Superintendent's Compendium

Superintendent’s Compendium
Of Designations, Closures, Permit
Requirements and Other Restrictions
Imposed Under Discretionary Authority
Approved: Paul Labovitz, Superintendent
Date: 5-01-2018


1. Superintendent’s Compendium Described

The Superintendent’s Compendium is the summary of park specific rules implemented under Title 36 of the Code of Federal Regulations (36 CFR). It serves as public notice, identifies areas closed for public use, provides a list of activities requiring either a special use permit or reservation, and elaborates on public use and resource protection regulations pertaining specifically to the administration of the park. The Superintendent’s Compendium does not repeat regulations found in 36 CFR and other United States Code and CFR Titles, which are enforced without further elaboration at the park level.

The regulations contained in 36 CFR, Parts 1-7, are the basic mechanism used by the National Park Service (NPS) to preserve and protect the natural and cultural resources of the park and to protect visitors and property within the park. Parts 1 through 6 are general regulations applicable to all areas of the National Park System, and Part 7 contains special regulations specific to individual parks. Each of these Parts has many sections and subsections articulating specific provisions. Within some of these Part 1-7 sections and subsections, the Superintendent is granted discretionary authority to develop local rules to be responsive to the needs of a specific park resource or activity, park plan, program and/or special needs of the general public.

As an example, 36 CFR 1.5(a) Closures and Public Use Limits provides the Superintendent certain discretion in allowing or disallowing certain activities. The authority granted by the Section, however, requires the Superintendent to comply with the Administrative Procedures Act (6 USC Section 551), which requires public notice on actions with major impact on visitor use patterns, park resources or those that are highly controversial in nature.

Another example is 36 CFR 1.6 Permits, which allows the Superintendent to require a permit for certain uses and activities in the park. This Section, however, requires that a list of activities needing a permit be maintained by the park.

A final example is 36 CFR 2.1(c)(1) Preservation of Natural, Cultural and Archaeological Resources, which provides the Superintendent the authority to designate certain fruits, nuts, berries or unoccupied seashells, which may be gathered by hand for personal use or consumption. This activity can occur, however, only if a written determination shows that the allowed activity does not adversely affect park wildlife, the reproductive potential of the plant species, or otherwise adversely affect park resources.

This Compendium should be used in conjunction with title 36 CFR, Parts 1-7, to more fully understand the regulations governing the use and enjoyment of all areas of the National Park System.

A copy of Title 36, CFR, can be purchased from the U.S. Government Publishing Office at:

U.S. Superintendent of Documents
Washington, DC 20402-0001

2. Laws and Policies Allowing the Superintendent to Develop This Compendium

The National Park Service (NPS) is granted broad statutory authority under 54 U.S. Code § 100101. (Organic Act of 1916, as amended) to “…regulate the use of the Federal areas known as national parks, monuments, and reservations…by such means and measures as conform to the fundamental purposes of the said parks…which purpose is to conserve the scenery and the natural and historic objects and the wild life therein and to provide for the enjoyment of the same in such manner and by such means as will leave them unimpaired for the enjoyment for future generations” (54 U.S.C. 100101). In addition, the NPS Organic Act allows the NPS, through the Secretary of the Interior, to “make and publish such rules and regulations as he may deem necessary or proper for the use and management of the parks, monuments, and reservations under the jurisdiction of the National Park Service” (54 U.S.C. 100751).
In 1970, Congress amended the NPS Organic Act to clarify its intentions as to the overall mission of the NPS. Through the General Authorities Act of 1970 (54 U.S.C. 100101(b)), Congress brought all areas administered by the NPS into one National Park System and directed the NPS to manage all areas under its administration consistent with the Organic Act of 1916.

In 1978, Congress amended the General Authorities Act of 1970 and reasserted System-wide the high standard of protection defined in the original Organic Act by stating “Congress reaffirms, declares, and directs that the promotion and regulation of the various System units shall be consistent with and founded in the purpose established by subsection (a), to the common benefit of all the people of the United States.”

