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The National Park Service will begin work on a Comprehensive Interpretive Plan (CIP) for Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore next week and is seeking input from the public and interested groups during two public meetings scheduled for Saturday, March 6. This plan will define the national lakeshore’s interpretive program for the next few years.
Public meetings will be held from 1:00 p.m. to 3:00 p.m. in Room #231 in the library at Indiana University – Northwest, 3400 Broadway, Gary IN and from 5:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. at the Dorothy Buell Memorial Visitor Center, 1420 Munson Road, Porter IN. These open-house style meetings will provide an opportunity for interested individuals to review, discuss and comment on the interpretive themes and visitor experiences that are being considered.
Acting Chief of Interpretation Karen Haner emphasized that the public plays a vital role in helping to shape the future of the park’s interpretive operations. “This plan will establish a foundation of how we will base our decisions for the next seven to ten years,” said Haner, “ While the National Park Service will ultimately make decisions on a variety of factors, including law, established interpretation standards, guiding policies, budget, and staffing, the perspectives of the public are an important part of the plan.”
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.