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The sounds of waves massaging the soft warm sand beaches of Lake Michigan, has it always been this way? What would the sands of time tell us if they could speak? Citizens holding signs, politicians giving speeches, industrialists demanding a decision, what was to become of this place? Would it be turned into an industrial complex with thousands of jobs and tax dollars for the surrounding communities? Could environmentalists convince congress to turn it into a national park? Politicians had a tough choice to make; a struggle ensued over who would control the southern shore of Lake Michigan.
Joseph Bailly, Anders Kjellberg, Stephen Mather, Frank V. Dudley, Dorothy Buell, and others came to the southern shore of Lake Michigan and discovered what the Potawatomis knew long ago--the dunes are more than just sand and beaches. More than 1,400 vascular plants species are distributed about the 15,000 acres of dunes, marshes, woodlands, river, and bog.
Botanist Dr. Henry Chandler Cowles wrote, “The Indiana dunes are a common meeting ground of trees and wildflowers from all directions.” Today, the park is a common meeting ground for people from around the world who are discovering the many wonders of Indiana dunes. We certainly hope our website will inspire you to come and explore the dunes yourself.
Did You Know?
Cowles Bog is not a true bog but rather a fen because it has an underground water source. This water source has contact with limestone bedrock, making the fen’s water slightly alkaline. Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore is restoring a portion of this fen.