Indiana Dunes
Administrative History
NPS Logo

COMING OF AGE, 1977—1979

Increases in visitation can probably be attributed to two basic reasons. First, we have greatly increased our "image" through activities such as the urban initiative efforts, increased participation in the Folk Festival, the new transportation program, etc. Secondly, the increasing costs and lowered supply of fuel have made a visit to Indiana Dunes more attractive to regional visitors.

Superintendent J. R. Whitehouse explaining the "extraordinary increases" in Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore visitation during 1979. [1]

Operations, 1977—1979


Under provisions of the 1976 expansion bill, eight new permanent, full—time positions were filled to bring the park employee total to twenty—seven full—time, five part—time, and thirteen subject—to—furlough. The eight new positions were two supervisory park rangers (one for law enforcement, the other for interpretation); supply clerk; maintenance mechanic foreman; administrative clerk; two park technicians (one for law enforcement, the other for interpretation); and a tractor operator. To coordinate research and help perform two studies required in the 1976 bill, Senior Scientist William H. Hendrickson transferred from the Midwest Regional Office to Indiana Dunes. There were eighty—four seasonal employees to round out the staff.

In March 1977, the Division of Interpretation and Resource Management split into two separate entities: Resource Management/Visitor Protection and Interpretation. Each new division increased by three employees. New facilities for interpreters and rangers to operate included the West Beach bath house and Bailly Homestead/Chellberg Farm structures and trails. Environmental education, an on—going popular program, could only accommodate sixty percent of the requests from schools. With priority given to schools with environmental education programs, 201 groups composed of 9,336 students were served in 1977.

The year saw the completed interior renovation of the visitor center. With the popular Harpers Ferry Center—designed museum exhibits, the visitor center also featured an information desk and sales area. Unfortunately, because of the need for office space, the Eastern National Parks & Monument Association (ENP&MA) sales space had to be appropriated and ENP&MA used a double—faced rack in the lobby for an interim reported. Fee collection began for the first time in the national lakeshore at West Beach on July 18, 1977. A user fee of one dollar per automobile was implemented with only slight difficulties.

In the Maintenance Division, the Buildings and Utilities subunit oversaw a total of forty—two structures: fourteen quarters, fourteen historic structures (including those at the newly-acquired Chellberg Farm), and fourteen other buildings including those at West Beach and the visitor center. The Grounds subdivision maintained four interim picnic areas and cleaned five miles of beach of an increasing number of alewives. With a four—person mowing crew, it also cut eighteen acres of grass and eight miles of roadside. The Roads and Trails unit maintained twelve miles of trails with the three—person crew while four people tended to eight parking areas. The unit also maintained the lakeshore's growing arsenal of mechanical equipment.

Guidelines for energy conservation, developed in the mid—1970s, were surpassed each year as the lakeshore continued to expand and evolve. In only a few years, the number of employees, equipment, and vehicles had more than doubled while buildings and facilities had tripled. With annual growth unabated, it was impossible to impose energy consumption constraints on the national lakeshore.

The park's second residential Youth Conservation Corps (YCC) camp operated under contract with George Williams College of Downers Grove, Illinois. Forty enrollees and a staff of twelve engaged in maintenance, conservation, building demolition, and historic restoration projects.

In a similar vein, Congress authorized the national lakeshore to operate a Young Adult Conservation Corps (YACC) camp of up to one hundred enrollees. The program, implemented by various agencies in the Departments of Interior and Agriculture, was designed to employ young adults and help reduce the backlog of needed work projects on public lands. Eligible candidates between sixteen and twenty—three years of age had to be referred through the state employment services offices. YACC tackled many of the same tasks which YCC enrollees performed. Indiana Dunes hosted one of the Park Service's twenty—seven authorized YACC camps with Assistant Superintendent Don Castleberry serving as park project manager. Castleberry oversaw YACC camp director Jon Evans and an annual project budget of one million dollars. While the Indiana Dunes YACC camp was one of the first to become operational in October 1977, by the end of the year, fifty—three people were enrolled and a staff of six, out of an authorized total of fourteen, administered the non—residential camp. [2]

