Indiana Dunes State Park, Indiana’s fourth state park, opened in 1926. It comprised just over 2,000 acres. The park soon boasted the highest visitors per annum of any Indiana state park.  


It wasn’t until 1966 that a national park would finally be created. The success can largely be attributed to Dorothy Buell, a local resident who founded the Save the Dunes Council in 1952. Local industrialists wanted to create an Indiana port linking the Great Lakes to the Atlantic Ocean. Buell realized she was now in a race against time to preserve the dunes.


Buell contacted Illinois Senator Paul Douglas. He agreed to sponsor legislation to create a national park around the existing Indiana Dunes State Park. Eventually, Douglas succeeded in gaining the creation of a national park in conjunction with the establishment of Burns Waterway Harbor.

DUNES 1960s