National Lakeshore Seeks Public Comment for New Interpretation and Education Plan
The National Park Service will seek public input during the second phase of developing a Comprehensive Interpretive Plan (CIP) for Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore. This plan will define the national lakeshore’s interpretive and education program for the next several years.
Public comment meetings will be held on Saturday, May 15, from 10:00 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. at the City of Gary’s Main Library building located on the corner of 5th and Broadway and from 2:00 p.m. to 3:30 p.m. at the Indiana Dunes Visitor Center, 1420 Munson Road in Porter. These meetings will provide an opportunity for interested individuals to make suggestions on the types of interpretation and educations programs and other visitor services that could be used to communicate the park themes and to help fulfill identified visitor experiences.
This is the second opportunity during the interpretive planning process that public input has been sought. The national park hosted two public meetings in early March that helped the development of the foundational materials needed for the plan. Comments were taken on proposed park themes, significance statements, and visitor experiences. These items have been reviewed and placed in a draft document that will be used as a basis for developing specific programs and services at the national lakeshore. This draft will be available for review and comment at the public meetings and will then be placed on the park's website with all comments received. Comments can also be sent by e-mail through the park's website at www.nps.gov/indu.
On May 15, the public will get a chance to give specific suggestions of programs and services that will help support the proposed themes and visitor experiences. These suggestions from the public will be taken into consideration as the national lakeshore develops specific recommendations during a workshop later during the week. Suggestions and views of the public are an important part of the process in which the National Park Service will ultimately make decisions based on a variety of factors, including law, established interpretation standards, national policies, existing plans, budget, and staffing.
The CIP process helps parks make choices and is written to provide guidance to park staff. It helps the park decide its education objectives, the programs audiences, and what mix of media and personal services to use. Although the CIP process contains specific elements, good planning is customized to meet an individual park's needs and situations. The CIP is not a recipe; rather it is a guide to effective, goal-driven planning. While it considers past interpretive programming, it is primarily a forward-looking document that concentrates on actions needed to create or sustain a vigorous and effective interpretive program for the future.
Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore is one of 392 units of the National Park System ranging from Yellowstone to the Statue of Liberty. Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore includes 15 miles of the southern shoreline of Lake Michigan and 15,000 acres of beach, woods, marshes, and prairie in the northwest corner of Indiana. More than 2 million visitors come to this national park each year. To learn more about the CIP process, specific information about Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore interpretive planning, and the park, please visit: www.nps.gov/indu.