54 U.S.C. 100102 defines the National park system as any areas of land and water described in section 100501 of this title. Section 100501 states that the System shall include any area of land and water administered by the Secretary, acting through the Director, for park, monument, historic, parkway, recreational, or other purposes.

In addition to the above statutory authority, the Superintendent is guided by established NPS policy as found in the NPS Management Policies (2006). The Superintendent is also guided by more specific policies promulgated by the Director, National Park Service, in the form of Director’s Orders. As stated in the Management Policies, the primary responsibility of the NPS is to protect and preserve our national natural and cultural resources while providing for the enjoyment of these resources by visitor and other users, as long as use does not impair specific park resources or overall visitor experience. The appropriateness of any particular visitor use or recreational experience is resource-based and will vary from park to park; therefore, a use or activity that is appropriate in one park area may not be appropriate in another. The Superintendent is directed to analyze overall park use and determine if any particular use is appropriate. Where conflict arises between use and resource protection, where the Superintendent has a reasonable basis to believe a resource is or would become impaired, then that Superintendent is obliged to place limitations on public use.

3. Consistency of This Compendium with Applicable Federal Law and Requirements

The Superintendent’s Compendium is not considered a significant rule requiring review by the Office of Management and Budget under Executive Order 12866. In addition, this Compendium will not have a significant economic effect on a number of small entities nor impose a significant cost on any local, state or tribal government or private organization, and therefore does not fall under the requirements of either the Regulatory Flexibility Act or the Unfunded Mandates Reform Act.

The actions and requirements described in this Compendium are found to be categorically excluded from further compliance with the procedural requirements of the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) in Department of the Interior (DOI) Guidelines 516 DM 6 and as such, an Environmental Assessment will not be prepared.

4. Development of the Requirements of the Superintendent’s Compendium

As outlined above, the NPS has broad authority and responsibility to determine what types of uses and activities are appropriate in any particular National Park System area. The requirements of the Superintendent’s Compendium are developed through an analysis and determination process. The decision criteria used during this process are:

  • Is the use or activity consistent with the NPS Organic Act and NPS policy?

  • Is the use or activity consistent and compatible with the park’s enabling legislation, management objectives, and corresponding management plans?

  • Will the use or activity damage the park’s protected natural and cultural resources and other protected values?

  • Will the use or activity disturb or be in conflict with wildlife, vegetation, and environmental protection actions and values?

  • Will the use or activity conflict with or be incompatible with traditional park uses and activities?

  • Will the use or activity compromise employee or public safety?

5. Applicability of the Compendium

The rules contained in this Compendium apply to all persons entering, using, visiting or otherwise present on Federally owned lands, including submerged lands, and waters administered by the NPS within the legislative boundaries of the park. This includes all waters subject to the jurisdiction of the United States, including all navigable waters.

6. Enforcement of Compendium Requirements

NPS Law Enforcement Park Rangers enforce the requirements of the United State Code, 36 CFR, and this Superintendent’s Compendium.

7. Penalties for Not Adhering to the Compendium Requirements

A person who violates any provision of the regulations found in 36 CFR, Parts 1-7, or provisions of this Compendium, is subject to a fine as provided by law (18 U.S.C. 3571) up to $5,000 for individuals and $10,000 for organizations, or by imprisonment not exceeding six months (18 U.S.C. 3559), or both, and shall be adjudged to pay all court costs associated with any court proceedings. You may receive a list of fines associated with any particular provision by contacting the Chief Ranger at the park address found below.

8. Comments on the Compendium

The Compendium is reviewed annually and revised as necessary. The park welcomes comments about its program and activities at any time.

Written comments on the Compendium may be submitted to:

Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore
1100 North Mineral Springs Road
Porter, Indiana 46304

9. Effective Date of the Superintendent Compendium

The Superintendent’s Compendium is effective on the approval date listed on the first page of this document, and remains in effect until revised.

10. Additional Information

Some of the terms used in this Compendium may have specific meaning defined in 36 CFR 1.4 Definitions.

11. Availability

Copies of the Compendium are available at the Chief Ranger’s Office at Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore Headquarters, 1100 North Mineral Springs Road, Porter, Indiana 46304 and Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore Visitor Center at Indiana Highway 49 & Munson Road, Porter, 46304.

