Indiana Dunes National Park

Portage Lakefront Park Open Again

May 25, 2021
Doug Ross, The Times / The Times

PORTAGE - The Portage Lakefront Park is once again open, just in time for Memorial Day weekend.

Indiana Dunes National Park administration told the "Times" the area had been closed for the installation of more than 1,000 tons of boulders to protect the area from erosion and provide safer access to the shoreline.

The effort was a collaboration between the Indiana Dunes National Park and the city of Portage.

Park Superintendent Paul Labovitz says the project will protect the important public resource as the lake levels rise and fall.

Brandon Smith/IPB News

On this edition of the podcast you’ll hear the latest on plans of a reroute of the Calumet Trail to showcase the Indiana Dunes National Park, the 2021 legislative session ended with a surprisingly bipartisan approval of the budget , and Chris Nolte has a conversation with Indiana State Senator Eddie Melton as he shares his reaction to the verdict in the Derek Chauvin trial …All of that, and more, on this edition of “Lakeshore Update”… 

Sharon Jackson, Show Host/Reporter / Lakeshore Public Radio

MICHIGAN CITY - Mount Baldy at Indiana Dunes National Park, that once swallowed a 6 year-old boy digging in the sand in 2013, is now taking over the exit road and the exit to the parking lot.

Indiana Dunes National Park spokesman Bruce Rowe says Mount Baldy moves about 4 to 10 feet to the south every year.

"The movement is nothing new, actually in some years, not that long ago, it was moving up to 10 or even 11 feet to the south each year," Rowe says.  "Of course it's being moved by the wind slowly."

CHESTERTON - Miller Woods in Indiana Dunes National Park is once again open after a 425-acre wildfire that occurred earlier this month.

The wildfire began on Friday April 2nd. According to a Indiana Dunes National Park news release, fire crews from the National Park Service and US Forest Service battled the fire into late Friday evening. Crews returned to the fire area every day to ensure no hot spots remained and to begin the recovery process.

Justin Hicks/IPB News

On this edition of the podcast you’ll hear the latest on plans to vaccinate thousands of people a day at a Gary mass vaccination site, Republican lawmakers want to require an extra check of a voter’s identification on absentee ballot applications and Chris Nolte has a conversation with Valparaiso city and planning transit director Beth Shrader…All of that, and more, on this edition of “Lakeshore Update”… 

NWI Times

CHESTERTON -  After the prescribed fire and wildfire at the Indiana Dunes National Park on Friday, and with the increase in relative humidity and cloud cover on Monday, the National Park Service planned to burn approximately 239 acres of the Mnoke Prairie in Porter.

It's located on the west end of Beam Street and around the Dunes Learning Center.

For the last 20 years fire has been used as a primary tool for the restoration of rare tallgrass prairie in Northwest Indiana.

Sharon Jackson, Show Host/Reporter / Lakeshore Public Radio

CHESTERTON - Indiana Dunes National Park is looking for volunteers for it first-ever Indiana Dunes Trash Trekkers Earth Day Cleanup.

Registration is now open.  This year’s cleanup is Thursday, April 22, from 9:00 a.m.-12:00 p.m.

Supervisory Park Ranger and Public Information Officer Bruce Rowe
says volunteers and park employees will work together to collect a winter’s worth of trash and debris.

Sharon Jackson, Show Host/Reporter / Lakeshore Public Radio

CHESTERTON - The National Park Service has implemented the federal mask mandate at the Indiana Dunes National Park.

Bruce Rowe, Supervisory Park Ranger and Public Information Officer said in a news release that the mandate was put in place to protect the health of those who live, work, and visit national parks and National Park Service facilities, and in support of President Biden’s executive order on protecting the federal workforce and requiring mask-wearing.

