Indiana Dunes - Indiana's First National Park!

Indiana Dunes - Indiana's First National Park!

When we started doing National Parks poster art, there were 59 official parks. In the last twelve months, Congress has added not one, not two, but three officially designated as National Parks! The newbies are Indiana Dunes National Park, White Sands National Park, and Gateway Arch National Park.

We recently blogged about the exciting details and attractions of White Sands. And now this week you can read about one of the most bio-diverse and easy-to-enjoy parks in the nation, Indiana Dunes National Park!

How Indiana Dunes Became a National Park

In 1899, a Chicago botanist brought international attention to the rich ecological diversity within the region that is now Indiana Dunes. Unfortunately, around that same time, steel mills and power plants began popping up along the lakeshore. That led to a battle of nature versus economic incentives, a battle still waging today.

To conserve the region that is now Indiana Dunes National Park, Stephen Mather, the first director of the National Park Service, began advocating for Indiana Dunes as a National Park as far back as 1916. But it wasn't until 1966 that the region gained protection as a National Lakeshore (67 years after the dunes and beaches first earned international recognition).

Since 1966, there have been repeated efforts by lawmakers to make Indiana Dunes a National Park. Indiana Dunes has more biodiversity than the entire state of Hawaii, and lawmakers, park visitors, and local Hoosiers alike have felt for decades that the park deserved the fame and recognition that comes with that coveted "National Park" title.

Finally, in 2019, the federal government changed the name "Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore," to "Indiana Dunes National Park." While this decision did nothing but change the name of the park (no additional funding was allocated to the park, for example), just giving the park the famous "National Park" designation was enough to put Indiana Dunes on the map. Overnight, the park was being talked about in all fifty states. Almost immediately, there was a surge of widespread interest in traveling to the park.

Fun Facts About Indiana Dunes National Park

Every time a new National Park is announced, our poster artist team at ADG dives into the history, lore, park data, attractions, activities, and additional information about the park.

Here are some fun facts, travel tips, and neat attractions we learned about Indiana Dunes National Park:

1). Indiana Dunes National Park began as a federally preserved national lakeshore. Though the park is a very recent addition to the National Park roster, folks have enjoyed the beaches, forests, and walking paths of Indiana Dunes for decades thanks to its ongoing protection and conservation.

2). Indiana Dunes National Park is pretty easy to navigate without any guidance, though the park does maintain a visitor center for those who want to learn more about the park and the best ways to enjoy it. The visitor center is in Porter, Indiana. We recommend stopping at the visitor center first and then heading into the park and exploring the 15 miles of yellow sand beaches that the park encompasses.

3). Indiana Dunes National Park has earned national fame for the stunning dunes, seemingly endless miles of protected beaches, and Lake Michigan's beautiful waters. But in addition to the more famous attractions, Indiana Dunes also conserves and protects several ecosystems, including wetlands, prairies, rivers, and forests.

4). More than 1,100 species of flowering plants and ferns make their home in Indiana Dunes, as well as more than 350 bird species. When exploring the park, be sure to keep an eye out for great blue herons. There is a special, cordoned-off breeding ground for the stunning and majestic birds, giving visitors a chance to see the beautiful creatures in their natural habitat.

5). Indiana Dunes is not a small park! The park covers 15,000 acres with about 59 miles of hiking trails.

6). From our research, the top five most popular park activities at Indiana Dunes National Park are swimming, hiking, horseback riding, birding, and snowshoeing.

7). Indiana Dunes National Park is also famously known for its role in preserving four national natural landmarks and one national historic landmark.

Vintage National Park Art from Anderson Design Group

Inspired by the iconic WPA-commissioned poster art of the early-1900s, Anderson Design Group poster artists launched the 62 American National Parks travel art collection, a series of vintage poster art for every National Park on the roster. When Indiana Dunes officially became a National Park, we immediately set to work creating original designs of it. One of our artist collaborators, a Colorado native poster artist by the name of Kenneth Crane, also contributed a stunning, emotive design of the park.

Our National Park poster series was designed, penciled, brushed, and painted to conjure nostalgia and happy memories of visits to the parks. Furthermore, the vintage art collection was meant to inspire folks to seek adventure at these treasures of American history and nature.

So whether you want to remember a trip to a National Park with a souvenir or unique design, or you want to create wall art inspiration for your next journey, check out the 62 American National Parks poster art collection!

As a final note, every year we donate a portion of our profits to the National Park Foundation. Your purchase of National Park art ultimately helps protect our beloved National Parks!

Happy decorating!

-Ren Brabenec

Anderson Design Group Writing Staff

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