It may also be found on the Internet at


In accordance with regulations and the delegated authority provided in Title 36, Code of Federal Regulations (“36 CFR”), Chapter I, Parts 1-7, the following provisions apply to all lands and waters administered by the National Park Service, within the boundaries of Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore. Unless otherwise stated, these regulatory provisions apply in addition to the requirements contained in 36 CFR, Chapter I, Parts 1-7.

Written determinations, which explain the reasoning behind the Superintendent’s use of discretionary authority, as required by Section 1.5(c), appear in this document identified by italicized print.


(a) (1) The following visiting hours and public use limits are established for all or for the listed portions of the park, and the following closures are established for all or a portion of the park to all public use or to a certain use or activity:

Visiting Hours:

  • Unless otherwise posted or noted below, all public use areas are open daily from 6am – 11pm.

- West Beach – Defined as the area from Lake/Porter County Line Road to the west side of Ogden Dunes and from a line 300 feet north of the shoreline of Lake Michigan to the south where the park meets the Norfolk Southern railroad tracks.

- Open daily 8am-10pm Memorial Day through Labor Day and 8am to 30 minutes after sunset the remainder of the year.

- Dunes Learning Center - is open to scheduled groups and by invitation only. The Dunes Learning Center is closed to the public within the boundaries described as the Little Calumet River to the South, the Little Calumet River Trail to the West and North, and Howe Road to the East.

- Portage Lakefront and Riverwalk – Defined from the Burns Waterway to the eastern edge Ogden Dunes and from a line 300 feet north of the shoreline of Lake Michigan to the south where the park meets private property.

- This area is open at all times to those actively engaged in fishing.
- The breakwater walkway area is closed to public use when ice and snow are present, except by authorization of the Superintendent.

Areas adjacent to, or which extend into Lake Michigan create public safety concerns during winter (freeze) months. Public use closure during this time period provides for public safety and decreases the potential for serious injuries and death.

Reasonable visitation limitations are set to balance the needs of public access, resource protection, visitor safety, property protection and community concerns.

Public Use Limits:


  • Public access onto shelf ice and frozen ponds and waterways is prohibited.

Walking on shelf ice is extremely hazardous. Persons falling through hidden holes and weak spots can quickly disappear from view making rescue difficult. Death is likely. Ponds, creeks and other waterways are not monitored for safe ice conditions. Subsurface water flows can create unseen thin areas making these locations unsafe. Access to frozen ponds places wintering animals under additional human-caused stress.

  • Parking lots may be closed until they are plowed when there is more than 4” of snowfall overnight and/or road conditions are deemed hazardous.

Parking lot closures assist in preventing accidents and damage to visitor vehicles during plowing operations.

Resource Protection:

  • The following areas are closed to all public entry:

- Pinhook Bog trail – Visitation is restricted except when accompanied by a National Park Service employee or by permission of the Superintendent. Walking off the designated trail without a permit is prohibited.

- West Beach Succession area – Hiking is restricted to the designated trail only.

- Portage Lakefront and Riverwalk trail – Hiking is restricted to the beach and designated trail only.

Due to the fragile nature of these areas and the presence of threatened and endangered plants, walking off the designated trail may cause a negative impact upon these threatened and endangered resources.

- Mt. Baldy – Area designated in Appendix A is closed to the public but open to ranger-led hikes and programs.

- Gun Range – Entire area is closed to the public. See Appendix A for the designated closed area.

These area present potential life threatening hazards.

(a)(2) The following areas have been designated for a specific use or activity, under the conditions and/or restrictions as noted:

  • All Beach Areas - Glass containers are prohibited on all beach areas.

Due to hazards presented by broken glass to barefoot walkers, waders and swimmers, glass is prohibited on all beach areas.

  • Designated swimming beach. The designated swimming beach is located within the West Beach area of the park. It is identified by a series of “Swim Area” and “No Boat” buoys approximately 300 feet from the shoreline. The designated area extends approximately 850 feet west and east from the main staircase at the bathhouse. This area is designated a swim beach from Memorial Day through Labor Day (as weather and lake conditions permit). Motorized watercrafts are prohibited from this area.

