By Mary Giorgio

Along the southern shore of Lake Michigan, in Indiana, lies a national park with much historical and ecological significance. The Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore is home to a biodiverse selection of over 1,100 species of flowering plants and ferns. It is home to four Natural National Landmarks and one National Historic Landmark.


The rich history of the dunes began thousands of years ago at the end of the Ice Age. Glaciers receded to expose shore lands around Lake Michigan. Native American people used the dunes as seasonal hunting grounds. Groups such as the Hopewell built early settlements on the dunes.


In 1822, Joseph Bailey became one of the earliest European settlers in the area. Bailey was a French-Canadian fur trader. He cut the first known trails across the dunes.