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Contact: Dena Mourtos, 219-395-1699
INDIANA DUNES NATIONAL PARK: The National Park Service is seeking public comment on a proposed entrance fee for Indiana Dunes National Park. Comments are also being sought on two new proposed services in the park; six backcountry campsites and a group campsite located near the beach. Comments are due by October 1, 2021 (now closed).
If approved, the following entrance fees would take effect on March 31, 2022: Per person/walk-in/bike-in/boat-in rate: $15.00, Motorcycle Pass: $20.00, Seven-Day Vehicle Pass: $25.00, Indiana Dunes National Park Annual Pass: $45.00 and Commercial Fee for a Motor Coach: $100.00.
Entrance fees are determined by park type. In 2006, the National Park Service established an entrance fee structure to simplify and standardize entrance fees across parks of similar types. Group 1: National historic sites, national military parks, national battlefields, national battlefield parks, national memorials/shrines, national preserves, parkways. Seven-day vehicle pass: $20
Group 2: National seashores, national recreation areas, national monuments, national lakeshores, national historical parks. Seven-day vehicle pass: $25, Group 3: National parks. Seven-day vehicle pass: $30 and Group 4: National parks. Seven-day vehicle pass: $35
As a national park, Indiana Dunes would normally fall within Group 3 or 4, but due to its location near a large urban population, it was placed in Group 2 which has a lower entrance fee.
“The value of public open spaces has been underscored during the COVID pandemic,” says Park Superintendent Paul Labovitz. “Here at Indiana Dunes National Park, we are looking ahead anticipating what our park needs to tune up existing facilities as well as considering future enhancements and new amenities to better serve our visitors. Our visitation has increased dramatically in the past couple of years. Specific changes on the horizon include intelligent transportation technology to provide visitors with trip planning tools including real-time parking availability at many or all the National Park Service parking lots. We’d also like to be a partner in completing the missing segments of the Marquette Greenway that will connect Michigan and Illinois via a multi-use trail. The new fee program will provide additional and needed financial resources to address our maintenance, public safety, and programming needs. We welcome your comments on our proposal.”
There are several passes that provide access to federal lands charging an entrance fee, including the Annual Interagency Pass; the Lifetime Senior Pass; the Access Pass for people with disabilities; the Military and Veteran’s Annual Interagency Passes; the Volunteer Pass for providing more than 250 volunteer service hours to a federal agency and the 4th Grade Every Kid Outdoors Annual Pass. In addition, fees can be waived for schools and other bonified educational groups participating in field trips in national parks. Information about all the benefits of passes and how to get them is available at: https://www.nps.gov/planyourvisit/passes.htm.
Indiana Dunes National Park is also requesting public comment on adding a group campsite in the Dunbar Beach area and six backcountry campsites located approximately ¼ mile east of the Central Avenue Beach area. Unlike some true backcountry sites, visitors would be required to camp at specific sites at the Central Backcountry. These wooded camping spots are located on former house sites to reduce the impact to the park’s natural resources. The only services provided are a porta-potty at the Central Backcountry site and the Dunbar Group Site is within 50 yards of the Dunbar Beach restrooms. The Central Backcountry sites would cost $25 per night and have a limit of eight campers while the Dunbar Group site would hold up to 30 people and cost $100 per night.
Due to the increase in Covid-19 cases in the area, we will hold an online public meeting via Zoom rather than an in-person meeting. During the meeting, you can learn more about these proposals and share your comments on them. The Zoom meeting is scheduled for Wednesday, August 18, 2021 from 6:00 pm – 8:00 pm CST.
In addition to the public Zoom meeting, you can provide your comments online at https://parkplanning.nps.gov/ or email us (now closed). Comments submitted by phone or social media will not be accepted. Comments submitted by individuals or organizations on behalf of other individuals or organizations also will not be accepted. All comments are due by October 1, 2021 (now closed).
Indiana Dunes National Park is part of the National Park Service. More than 20,000 National Park Service employees care for America’s 423 national parks and work with communities across the nation to help preserve local history and create close-to-home recreational opportunities. Learn more at www.nps.gov.
Last updated: October 18, 2021