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The National Park Service will open the Mount Baldy area of Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore during the Michigan City fireworks program on Sunday, July 13. Normally, this area of the national park is closed at dusk. The National Park Service will allow fireworks spectators to use the Mount Baldy area until 11:00 p.m. that night only.
The National Park Service closes beaches and other areas at Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore at dusk for the safety of visitors and the protection of park resources. "We will allow Mount Baldy to remain open for this occasion, but we will be monitoring visitor use to determine if this is something we will continue in future years," said national lakeshore superintendent Constantine Dillon.
Park employees will be at Mount Baldy to closely monitor the area. Recent changes designed to prevent excessive erosion to the dune could pose a safety issue for people trying to find their way through the dark. These changes include the erection of a fence at the base of Mt. Baldy and the rerouting of the access trail through the woods. National Park Service employees with flashlights will help guide visitors safely back to the parking lot after the conclusion of the fireworks. "The first responsibility of the National Park Service is to preserve the park and protect it from damage," Dillon added, "rangers, botanists, maintenance specialists, and other employees will be on site to monitor visitor use and help us determine if allowing this activity is appropriate."
During the fireworks the National Park Service will monitor the crowd to prevent damage to the dune from walking or sitting on the dune grass or climbing on the south face of Mt. Baldy. Park rangers will also be enforcing park regulations including prohibitions against the use of fireworks, grills, open fires, and the possession of weapons. Visitors will receive flyers explaining the rules of the night. "How well things go this year will have a lot to do with whether or not we allow this use next year," said Dillon.
Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore is one of 391 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. More information can be found at www.nps.gov/INDU.
For additional information, contact public information officer, Bruce Rowe, at 219-395-1622.