National Lakeshore having some great programs in February

Check out the winter fun at Indiana Dunes State Park

The Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore is offering a snowshoe hike, a groundhog program, a musical program and more during February. For more information on any of the programs at the national lakeshore, contact the park’s information desk at 219-395-1882 or check the park’s website. All programs are free.

Snowshoe Hike at National Lakeshore

Enjoy a variety of fun at the Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore.

Enjoy a variety of fun at the Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore.

Join a ranger on February 15 from 1:00 p.m. to 2:30 p.m. for a winter adventure on snowshoes at Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore. Meet at the Bailly/Chellberg contact station for a quick lesson on using snowshoes and then take a guided snowshoe walk to enjoy the beauty of winter. A limited number of snowshoes are available for use during this program. If there is not enough snow, a nature hike will be offered instead.

The Bailly/Chellberg parking lot is located on Mineral Springs Road between Highway 20 and Highway 12 in the central portion of the national lakeshore.

 Groundhog Program at National Lakeshore

Join a ranger for a special puppet show in honor of Groundhog Day on February 1 during the open house at Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore’s Paul H. Douglas Center. Shows at 1:00 p.m. and 2:30 p.m. will explain where these furry rodents have been and how they survive the long winter.

The Douglas Center’s open house takes place every Saturday from 9:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. and features hands-on family activities and crafts, exhibits and even a live animal room where you can help feed the center’s resident reptiles and fish. Throughout the month of February, the center is hosting a special exhibit in honor of Black History Month. Learn about the African American history that’s commemorated in National Parks located across the country. Kids can complete an indoor scavenger and earn a small prize.

You can even borrow some cross-country ski equipment, get a quick lesson, and then explore the beauty of the trails surrounding the center. Afterwards, warm up with a free snack, hot chocolate or coffee.

The Douglas Center is located at 100 North Lake Street in the Miller section of Gary.

Kid’s Rule at National Lakeshore Visitor Center

Join a ranger in the visitor center’s activity room for a Sunday afternoon of kid’s activities, puppet shows, stories, and fun. Stop in between 1:00 p.m. and 3:00 p.m. on any Sunday and help your children learn a little more about your neighborhood national park. All children must be accompanied by an adult.

The Indiana Dunes Visitor Center is located at 1215 N. State Road 49, just south of the intersection of 49 and U.S. 20 in Porter, Indiana.

Music Heritage Series at National Lakeshore

Join in with the Save the Tunes Council as they perform traditional music associated with the season. Tune up your vocal cords and gather up for a sing-along on February 21 from 7:30 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. at the Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore Visitor Center.

The Save the Tunes Council is a group of local musicians devoted to preserving and passing on folk songs in the traditional way, using a variety of musical instruments including guitar, autoharp, dulcimer, banjo, harmonica, bagpipe, penny whistle, hurdy gurdy, and other obscure instruments.

Meet at the Indiana Dunes Visitor Center located at 1215 N. State Road 49 just south of the intersection of 49 and U.S. 20 in Porter, Indiana.

Help Prepare for Maple Sugar Time at National Lakeshore

It’s almost Maple Sugar Time at Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore. So, join a ranger at Chellberg Farm on February 15, from 9:00 a.m. to noon and help “wake up the sugar bush” in preparation for this annual event. Lend a hand with cleaning the sugar shack, tapping the trees or hanging buckets to collect the sweet maple sap. Meet at the Chellberg Farm parking lot. Work gloves and equipment will be provided, but be sure to dress for the weather.

The Chellberg parking lot is located on Mineral Springs Road between Highway 20 and Highway 12 in the central portion of the national lakeshore.

Douglas Center Open House at National Lakeshore

Is cabin fever hitting you hard?  Then get out and join a ranger for an Open House every Saturday afternoon at Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore’s Douglas Center. Explore the center from 9:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. and check out interactive exhibits, a park video, and even a live animal room.  If you don’t mind the cold and there is enough snow, borrow a pair of cross-country skis or snowshoes and explore the Miller Woods Trail just outside the center.

Then, warm up inside the center with a snack and hot chocolate or coffee. Throughout the month of February, enjoy hands-on exhibits featuring other national parks with African-American connections complete with an indoor scavenger hunt for prizes.

The Paul H. Douglas Center for Environmental Education is located in the western portion of the national lakeshore at 100 North Lake Street, about one mile north of U.S. Highway 12.


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shelf ice 2

A group stands on the shore, a safe distance from the shelf ice.

By Ken Kosky

Shelf ice is a cold-weather phenomenon that occurs when cold temperatures freeze small areas of an open lake, forming float ice. This ice will build up over time and be pushed to shore by waves, eventually accumulating on top of the beach, forming shelf ice.

Unlike a pond or a small lake that freezes over, the shelf is not a uniform sheet of ice. Created by the wind and waves, the shelf ice is a jumble of ice chunks pushed onto each other, but there is nothing stable in the pile. The individual pieces are not initially connected; they only float upon the water surface and rest upon each other. Many become jammed together but throughout the structure, there are pockets of air. Because of the uneven surface and possible air holes throughout shelf ice, the ice may give way unexpectedly, making it unsafe to walk on.