The use of motorized watercraft in swimming areas is in direct conflict with the safety of swimmers.

The following restrictions and/or conditions are in effect for the specific uses or activities noted:

  • Winter Sports - Cross country skiing is restricted to beaches and park trails. Ice skating, ice boating or similar activities are prohibited.

The restriction on cross country skiing reduces resource damage to sensitive plants. Ponds and other waterways are not checked for safe ice conditions to make ice skating, ice boating, or similar activities reasonably safe. Animals living around ponds and other waterways are ill-prepared to endure additional stress placed on them by these activities occurring nearby.

  • Sledding is only allowed on the trail directly west of the West Beach picnic shelters. The area is designated with park signs. Sledding is prohibited on marram grass and is only permitted when adequate snow cover is present.

    Sledding on marram grass and bare sand induces erosion and damage to the sensitive plants.

  • Alcoholic Beverages – The following public use areas, portions of public use areas, and/or public facilities within the park are closed to possession and/or consumption of all alcoholic beverages, unless authorized by the Superintendent.

- All National Park Service Buildings – All NPS buildings (excluding active Reservation of Use, Lease, Special Use Permit properties and NPS dormitory facilities).

Park buildings are places of business and use and/or possession of alcoholic beverages is deemed inappropriate.

- Dunes Learning Center/Cooperative Field Station Preschool.

These park buildings are used primarily by minors and the use and/or possession of alcoholic beverages is deemed inappropriate.

- West Beach – Defined as the area from Lake/Porter County Line Road to the west side of Ogden Dunes and from a line 300 feet north of the shoreline of Lake Michigan to the south where the park meets the Norfolk Southern railroad tracks.

The park has experienced and documented a history of serious incidents and aberrant behavior at West Beach related to the consumption of alcoholic beverages of such magnitude that the diligent application of less stringent regulations over a reasonable time period, has not proven to resolve the problem.

  • Unmanned Aircraft – launching, landing or operating unmanned aircraft from or on lands and waters administered by the National Park Service within the boundaries of Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore is prohibited except as approved in writing by the superintendent.

- The term “unmanned aircraft” means a device that is used or intended to be used for flight in the air without the possibility of direct human intervention from within or on the device, and the associated operational elements and components that are required for the pilot or system operator in command to operate or control the device (such as cameras, sensors, communication links). This term includes all types of devices that meet this definition (e.g. model airplanes, quadcopters, drones) that are used for any purpose, including for recreation or commerce.

This closure is required to maintain public health and safety as well as park resources and values until the National Park Service can determine whether specific uses of unmanned aircraft on lands and waters within the park are appropriate and will not cause unacceptable impacts.


(f) The following is a compilation of those activities for which a permit from the superintendent is required:

§2.5(a) Specimen collection (Take plant, fish, wildlife, rocks or minerals)

§2.12 Audio Disturbances:

(a)(2) Operating a chain saw in developed areas

(a)(3) Operation of any type of portable motor or engine, or device powered by a portable motor or engine in non-developed areas

(a)(4) Operation of a public address system in connection with a public gathering or special event for which a permit has been issued pursuant to §2.50 or §2.51

§2.17 Aircraft & Air Delivery:

(a)(3) Delivery or retrieval of a person or object by parachute, helicopter or other airborne means

(c)(1) Removal of a downed aircraft

§2.50(a) Conduct a sports event, pageant, regatta, public spectator attraction, entertainment, ceremony, and similar events

§2.51(a) Public assemblies, meetings, gatherings, demonstrations, parades and other public expressions of views for groups of 25 or more participants require a permit and are limited to one of the designated public demonstration areas. Maps for these areas are located as Appendix B of this document.

Public assemblies, meetings, gatherings, demonstrations, parades and other public expressions of views involving groups of less than 25 participants does not require a permit. However, the location of these activities is limited to one of the designated public demonstration areas. Maps for these areas are located as Appendix B of this document.

