National Lakeshore Superintendent Dillon to Retire

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Date: July 24, 2013

INDIANA DUNES NATIONAL LAKESHORE: Costa Dillon, Superintendent of Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore will retire from federal service on August 26, 2013 after more than 35 years with the National Park Service (NPS).

Costa began his career as a seasonal ranger at Craters of the Moon National Monument in Idaho. He considers himself fortunate to have worked in the era of "generalist" rangers where his duties included law enforcement, emergency medical services, interpretation, and resource management. He remembers that it was not unusual to spend one day on backcountry patrol, the next day giving school programs, and the following day collecting entrance fees in the morning and fixing fences in the afternoon. Costa's career included work in the Washington headquarters of the National Park Service and in ten states from New York to California.

Costa cites these accomplishments as highlights of his six years as superintendent of Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore:

  • Initiation of a new park sign system that improves the visibility and awareness of the park.
  • Initiation of the West Beach and Mount Baldy restoration projects.
  • The Nature in My Neighborhood program and Nature Play Zone created.
  • The Park Prescription program created: first of its kind in the National Park System.
  • Construction and opening of Portage Lakefront and Riverwalk.
  • Construction of the Porter Brickyard Trail, Great Marsh Trail, and Miller Woods Trail.
  • Initiation of the Shoreline Restoration Plan: a comprehensive plan to restore natural sand shoreline between Gary and Michigan City.
  • The park's Deer Management Plan completed and implemented.
  • Six park properties added to the National Register of Historic Places.
  • Park hosted the 2009 NPS/National Geographic Society BioBlitz
  • The Lake Michigan Water Trail National Recreation Trail designated.
  • Indiana Dunes selected as the Urban Waters Initiative pilot for the Midwest.
  • The Dunes National Park Association established.

Among the awards the park has received during Costa's tenure are:

  • Urban League of Northwest Indiana's "Moving the Needle Award" for achievements in diversity, 2013
  • Department of the Interior Environmental Achievement Award, 2011
  • Northwest Indiana Paddlers Association Partner of the Year Award, 2011
  • Recognition by the Northwest Indiana Society of Innovators for Portage Lakefront and Riverwalk, 2011, and for Park Prescriptions, 2012
  • Department of the Interior Unit Award for Excellence of Service, 2010

Costa's career includes assignments as Superintendent of Homestead National Monument of America, Nebraska; Superintendent of Fire Island National Seashore, New York; Superintendent of the Horace M. Albright Training Center, Grand Canyon National Park, Arizona; and as a park ranger at Craters of the Moon National Monument, Idaho; Cabrillo National Monument, California; Independence National Historical Park, Pennsylvania; Thaddeus Kosciuszko National Memorial, Pennsylvania; Carlsbad Caverns National Park, New Mexico; Gettysburg National Military Park, Pennsylvania; Eisenhower National Historic Site, Pennsylvania; Hubbell Trading Post National Historic Site, Arizona; and Santa Monica Mountains, California.

"In 35 years, I've never been bored," says Costa. "In what other job could I have had the opportunity to work in the same place where Thomas Jefferson worked, collar caribou, arrest drug dealers, lead children's education programs on the Gettysburg battlefield, live on the Navajo Reservation, raft the Grand Canyon, watch the New Year's Eve 2000 fireworks from the Statue of Liberty, teach interpretation in Guam, drive a snowplow, rappel into caves, snorkel in Hawaii, design and write park exhibits, be an Emergency Medical Technician, fight wildfires, kayak in Lake Michigan, and ride horses?"

Costa's awards include the Department of the Interior Meritorious Service Award and Superior Service Award, Secretary of the Interior's Award for Long-Term Achievement in Diversity , the National Park Service Sequoia Award for Excellence in Interpretation, the National Association for Interpretation's Meritorious Service Award , the National Parks Conservation Association's Stephen Mather Award for Outstanding Resource Stewardship, four Department of the Interior Unit Citations for Excellence of Service, and President of his class at the Federal Law Enforcement Academy.

For additional information, contact public information officer Bruce Rowe at 219-395-1609 or by e-mail at e-mail us.

Last updated: April 10, 2015

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