shopping centers. While nearby residents worried about the impacts of the road on groundwater levels, the shopping center owners objected to the lack of access to the new road and to each other in the original plans.

Considerable local attention focused on the proposed road with the local Congressmen, Indiana Dunes Advisory Commission, Miller Citizens' Corporation, and the city of Gary supporting the design concepts and environmental groups as well as affected landowners opposing it based on impacts on wetlands. Park management committed itself to resolving the issue and proposed new alignments and design solutions. The Advisory Commission hosted a public meeting on March 20 to record public concerns and then called upon the Park Service to study further the State Road 51, U.S. 20, and shopping center interchange. [9]

Another road problem involved the proposed scenic parkway along U.S. Highway 12. With the right of way on the eastern segment through Beverly Shores remaining in public ownership, the State could relinquish it to the National Park Service. Not to be stymied, Superintendent Engquist began investigating legislative avenues to permit the transfer.

Planning for a campground adjacent to Beverly Shores, 169 acres between U.S. Highway 12 and 20 added under the 1980 bill, began in earnest. Included in the park expressly for a campground, a Development Concept Plan began by conducting a visitor camping demand study. Because the issue was significant to the operations of the Dunes State Park's own campground, the lakeshore pledged to keep the Indiana Department of Natural Resources informed.

Other planning and development issues occupied park planners and managers. A structural analysis of the Goodfellow Lodge revealed rehabilitation was economically impractical, leaving the Service to decide whether a new building should be erected in its place to accommodate the future youth camp. Like the West Unit access road, a similar project for the East Unit began with a corridor location study and an environmental assessment for the proposed I—94 interchange and other modifications to the LaPorte/Porter County Line Road. Planning for the proposed East Unit Transit Center likewise began with an assessment of alternatives, approval of preliminary plans, and the initiation of designs. [10] Twelve tracts totaling less than four acres remained outstanding in the area. With construction apparently just around the corner, fee simple title had to be obtained before the lakeshore could expend funds to build the complex. Noting that the three—year normal time period for negotiations had passed, Superintendent Engquist called upon the Indiana Dunes Land Acquisition Office to place the tracts in complaint in condemnation. [11]

By far the highest profile planning and development project involved the Paul H. Douglas Center for Environmental Education, to be discussed later in this chapter.

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Last Updated: 07-Oct-2003