A public meeting of
Dunes Action this week saw over 40 citizens gather to discuss how to
continue to keep the issue of privatization and commercialization of the
Indiana Dunes State Park before the public.
discussion topics and points of contention which could be submitted during
the public comment period, which is required under the Land and Water
Conservation Fund (LWCF) rules, prior to any approval of construction of a
new banquet facility on the Indiana Dunes State Park beach.
from problems seen daily with the design and maintenance of the new bathroom
building already situated on the west public plaza of the historic Dunes
Pavilion, to questions regarding the disturbance of, and use of a bulldozer
on, the dune on the west side of the ‘comfort center,’ to potential parking
space conflicts, and the possibility of alcohol consumption on the beach.
raised concerns about teen lifeguards being the front-line against adult
drinkers, dangers to pedestrians in the parking lot, light pollution
destroying one of the few remaining dark sky pockets in the region for
stargazing, and glass window walls being a death trap for migrating birds.
The lack of
security personnel means all dangers are magnified, one said. There is no
visible presence of DNR rangers or law enforcement and the current ban on
alcohol is not enforced, said one attendee. Serving alcohol on site will
only make matters worse, she added.
The DNR claim that
alcohol will not be allowed on the beach is ridiculous, another attendee
said, when it is clear the historic beach Pavilion itself is on the beach.
“Look at any Google map.”
Many are concerned
about the obliteration of the east public plaza, where the private banquet
center is planned. One attendee noted that she had inquired about the lack
of picnic tables near the current food vendor trucks and was told tables
would impede crowd movement. A structure on that site would do so even more,
The lack of
transparency in the process was criticized, with Dunes Action supporters
noting that as of the meeting night, Monday, July 20, 2016, no plans have
been made public.
additional deaths on Lake Michigan, it was agreed that the dangerous waters
of the lake, with its tides, currents, and depth, immediately adjacent to
multiple points of alcohol service pose a considerable danger to beach
goers, especially those unfamiliar with the changeable lake.
The recent change
in the law allowing the DNR to issue alcohol permits without public input
will likely lead to some unpleasant surprises for state park visitors around
the state, one DA supporter said. Other communities have been taken unaware
by the change. Attendees plan to write letters to the editors of various
newspapers throughout the region and the state, hoping to bring the issues
to light for all the state parks.
New Dunes Action
attendees signed petitions and volunteers were sought for the next
fundraiser planned in September.
Next Dunes Action
The next public
meeting for Dunes Action supporters is set for September 13.
As the meeting
adjourned, attendees were urged to talk to their friends, family and
neighbors, and spread the word that the proposed construction at the IDSP
beachfront is not a done deal, and that the battle to protect the beach is
The rules of the
LWCF can be found at