The Indiana Dunes Land Acquisition Office devoted considerable attention to acquiring the large tracts of open land owned by industry which were included in the 1976 expansion bill. Because industry cared very little that indiscriminate off—road vehicle (ORV) usage and dumping was occurring, the Park Service acquired most of the properties by declaration of taking in 1977. With immediate jurisdiction over the abused areas, rangers increased patrols in order to discourage adverse activities. To curb ORV usage, the lakeshore erected barriers at all access points. With no funds to purchase barriers, the park staff improvised and devised ingenious barricades. Old railroad ties were used from abandoned rail lines within the lakeshore's boundaries, and thick steel cable came from the periodically replaced elevator cables inside the Gateway Arch at Jefferson National Expansion Memorial, Missouri. With a determined program in place and the seizure of one vehicle, the word locally spread that ORV use and dumping were not to be tolerated. Local residents aided the lakeshore's enforcement program considerably by immediately reporting incidents. [3]

Completion of restoration work on the Bailly Homestead chapel, caretaker's cabin, and fur storage building resulted in an official complaint from the Midwest Regional Office to the Denver Service Center (DSC). A DSC professional oversaw a local contractor's execution of the restoration effort which proved to be less than satisfactory. In some places, telephone poles were used as replacement logs. The tell—tale stenciled identification numbers were plainly visible to visitors as was the creosote preservative which had begun to bleed from the logs. The color and texture of the poles failed to blend with the existing historic fabric. On the cut ends, power chainsaw marks were covered by a light gray paint or wood stain in an effort to "age" the new materials. Regional Director Merrill D. Beal admonished, "We request that more consideration and thought be given to the type of materials and techniques used in the restoration of our historic structures." [4]

In an effort to mitigate the impact on the historic scene, the Denver Service Center arranged with the contractor to scrape off the creosote and cleanse eight telephone poles which were used in the chapel reconstruction. Steps to shroud the southeast corner with vegetation and move the audio/visual stations back from the structures were also taken. Chainsaw markings and "aged" areas on the ends of logs were removed by using a handsaw to resaw the offensive surfaces. The time and attention DSC devoted to the Bailly structures resulted in the first Historic Structures Preservation Guide (HSPG) prepared in the Midwest Region. [5]

On January 17, 1977, Superintendent J. R. Whitehouse joined local residents in testifying before a hearing of the Interstate Commerce Commission (ICC). The Chicago, South Shore and South Bend Railroad petitioned the ICC for clearance to terminate passenger service between Chicago, Illinois, and South Bend, Indiana. Whitehouse addressed the need for railway passenger service in the long—range transportation plans of the national lakeshore.* Striving to save the last electric interurban railroad line in the United States, a group of residents formed to boost passenger use by publicizing recreational events along the route. The group especially targeted recreational opportunities in the Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore and Indiana Dunes State Park. A tremendous impetus to the campaign came in October when National Park Service Director William Whalen rode the train from Chicago to the National Lakeshore to address the Save the Dunes Council's twenty—fifth anniversary dinner. Upon receiving increased government subsidies, the South Shore Railroad subsequently withdrew its petition. [6]

*Superintendent Whitehouse believed reliance on mass transit to the Lakeshore was not practical because of the public's strong tie to the automobile. During the 1970s and early 1980s, visitors destined for the lakeshore on the South Shore Railroad did not exceed one hundred per day. Whitehouse interview, 12 March 1987.

An operations evaluation report conducted from July 21 to 27, 1977, saw many improvements since the last evaluation in 1974. The six—person team included Dave Lane, Superintendent of Pipestone National Monument; Betty Webster, Personnel Specialist and Hal Garland, Chief, Division of Contracting and Property Management, Midwest Regional Office; and Hugh Beattie, Tom Weeks, and Betty Readnour from the Midwest Region's Office of Operations Evaluation. Of principal difficulty was the lack of mid—level supervision and the ineffective utilization of manpower. The report stated, the "evaluation and control of operations is extremely lax especially in the area of effective manpower utilization. [We] observed repeated instances of over-staffing, questionable personnel assignments or priorities, lackadaisical work ethics, and misguided or misdirected priorities."