§2.52(c) Sale or distribution of printed matter that is not solely commercial advertising by groups of 25 or more participants requires a permit and is limited to one of the designated public demonstration areas. Maps for these areas are located as Appendix B of this document.

§2.60(b) Livestock use

§2.61(a) Residing on federal lands

§2.62 Memorialization:

(a) Erection of monuments (Requires approval from Regional Director)

(b) Scattering ashes from human cremation

§4.11(a) Exceeding of established vehicle load, weight and size limits

§5.1 Advertisements - (Display, posting or distribution.)

§5.3 Engaging in or soliciting any business (Requires a permit, contract or other written agreement with the United States, or must be pursuant to special regulations).

§5.5 Commercial Photography/Filming:

(a) Commercial filming of any type with the exception of news gathering

(b) Still photography utilizing models, sets or props

(c) At the discretion of the park to protect public safety or park resources

§5.7 Construction of buildings, facilities, trails, roads, boat docks, path, structure, etc.

All other permit information is available at the Chief Ranger's Office during business hours. Special regulations, restrictions and fees may apply. Permits may be denied/terminated based on 36CFR.6(a),(d),(e),(g)(1),(g)(2),(h)

Federal law and agency policy require that certain activities that fall outside the scope of normal visitation be managed through the issuance of a permit. Permits may only be issued if the activity is in keeping with the purpose of the park and will not result in damage to the resource of conflict with other users.



(a)(4) The use or possession of wood gathered from within the park is prohibited; however, the use of dead wood found on the ground may be collected for the use as fuel for campfires in the following areas only:

- Dunewood Campground
- Dunbar Administrative Site
These areas are designated as campgrounds with campfires at each site. The dead wood provides needed fuel to sustain fire.

(b) Hiking or pedestrian traffic is allowed, except within marram grass and closure areas as listed in Section 1.5 of this document.

Traveling on marram grass and into closure areas will damage sensitive plants and hamper restoration efforts.

(c)(1), (c)(2) Fruits, nuts, berries, or unoccupied seashells may be gathered by hand for personal use or consumption, in accordance with the noted size, quantity, collection sites and/or use or consumption restrictions:

  • No more than a handful may be collected

  • Collection of the prickly pear cactus fruit is prohibited

Gathering the prickly pear cactus and more than a handful of fruits, nuts, berries, and unoccupied seashells will adversely affect park wildlife, the reproductive potential of a plant species, or adversely affect park resources.


(e) The following areas are closed to the viewing of wildlife with the use of an artificial light:

  • Parkwide - The unauthorized use of artificial light for the purpose of viewing wildlife is prohibited in all areas of the park.

The use of artificial lights to view wildlife creates unnecessary man-caused stress upon the animals, causing them to change their behavior patterns. The light also can disturb park neighbors, pose a hazard to vehicular traffic and can be a precursor to poaching activities.


(a) The sites and areas listed below have been designated for camping activities as noted. A permit system has been established for certain campgrounds or camping activities, and conditions for camping and camping activities are in effect as noted:

  • Overnight parking or camping is prohibited, except in the Dunewood Campground and the Dunbar Administrative Site or other areas must be authorized by the Superintendent.

In addition to the specific regulations in Title 36 Code of Federal Regulations, the following conditions apply to camping activities:

  • Dunewood Campground

- Registration is restricted to those eighteen years of age or older. The person registering for the site must be an occupant on the site during the stay.

The park has experienced and documented a history of serious incidents and aberrant behavior at Dunewood Campground related to unsupervised juvenile of such magnitude that the diligent application of less stringent regulations over a reasonable time period has not proven to resolve the problem.

- Each camping group must register prior to occupying the selected campsite and pay the fee at the registration station. Checkout time is 12 noon. The registration receipt must be displayed on the campsite post.

- Maximum campsite occupancy is eight persons at all times.

- All tents must remain on the provided camping pad. Trailers and other vehicles must remain on the pavement. Bicycles may be walked to the walk-in campsites.

- Persons visiting campers (those not staying overnight) may not exceed the eight person occupancy limit and must leave the campground by 10 pm. Vehicles driven by these individuals may not exceed the established occupancy limit.

