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The Indiana Dunes Remain (Mostly) Open During Government Shutdown

The 15,000-acre Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore will remain open during the government shutdown, and visitors will have full access to the park, its paths and the shoreline. The Indiana Dunes Visitor Center, staffed by employees of Indiana Dunes Tourism, a department of Porter County government, will also remain open, with the exception of Christmas Day and New Year's Day, to provide information to guests. Additionally, the Indiana Dunes State Park will remain fully staffed and operational.

"We're disappointment to see any type of government shutdown, especially the National Park Service, which is an integral part of the Indiana Dunes area," said Dustin Ritchea, the promotions director for Indiana Dunes Tourism, "but we want to remind visitors that many of the Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore's trails, beaches and parks will remain open to the public. Also, the state park and many other exciting opportunities, including our area's communities, events and attractions will still be available during this time."

Indiana Dunes Tourism_Indiana Dunes 22970.jpg

During the government shutdown, National Park Service law enforcement personnel will continue to patrol the National Lakeshore, but all other park rangers will be on furlough. While all trails except Pinhook Bog's bog trail will be open, educational and informational programs hosted by the National Park Service staff and volunteers will not take place. This includes all activities, tours, lectures, events and programs.

Roads that have already been opened and vault toilets (wilderness-type restrooms) will remain open, but services that require staffing and maintenance, such as campgrounds and full-service restrooms will not operate. Snow removal services for parking lots will take place but may take longer than usual.

Even with these limitations, the National Park Service will work to prioritize access to the most iconic areas of parks and public lands, and they invite the American public and especially veterans to continue to enjoy their landmarks and open-air parks.

The Indiana Dunes State Park, however, will continue to fully operate. The park, which encompasses over 2,182 acres of beach, dunes, marshes, swamps, hardwood forests and white pine groves, will not be affected by the government shutdown.

The park's nature center and 16.5 miles of trails will continue to allow visitors to explore diverse habitats, learn about remarkable animals and see astonishing views of Lake Michigan.

The Indiana Dunes State Park is also home to Trail 9, which USA Today named one of the top scenic hikes in the nation, and the 3 Dune Challenge, a 1.5-mile challenge trail with 552 vertical feet to climb, including the three tallest sand dunes in the Indiana Dunes area.

The Indiana Dunes area will continue to offer many opportunities for adventure, as well as amazing views of Chicago's skyline and climbs up ancient sand dunes. Hiking, cycling, birding and other natural adventures, along with fine dining, historical venues and local attractions, still await visitors. Our downtown communities, complete with affordable accommodations and Midwest hospitality, will continue to make each getaway a trip to remember.

For more information about the Indiana Dunes area's exciting events, theater productions, culinary experiences, shopping opportunities and outdoor adventures, visit or call 219-926-2255.


Comments welcome.


Posted on December 22, 2018

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