The report held that the sixty—three—acre Goodfellow Camp, acquired from the Illinois Steel Company Welfare Association, was too dilapidated to be used by the national lakeshore and should be evaluated through a recreational feasibility study. It also drew up a new organization chart for the Maintenance Division, thereby equitably distributing supervision duties. The team praised the "professional and creative manner" in which the management staff handled delicate, external affairs. The team saw little need for the lakeshore to generate an aggressive publicity campaign because of the intensive media scrutiny already experienced on a daily basis. It accurately stated, "Indiana Dunes gets more than its share of attention in both the public and political arenas." [7]


In 1978, the Interior Appropriations Bill featured an add—on clause authorizing five additional permanent positions for Indiana Dunes. Three persons joined the newly—formed Science program led by Dr. Bill Hendrickson,* Chief Scientist, and two rangers improved the Lakeshore's law enforcement capability. The establishment of a Science Office, headquartered at the Rostone House in Beverly Shores, reflected the concern of Congress (specifically Representative Sid Yates) that the Park Service should have its own expertise to research and monitor environmental conditions in the ecologically delicate dunelands. It now had the capability to monitor air and water quality as well as conduct its own resource—related research projects and oversee contracts for other scientific studies. Indiana Dunes thus became the only unit in the National Park System to have both an air and water resource specialist. Efforts concentrated on Cowles Bog, the centerpiece of the Service's opposition to Bailly I. The continued growth of the Park Service force brought the total of permanent positions to twenty—nine, permanent less than full—time to twenty—seven, and seasonal employees to ninety—one.

*Dr. Hendrickson's research indicated Cowles Bog was not a bog at all, but rather a fen. A fen is different from a bog in that a fen has water flow into it, while a bog does not. Hendrickson's position infuriated environmentalists whose own case rested on the premise that Cowles Bog would be neutralized by acidity. By disputing the "bog" designation, many believed the Chief Scientist was trying to cheapen or nullify their argument. Denouncing Hendrickson as a tool of industry, environmentalists worked to have him transferred, a move blocked by Superintendent Whitehouse. Nonetheless, it was Hendrickson's efforts in proving NIPSCO's dewatering was also pumping water out of Cowles Bog that produced the greatest blow against Bailly I. See Whitehouse interview, 11 March 1987.

In early 1978, after serving at Indiana Dunes for four years, Assistant Superintendent Don Castleberry transferred to the superintendency of George Washington Memorial Parkway. Entering on duty July 16 was Castleberry's successor, Dale B. Engquist, a native of Chicago, schooled at the University of Illinois. Engquist, a career employee for fourteen years, previously served as a Park Naturalist for the National Capital Region, Chief Naturalist at Hot Springs National Park, Assistant Chief Naturalist/Management Assistant at Everglades National Park, Superintendent of Biscayne National Monument, and New Jersey Unit Manager of Gateway National Recreation Area. Before arriving at Indiana Dunes, Engquist was a trainee in the Department of the Interior's Management Development Program.

In Interpretation, the number and variety of programs totaled 486 with 15,088 visitors, a fifty—six percent increase. The "Families to the Park" program in conjunction with the city of Chicago brought an average of fifty people each weekend to the lakeshore via the South Shore Railroad. Visitors rode a bus to the Bailly Homestead for an interpretive program and then proceeded to West Beach for an afternoon of swimming. On July 15, the Lakeshore for the first time helped sponsor the Duneland Folk Festival in cooperation with community groups at the Bailly Homestead. The festival featured crafts, traditional music, and dancing. The environmental education program also registered an increase in visitation, four percent, with 250 programs. Only a disappointing six percent of that total, however, originated from nearby Gary, Indiana. [8]

The lakeshore's first newspaper appeared in March 1978. The Singing Sands Almanac was the brainchild of Acting Chief Interpreter Neil King, who the previous year devised a poster called the Singing Sands Almanac that included an article on the lakeshore and an interpretive schedule of events. Upon Chief Interpreter Larry Waldron's arrival in June 1977, the two journeyed to the Government Printing Office in Chicago to explore options in publishing a regular periodical. Adapting the format of a U.S. Air Force newspaper, the first issue, edited by Park Ranger Jean Doyle, featured Mount Baldy. No one at the time dreamed the Almanac's gratis mailing list would soon soar to ten thousand people across the nation. [9] Almost overnight the Singing Sands Almanac began to have a dramatic impact on lakeshore operations. Not only did the publication give the park a higher profile in the community, it kept the local population informed as to lakeshore planning, programs, and special events. The newspaper soon became a household word. [10]