Indiana Public Media

Today:   Indiana Dunes National Park superintendent Paul Labovitz is with us to talk about the beachfront remediation done last year to correct the growing erosion problem along Central Avenue Beach and the Portage Lakefront and Riverwalk.  He also talks about other projects at the National Park which are planned for 2021.  Indiana Public Broadcasting's Rebecca Thiele has a report on the push to allow reusable shopping bags during the coronavirus pandemic.  Later in the program, Andy Downs with the Mike Downs Center for Indiana Politics at Purdue University Ft. Wayne has a review of the first month of the 2021 General Assembly session.  

Indiana Dunes National Park / National Park Service

CHESTERTON - Indiana Dunes National Park has a new introduction video, and it's going to be showcased in a fundraising gala for the park.

Dustin Ritchea, Production Director for Indiana Dunes Tourism, says the movie night fundraiser will be at the 49er Drive-In on October 8th.  The doors open at 5:30 p.m. with the first film starting at 6:30 p.m.  The event will also include a snack box, popcorn, live music from Johnny V. and a cash bar.

"The 49er Drive-In actually donated the venue for us to be able to do this as kind of a community outreach," Ritchea says.

Sharon Jackson / Lakeshore Public Radio

CHESTERTON - The National Park Service made the announcement Monday that it's canceling it's Aviation Day program for 2020.  In addition, it is canceling all its major events through the fall.

Park Ranger and Public Information Officer Bruce Rowe for Indiana Dunes National Park explains.


CHESTERTON- The National Park Service is canceling the annual Aviation Day Program this year at Indiana Dunes National Park, due to the difficulty in social distancing.

The program, offered the last two years at the Indiana Dunes Visitor Center in August, celebrates Octave Chanute’s pioneering glider flights in the dunes during the late 1890’s. His work played a major role in the development of the airplane by the Wright Brothers.  
In a statement the National Park Service says it hopes it can bring back the popular program in the summer of 2021.


On this edition of the podcast the you’ll the latest on U.S. Steel’s revised consent decree to ensure protections for Indiana Dunes National Park, the fetal remains found at an abortion doctors properties cannot be identified, Jeanie Lindsey reports on the hold off Gov. Eric Holcomb is taking on major statewide action on teacher pay raises until 2021and Chris Nolte has a conversation Tami Silverman, president and CEO of the Indiana Parenting Institute. All of that, and more, on this edition of “Lakeshore Update”…     

National Park Service

INDIANA DUNES NATIONAL PARK - The National Park Service is seeking public comment on several changes proposed for the fee program at Indiana Dunes National Park.

The changes include expanding the reservation system at Dunewood Campground and adding new fees for group camping and some special events and programs. / National Park Service


PORTAGE - The stability of the Portage Riverwalk Pavilion is on unstable ground due to erosion. Lakeshore Public Radio Show Host/Reporter Sharon Jackson spoke with Portage Mayor John Cannon about the condition of the pavilion and how the city is going to proceed 

Northwest Indiana mayor says lake waters threaten pavilion

Nov 13, 2019

PORTAGE, Ind. (AP) — A Northwest Indiana mayor said his police and fire departments want to close a city-managed lakefront pavilion that many people use to enter Indiana Dunes National Park.

Portage Mayor John Cannon said the rising waters of Lake Michigan threaten the $17 million Lakefront Park and Riverwalk.

Park Superintendent Paul Labovitz tells The Times that high waves on the lake breached a dune adjacent to the pavilion for the first time last week, and waves were seen rushing into the area again Monday.

(Wikimedia Commons) / (Wikimedia Commons)

INDIANA -  The Indiana Department of Natural Resources is offering free admission Saturday to many state parks as part of National Public Lands Day, the largest single-day volunteer effort in the United States.

Indiana National Dunes Beaches Closed After Fish Kill

Aug 16, 2019 / NPR

PORTAGE, Ind. (AP) — Some beaches are closed along Lake Michigan in northwestern Indiana after authorities say a chemical spill into the Little Calumet River caused fish to die in the area.

The National Park Service announced Thursday it closed the Portage Lakefront and Riverwalk beach areas at Indiana Dunes National Park as well as waters out to 300 feet (91 meters).

