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Dan Plath, of Westville, Indiana, has been selected as the new Chief of Resource Management at Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore. Plath, who begins work in mid-October, will oversee the park’s Natural, Cultural, and Fire Management Branches. Hereplaces Robert Daum who retired in November of 2015.
While Mr. Plath is brand new to the National Park Service, he brings decades of experience managing people and projects in Northwest Indiana. He has been a Principal at NiSource in the Environmental Department for the last eight years and, prior to that, spent 10 years with the Indiana Department of Environmental Management. He is also the President and founder of the Northwest Indiana Paddling Association (NWIPA) and is on the Advisory Council of Shirley Heinze Land Trust, the Catholic Foundation of NW Indiana, the Trail Creek Watershed Board, and the East Branch of the Little Calumet River Watershed Steering Committee, the Purdue Water Institute Advisory Board, and the Indiana University Northwest SPEA Board of Advisers. He is the Chair of the Indiana DNR Coastal Advisory Board and the NW Indiana Forum Environmental Committee.
Plath earned both a Bachelor and Master’s Degree in Public Administration & Environmental Policy through Indiana University’s School of Public and Environmental Affairs. He is a graduate of Leadership Northwest Indiana (LNI) and the IU Northwest Institute for Innovative Leadership. Dan is a Certified Master Naturalist and an American Canoe Association Level 2 Coastal Kayak Instructor. Dan is the recipient of Northwest Indiana Quality of Life Award, the NW Indiana Time’s 20 Under 40 Award, the LNI Leaders as Heroes Award, 2014 Indiana United States Canoe Association Paddler of the Year Award, the 2015 Calumet Summit trails and Recreation Award, and was inducted into the NWI Society of Innovators.
Dan helped spearhead a successful effort to designate a section of the Lake Michigan Water Trail a National Recreation Trail, headed an effort that led to the creation of the Kankakee River National Water Trail, and is currently leading efforts which include developing water trails on the Little Calumet River, installation of ADA compliant Canoe and Kayak launches throughout NW Indiana and completion of the 1,600 mile Lake Michigan Water Trail National Recreation Trail. In 2016, Dan co-founded Team River Runner Northwest Indiana which uses kayaking to improve the lives of disabled veterans. He is also heavily involved in land preservation and stewardship efforts throughout Northwest Indiana as well as the NiSource seven state footprint.
In his free time, Dan is an assistant cross-country and head wrestling coach at St. Patrick’s School in Chesterton, IN. Dan lives in Westville, Indiana with his wife Vicky, son Eric (8), daughter Katie (6), and son Matthew (4).