Indiana Dunes’ First Holiday Weekend As A National Park
There’s still much to do at the Goblin and the Grocer, a brand new restaurant set to open on Memorial Day in Beverly Shores, a small town in Northwest Indiana just yards from the southern shores of Lake Michigan.
The restaurant expects an onslaught of visitors from near and far for the first holiday weekend since President Donald Trump designated the dunes a national park in February, a change from its long standing as a national lakeshore.
The Goblin and the Grocer is located in the middle of the national park, across the street from a train station in Beverly Shores, and owner Dawn Doerfler Huston has already seen the number of visitors increase since moving here five years ago.
“Ten times the number of people are coming out here than they did 10 years ago. It’s pretty huge,” Huston said. “Everybody is commenting, ‘Oh my god, we’re coming out, what a huge success for you guys to get this achievement.’”
A Chicago summer destination for decades, the Indiana Dunes becomes the Hoosier state’s first and only national park. But it’s not your typical national park, park ranger and spokesman Bruce Rowe said.
“When people think of national parks, they do often think of the hundreds of thousands of acre national parks out west like Yellowstone or Yosemite,” Rowe said. “But this park — even though 15,000 acres is relatively small as a national park — has one of the highest diversities of plant species in the entire country. We have ... more different types of plants than many of those western parks.”
The new national park stretches for 15 miles for the city of Gary to Michigan City and includes the ever popular attraction Mount Baldy.
A number of dignitaries, including Indiana Gov. Eric Holcomb and Congressman Pete Visclosky, a Democrat from Northwest Indiana who led the long effort to win national park status, will be on hand for a ribbon-cutting on Tuesday morning.
Michael Puente covers Northwest Indiana news for WBEZ. Follow him @MikePuenteNews.