AUTHORIZATION OF AN INDIANA DUNES NATIONAL LAKESHORE, 19651966
Lyndon Johnson's Program
By the end of 1964, the Roush bill effectively died, bottled up in the House Interior committee. With the convening of the 89th Congress, Roush reintroduced the bill in early 1965 and it received the designation H.R. 51. Senator Paul Douglas and Representative Charles Halleck continued their port versus park political machinations. For his part, Douglas worked for the Senate to approve the Public Works Omnibus Bill of 1965 which included a stipulation providing that no funds be appropriated for Burns Ditch Harbor until Congress designated the Indiana Dunes a national lakeshore. When the bill reached the House, Halleck not only saw that the measure was deleted, but he inserted a clause forbidding any linkage between port and park. In conference committee, Senator Birch Bayh of Indiana worked for a compromise. In the final bill, Douglas prevailed when Congress approved the Burns Waterway Harbor (Port of Indiana), but appropriations could only come with the authorization of an Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore by the adjournment of the 89th Congress in late 1966. 
From his years of experience in Congress, President Lyndon B. Johnson knew the history of the port versus park battle well. He adopted his predecessor's stand on the dunes, the socalled "Kennedy Compromise," without pause. In his February 8, 1965, State of the Union speech, President Johnson declared that the number of parks, seashores, and recreational areas did not satisfy the needs of an expanding population. Johnson proposed that maximum appropriations from the newly implemented Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF) be utilized to make the 1960s a "ParksforAmerica" decade. He listed twelve proposed national park areas he intended to target LWCF monies to acquire. Two Great Lakes units were on the list: Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore, Michigan, and Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore. 
Several factors combined to facilitate a more advantageous outlook for the park bill. In concert with the President's Great Society program was the growing acceptance of urban parks and the success of the outdoor recreation movement. President Johnson established the Bureau of Outdoor Recreation within the Department of the Interior and two presidential recreation commissions. Also critical to the dunes park movement was the growing concern to protect scarce coastal areas for public use. 
In the Senate, hearings on S. 360 resulted in a favorable report by the Interior and Insular Affairs Committee. Debate centered on the inclusion of noncontiguous marshy areas which the minority view saw as unrelated geographically and better suited to development. The dissenters added:
In accordance with the majority view, the Senate subsequently approved on S. 360 on June 21, 1965.
Charles A. Halleck, leader of the opposition, testified during the October 2 hearings at Valparaiso University in Indiana. He criticized the number of dunes park bills, declaring it was difficult to remember from bill to bill what was included and what was excluded from the lakeshore.* Chairman Ralph J. Rivers limited discussion to consideration of H.R. 51 and S. 360.  Congressman J. Edward Roush, sponsor of H.R. 51, reiterated the critical need for recreational areas by saying while there may never be a local consensus, Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore was certainly in the national interest. Roush lauded Lyndon Johnson's recent signing of the Assateague Island National Seashore bill and adopted the President's own words as applicable to the dunes: "If future generations are to remember us more with gratitude than with sorrow, we must achieve more than just the miracles of technology. We must also leave them with a glimpse of the world as God really made it, not just as it looked when we got through with it." 
Department of the Interior's Proposal
In early 1966, the Department of the Interior produced an updated feasibility proposal to Congress on Indiana Dunes. Ten thousand copies were printed for the Department, made possible through the use of private funds. The Izaak Walton League ordered 7,000 copies direct from the printer for its own distribution.  Needless to say, Indiana, Washington, D.C., and other areas were saturated with the positive report.
The Department saw a real need for the lakeshore with six and a half million people within a fiftymile radius and nine and a half million people with a one hundredmile radius. Within fifteen years, the dunes region population would approach nearly twelve million people. The report stated:
The proposal predicted an annual visitation of 1.2 million visitors to a developed park. By 1980, visitation could surpass two million. There was no time to waste in the effort to preserve the remaining dunes. The report continued:
The proposal divided the dunes into three zonesshoreline, inland, and wetlandand comprised twelve units totaling 8,894 acres. Within the zones were 950 improved properties (590 were permanent residences, 240 summer homes, 63 commercial installations, and 100 other residences built since 1961). The State of Indiana owned onequarter of the land; the remainder was in private hands, including Inland, Bethlehem, and National Steel. The estimated acquisition price tag was set at $23 million, with boundaries carefully drawn in order not to hinder other developments. 
The 1966 report clearly defined the home ownership policy for the proposed park. Owners of a singlefamily home could retain ownership and as much as three acres of land indefinitely provided they satisfied two criteria: the home must have been built before October 21, 1963, and homeowners must adhere to local zoning laws approved by the Secretary of the Interior within one year of the lakeshore's enactment. All homeowners willing to sell could receive an independent appraisal and a fair market price. The property owner could then reserve a right of noncommercial use and occupancy for periods of up to twentyfive years. The Secretary of the Interior would be empowered to secure easements to allow public access to beaches. Even outside the lakeshore boundaries, the Secretary could obtain (but not through condemnation) easements to ensure visitor access to the Little Calumet River. 
The report included the following six recommendations for development and land use:
In conclusion, the Department's 1966 report acknowledged that the proposed National Lakeshore met the criteria for a "National Recreation Area" as defined by the President's Recreation Advisory Council.*  The report left no doubt about the Department of the Interior's enthusiastic endorsement of Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore.
Last Updated: 07-Oct-2003