- Camping occupancy is limited to 14 days in any 30 day period during the camping season.

Because the majority of the park is in close proximity to residential areas, public camping is limited to the developed campground and the Dunbar Administrative Site. Policies related to registration times and camping limitations are established to avoid conflicts between visitors, to provide for protection of the resource and compatible use.

36 CFR 2.13 – FIRES

(a)(1) The lighting or maintaining of fires is generally prohibited, except as provided for in the following designated areas and/or receptacles, and under the conditions noted:

Designated Areas:

  • West Beach Picnic Shelters

  • Bailly-Chellberg Picnic Shelters

  • Tremont Picnic Shelters

  • Glenwood Dune Picnic Shelters

  • Lake View Picnic Shelters

  • Dunewood Campground Sites

  • Dunbar Administrative Site
  • Reservation of Use, Lease, park owned dormitories, and Special Use Permit residences

Receptacles Allowed:

  • Cooking/Warming fires are permitted in NPS provided grills or approved grills (noncombustible container with a minimum container depth of 2", enclosed sides, and a bottom)

  • Residential burning of leaves or wood products is prohibited parkwide. In rare situations, the Fire Management Officer may approve and issue a Burning Permit for Reservation of Use, Lease and Special Use Permit residences at no charge when an appropriate container cannot be utilized or removal of debris is impractical. Only leaves or wood may be burned.

Established Conditions for Fires:

  • Only wood or charcoal may be burned in cooking or warming fires.

  • Warming fires shall not be placed within ten feet of flammable materials.

  • Fires shall be attended at all times until completely extinguished.

  • If fires create an air pollution problem, a nuisance, or a fire hazard, they shall be extinguished.

The above noted limitations on fires are in place to protect park visitors, neighbors and resources from wildfire.

(b) Fires must be extinguished according to the following conditions:

  • Charcoal and other fire remains from all fires must be cooled and safely disposed of in a noncombustible container or removed from the area.
    Extinguishing fires in any other manner increases the chance of an injury to persons or property.

36 CFR §2.15 – PETS

(a)(1) The following structures and/or areas are closed to the possession of pets:

With the exception of service animals, the possession of pets is prohibited in the following areas:

  • Inside government buildings, except for the West Beach bathhouse.

  • West Beach – From Memorial Day through Labor Day, pets are prohibited on the beach within the lifeguarded area. This area is the section of beach directly north of the bathhouse stairs and will be designated along the beach with park signs. Pets are only permitted to walk through the lifeguarded area to reach the beaches on either side of the closure area.

  • Glenwood Dune Trail

  • The nature play areas. These are located on the east side of the Douglas Center main parking lot and within the Mather and Douglas loops of the Dunewood campground.

Pet restrictions and closures are in place to allow for compatible use of areas, threats to wildlife, damage to sensitive plants and to cooperate with local and state regulations. A service animal is any dog that is individually trained to do work or perform tasks for the benefit of an individual with a disability, including a physical, sensory, psychiatric intellectual, or other mental disability. Other species of animals, whether wild or domestic, trained or untrained, are not considered service animals.


(b) The use of horses or pack animals is allowed on the following trails, routes or areas:

  • Glenwood Dune Trail and parking lot is opened from March 16 through December 14 for horseback riding. However, if there is sufficient snow cover for cross-country skiing (3 inches or more) before December 15 or after March 15, the trail will remain closed to horseback riding.

  • No horses are permitted west of the Glenwood Dune trail system (as posted) or west of Hadenfeldt Road.

  • Horseback riding is prohibited on all other roads and areas in the park.

The riding of horses within the park is limited by available parking that is suitable to horse trailers. Additionally, limitations are in place to avoid conflicts between riders and other trail users and to protect sensitive areas from damage.

(g) Other conditions concerning the use of horses or pack animals:

  • All horse excrement must be removed from the parking lot and picnic area of the Glenwood Dune area.
The excrement in an area where visitors walk and picnic poses a safety hazard.


(a) The use of roller skates, skateboards, roller skis, coasting vehicles, or similar devices are allowed only in the following areas:

  • Using roller skates, skateboards, roller skis, coasting vehicles or any similar device is prohibited parkwide.

