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As a result of local concerns and suggestions expressed at community meetings the National Park Service is initiating a Comprehensive Interpretive Plan for Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore.
“Public education and interpretation are among the most visible things the park does,” according to Chief of Interpretation Janet Ambrose. “Changes to the Chellberg Farm, new additions like the Portage Lakefront and Riverwalk, and the re-staffing of the Paul H. Douglas Center for Environmental Education are just some of the reasons that make this the right time to start this plan,” she said. “We will continue to involve the public regarding the future of the Chellberg Farm and provide opportunity for those people interested in the farm to have a voice in what happens there,” added Ambrose. “We also recognize that we have a lot of pieces of interpretive programs in the park and they have not been fully coordinated or looked at as a whole as they should be.”
The national lakeshore will host a series of workshops to provide background information on the park as well as directly address the Chellberg Farm specifically. The first workshop, focusing on the NPS planning process, will be conducted by Sandra Washington, Chief of Planning and Compliance for the Midwest Region of the National Park Service. The workshop will be held Tuesday July 28 from 7:00 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. at the Dorothy Buell Memorial Visitor Center at the intersection of State Road 49 and U.S. Highway 20 in Porter, Indiana. Future workshops will cover the National Park Service’s Interpretation and Education Standards, the Fundraising and the Budget processes, Commercial Use and Special Use Permits, and the Volunteer in Parks Program. “It is our goal that these workshops will help the public understand how a national park works and, in turn, lead to suggestions and ideas that are most likely to be achievable,” said Deputy Superintendent Garry Traynham.
“In attending and hosting a variety of community meetings this spring and summer we have heard comments and suggestions from a number of people regarding the Chellberg Farm, but we have also received many other comments regarding the broader scope of what the park is doing,” Dillon added. “We want to take advantage of the energy and enthusiasm people have for the national lakeshore in make the entire park a better place.”
The Comprehensive Interpretive Plan is expected to be completed by December 2010. Information on the plan and how to get involved can be found on the park website www.nps.gov/indu.
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 park information can be found at www.nps.gov/INDU. For more information on holiday weekend activities at the national lakeshore, contact the information desk at 219-926-7561, extension 225.