Provided by, Ryan Koepke / Indiana Dunes National Park

NORTHWEST INDIANA - Indiana Dunes National Park has not been a national park for even a year, but tourism is up significantly.  

Lorelei Weimer, Executive Director of Indiana Dunes Tourism says this year there is nothing other than the designation of Indiana Dunes as a national park that would be driving that number up.  

Weimer talked to Lakeshore Public Radio Reporter/Show Host Sharon Jackson about what the volunteers have been seeing at the visitor center.

Gary Mayor Karen Freeman-Wilson, Gov. Eric Holcomb, U.S. Rep. Pete Visclosky (D-Merrillville), and U.S. Sen. Todd Young (R-Ind.) cut a ceremonial ribbon at the Indiana Dunes National Park. (Justin Hicks/IPB News)
Justin Hicks
A Chicago Sojourn blogsite

Today:   Beth Spurgeon, the head of corporate responsibility for ArcelorMittal Americas, is on the program with more about the 2018 integrated report entitled "Innovating for Impact."  This is the 10th yearin the series of reports on the steelmaking giant's corporate responsibility and sustainability initiatives.  Beth outlines the challenges and committments made worldwide and in northwest Indiana.   We also hear from Amari Victoria and Elisabeth Menning, the organizers, about the first Northwest Indiana Pride event, that is scheduled for July 13th in Highland.

Herbert Reynolds/Provided

On this edition of the podcast you'll hear the latest on school layoffs in Griffith, a multi-million dollar cleanup is underway on the Lake George Canal, Sharon Jackson has details on an upcoming renaming ceremony at Indiana Dunes National Park,  Attorney General Curtis Hill has filed a lawsuit against the owners of Purdue Pharma, Jill Sheridan and Carter Barret report on student mental health, and Chris Nolte has a conversation Chris Nolte with a conversation with Scott Pelath on the Kanakee River Basin Commission. All of that, and more, on this edition of “Lakeshore Update”…   

Sharon Jackson / Lakeshore Public Radio

NORTHWEST INDIANA - The Indiana Dunes National Park is celebrating its new national park designation with a renaming ceremony on Tuesday May 28th and a massive indoor exhibit at the Indiana Welcome Center.  

Park superintendent, Paul Labovitz, says "61: An Exhibit Celebrating the 61st National Park" will highlight various feature of Indiana Dunes National Park.

GARY, Ind. (AP) — Gary city officials are hoping to attract a developer to turn a plot of land along Lake Michigan into a lakefront destination.

The northwestern Indiana city is seeking bids from developers interested in building hotels, restaurants, tourist-oriented retail, pedestrian-friendly commerce or unique attractions like a science center on the 21-acre site.

Indiana House Democratic Party Caucus

Today:  We continue with our series of conversations with northwest Indiana state lawmakers with state Representative Pat Boy, a Democrat who represents House District 9.  Boy defeated Republican Dan Granquist in the November general election for the chance to represent voters in her Michigan City area.  Pat talks about her experiences as a new state legislator,  the measures she sponsored or co-sponsored this General Assembly session and her thoughts on the upcoming vote on a new state budget. 

True Intervention website

Today:    We have a conversation with Herb Stepherson, director of outreach and intervention coordinator for two northwest Indiana-based organizations dealing with addictions of all types: USA Addiction LLC and True Intervention Service.  He talks about his personal experiences with addiction and how the organization leads those affected by addiction to the help that they need.  And Keira Amstutz with Indiana Humanities is with us to talk about their latest initiative, "INseparable," which invites Hoosiers ro explore how they relate to each other across boundaries -- real, imagined, rural,

city of Hammond website

Today:   an at-length conversation with Hammond Mayor Tom McDermott Jr.  He talks about the latest developments on bills moving through the General Assembly that affect his city, its businesses and residents.  That includes tax incentives to create the Digital Crossroads of America data center on Hammond's lakefront and how the Gary economic development and casino license changes will affect Hammond's and other communities' own casinos.  Mayor McDermott also talks about ongoing discussions to create a regional convention center and how the end of property tax caps will affect the city of H