Park sidewalks, roads and parking areas are not suitable for the use of skates, skateboards and similar devices. Crowded and congested walks and drives and uneven and cracked paved surfaces within the park are a hazard to those using these devices.

  • Except for the designated sledding hill at West Beach, sand boards, inner tubes, and other types of devices used to slide or roll on sand and other geologic features is prohibited.

Using items like those described above on dune slopes may damage sensitive plants and promotes erosion.

36 CFR §2.21 – SMOKING

(a) The following portions of the park, or all or portions of buildings, structures or facilities are closed to smoking as noted:

  • Smoking outside of government buildings must not be within 8 feet of exterior doors.
    Park employees and visitors need to enjoy the benefits of smoke-free air to reduce their risk of developing chronic diseases and other health problems associated with breathing secondhand smoke. This closure is in compliance with Indiana Code 7.1-5-2, also known as the statewide smoking ban


  • The launching of machinery-powered vessels of any type from lands within the national lakeshore is prohibited.

  • Vessels carried onto the beach will be of a single hull design only and no longer than eighteen feet in length. Boats must be carried on designated, government provided walkways and stairs. Vessels may not be dragged over any dunes. Loading and unloading may not take place along any roadway.

The park beach does not have any areas that are appropriate for launching powerboats. There are no paved access points that would allow for this use without creating significant resource damage and visitor use conflicts. Personal Watercraft are already prohibited by 36 CFR 3.9. Dragging large boats from parking lots onto the beach creates significant hazards to public safety and resource protection.


(a) SCUBA diving and snorkeling is permitted in the following swimming, docking, and mooring areas under the terms and conditions noted:

  • SCUBA diving is permitted in Lake Michigan, excluding the designated swimming beach at West Beach.

Due to limited visibility near shore, the potential for SCUBA divers to inadvertently injure swimmers in the water is high.


(a) The following load, weight and size limits, which are more restrictive than State law, apply to the roads indicated under the terms and conditions, and/or under permit as noted:

  • The maximum weight limit for vehicles using these parking areas will not exceed 32,000 GVW (excluding school buses and emergency vehicles):
    • - Mt. Baldy, Central, Great Marsh, Lake View, Dunbar, Kemil, Tremont, Porter, Cowles Bog, Mnoke Prairie and Tolleston Dune.

These parking lots are not designed to accommodate vehicles of this weight. This restrictive limit also protects the road surface.

(b) The following speed limits are established for the routes/roads indicated:

  • The maximum speed limits on all park roads are as posted.

These restrictive speed limits are done to improve road traffic safety and reduce the number of road traffic casualties from traffic collisions.

36 CFR §4.30 – BICYCLES
(a) Park roads and parking areas are open to bicycle use. Bicycles are prohibited on all lands and trails except as follows:

  • Marquette Trail

  • Porter Brickyard Trail

  • Calumet Trail

  • West Beach trail leading from Ogden Dunes to the Long Lake parking lot

Bicycle use may be allowed in developed areas so long as it is consistent with park values. The listed trails are in developed areas and riding bicycles on these trails is consistent with park values. No other trails in the park meet this regulatory standard. Bicycle use on natural resources and areas not specifically designated for them promotes erosion and destruction of that resource.

Closure of Mount Baldy Dune Area and Map of Gun Range
Arial Photos of Public Closure Areas, Mount Baldy and Gun Range

Appendix A
Public Closure Areas
Mount Baldy and Gun Range

Approved Public Assembly Area Maps
Arial photos of Approved Public Assembly Area Maps: Park Headquarters, Chellberg Farm, and Portage Lakefront and Riverwalk

Appendix B
Approved Public Assembly Area Maps: Park Headquarters, Chellberg Farm, and Portage Lakefront and Riverwalk


For an official signed copy of the Superintendent’s Compendium. Please call the Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore Visitor Center at 219-395-1882.

Last updated: May 7, 2018

Contact the Park

Mailing Address:

1100 North Mineral Springs Road
Porter, IN 46304


(219) 395-1882
Indiana Dunes Visitor Center phone number.

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