In Resource Management and Visitor Protection (RM&VP), the positions were arranged as follows: Chief Ranger, Secretary, Protection Specialist, Resource Management Technician, West District Ranger (who supervised the Marquette and West Beach Subdistrict Rangers), and East District Ranger (who oversaw the Headquarters, Island, and Pinhook/Rookery Subdistrict Rangers). Thanks to the Maintenance and YACC staff, the Bailly Ranger Station became operational and an open house was held on May 18. For the first time a central dispatch provided twenty—four—hour service throughout the summer and sixteen hours during the remainder of the year. Resource management specialists began studying the historic occurrence of fire in the dunes ecosystem before initiating any management program of prescribed and controlled burns. After several negotiating sessions, Governor Otis Bowen granted the National Park Service concurrent criminal jurisdiction on May 20, 1978. Advisory Commission members John Hillenbrand and Bill Lieber were instrumental in obtaining Indianapolis' approval. Applicable only to Federally—owned lands within the national lakeshore, Park Service rangers were authorized to enforce State and local laws.

Receiving input from district rangers, a sign committee formed to evaluate park signing needs. Completing an inventory of 1,500 signs, the committee authorized an additional 460—four hundred boundary and sixty off—road vehicle signs. Directional signs to the Bailly Administrative Area were also installed on U.S. 12 and 20 and Mineral Springs Road.

The similarities between the YACC and YCC programs resulted in a management decision to cancel YCC for 1978 and the near future. The YACC program saw an enrollment of eighty—five at Indiana Dunes. Six staff members served at the lakeshore and six others served at satellite YACC camps in four Midwest Region parks: Cuyahoga Valley National Recreation Area, Apostle Islands National Lakeshore, St. Croix National Scenic Riverway, and Voyageurs National Park. YACC workers completed thirty—three projects ranging from Mount Baldy road resurfacing, park road maintenance, cleaning Kintzele Ditch, and initiating the West Beach Trail. In the late fall, however, a Federal hiring freeze resulted in staff and enrollee cutbacks with a corresponding curtailment of operations. During the winter, YACC workers performed projects for surrounding communities, including the rehabilitation of the Beverly Shores Town Hall.

The Maintenance Division maintained a total of fifty—two structures. Workers renovated the Furnessville maintenance area to accommodate the Buildings and Utilities shop which relocated from State Road 49 and U.S. 12. The Roads and Trails subdivision redesigned and enlarged the Mount Baldy parking lot from twenty to forty—nine spaces and installed a security fence. With the increase in facilities and winter activities, snow plowing and removal became a primary undertaking. The demolition and site restoration program saw 552 structures removed from the lakeshore during the year. [11]

An inspection of the Coronado Lodge by the State Fire Marshal on July 14, 1978, resulted in the identification of numerous fire code violations. Operating as an American Youth Hostel (AYH) under a special use permit issued on March 1, 1974, Coronado Lodge repair estimates surpassed $100,000. On August 1, Superintendent Whitehouse notified the AYH operator of the decision to close the Coronado Lodge. Moreover, Whitehouse and Midwest Region officials were unwilling to authorize health and safety renovations until the need for hostels could be outlined through the planning process. (Although the 1980 General Management Plan identified the need for hostels, Congress failed to appropriate rehabilitation funding for Coronado Lodge and the lakeshore officially canceled the special use permit in 1981.) [12] Accessibility was one of the factors. Hostel patrons were almost totally dependent on automobiles to get to the Coronado Lodge as the area had no immediate rail or bus service and bicycle trails were not yet developed. [13]

On June 28, 1978, Congress authorized a declaration of taking for 632 acres of duneland in the west end of the lakeshore that was owned by the Inland Steel Company. Trespass activities of off—road vehicles (ORVs) adversely impacted the tract. Park Service rangers took immediate steps to halt the adverse ORV use by constant patrols and the issuance of dozens of citations. YACC workers installed barricades at popular access points. The Science Office initiated remedial actions to augment the natural healing process. The incident provided additional evidence that ORV usage was incompatible with the purpose and programs of the national lakeshore. [14] On July 22, the city of Porter passed an ordinance annexing 2,000 acres to the east and north of the town, including 900 acres within the national lakeshore south of the Dunes State Park and north of Chesterton. A Department of the Interior solicitor opined that the ordinance involved jurisdiction rather than ownership. While the town had the right to annex property within the lakeshore, its action could not interfere with the National Park Service's right to manage the area. Superintendent Whitehouse determined the move would have no effect on the Service's mandate or management practices. [15]

<<< Previous <<< Contents >>> Next >>>

Last Updated: 07-Oct-2003