Thad Donovan always thought the shelf ice that forms along Lake Michigan’s shoreline was both beautiful and dangerous, but he didn’t know how right he was until he used his remote-control helicopter to get an aerial view at Indiana Dunes State Park in Chesterton.

“Working with the state park’s assistance and permission, I got views from the lake side of the shelf ice, which few people see and it’s enlightening. It falls off like a cliff and has big cracks, and any of those cracks could break off at any time and you could fall in,” Donovan said.

Fortunately, people don’t need to risk their lives to see the shelf ice, which is amazing this year because of the frigid winter.

Donovan’s video is posted at the end of this blog and can also be viewed on Indiana Dunes Tourism’s winter page .

Donovan, who is president of Smith Donovan Marketing & Communications in Chesterton, does a lot of video work on the ground for clients. But the aerial video is a hobby made possible by advancements in remote-control technology. New quadcopters (with four propellers) with video cameras are more affordable and easier to use.

“Although these quadcopters are fairly easy to fly, they are still potentially dangerous. They are not toys and should be taken seriously,” Donovan said.

Shelf Ice Exploration events set for February at Indiana Dunes State Park

People are invited to get their own aerial view of the beautiful shelf along Lake Michigan at one of two special programs planned for February at Indiana Dunes State Park.

The Shelf Ice Exploration events are set for 2 p.m. CST Saturday, March 1 and 2 p.m. CST Saturday, March 22 at the Indiana Dunes State Park  pavilion.

People are invited to meet a naturalist at the beach pavilion for a look at the formation of shelf ice and winter along the beach. The presentation will end with a look at the shelf ice from a high vantage point — atop the pavilion.

“I think there is an amazing beauty to the shelf ice. It’s an arctic-like landscape,” said Brad Bumgardner, interpretive naturalist at the state park.

“People can get a better perspective of the shelf ice (from the pavilion rooftop) without walking on the shelf ice.”

Check out the shelf ice while you can

This winter’s conditions have resulted in amazing-looking shelf ice. In addition to watching the aerial video and going to the Shelf Ice Exploration events, the public can view the shelf ice daily from Indiana Dunes State Park and the Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore.

Park officials just remind people never to walk on the shelf ice, but rather to observe it from the beaches or dunes.

For more information about the Indiana Dunes, click here.  Click here for more information about Smith Donovan.

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Plenty of fun events in Indiana Dunes Country

Enjoy winter at Indiana Dunes State Park

Even in the winter, there are still plenty of fun outdoor activities in Indiana Dunes Country.

At Indiana Dunes State Park in Chesterton, adventure seekers can find their thrill sledding nearly 100 feet down Devil’s Slide, and nature enthusiasts can enjoy 16 miles of snow-laden trails that are perfect for hiking, snowshoeing or cross-country skiing. With the beautiful backdrop of shelf ice along Lake Michigan, Indiana Dunes State Park should be on your itinerary of places to visit this month.

Here are some of the upcoming events at the state park:

See the wildlife while enjoying the trails at Dunes State Park.

See the wildlife while enjoying the trails at Dunes State Park.

*Snowshoe Shuffles return for another winter.  Meet an interpreter at the nature center to learn a little about this unique mode of transportation, and then jump on a pair and take short winter walk to try them out. It’s great fun and exercise. Shuffles are planned for Saturday, Jan. 11, and Saturday, Jan. 25.

*The annual winter geocaching event takes place on Saturday, Jan. 18. Explore the Indiana Dunes with a GPS unit and take part in the always popular chili-dump at the end of the day. For registering and for more information visit here and search zip code 46304.
*Sunday, Jan. 19 brings a special program titled, “Cooking Wild.” This unique program is being sponsored by INPAWS and will look at using wild edibles in your day-to-day cooking. The program takes place in the nature center at 1 p.m.

See the complete list of programs for January that you can print and keep at home.

You can also keep up to date on upcoming activities and sightings in the park on Facebook or Twitter.

To contact the Interpretive Service of Indiana Dunes State Park, call (219) 926-1390 or

For a complete guide to enjoying winter in Indiana Dunes Country, visit Indiana Dunes Tourism’s winter web page.

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The snow is here! It’s time to get outside and play

Winter fun in Indiana Dunes Country

A nice blanket of snow is now covering Indiana Dunes Country. Do you know what that means?

Enjoy sledding and more in Indiana Dunes Country.

Enjoy sledding and more in Indiana Dunes Country.

It means the time is right for cross-country skiing, snowshoeing, sledding and other winter fun at The Indiana Dunes and surrounding areas. Skiing enthusiasts will find miles of trails through a variety of terrain. Just be sure to bring your own skis (or snowshoes).

Among my favorite spots for cross-country skiing are Taltree Arboretum and Sunset Hill Farm County Park in Valparaiso; Coffee Creek Watershed Preserve in Chesterton; and these Indiana Dunes sites: Indiana Dunes State Park and the Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore’s Glenwood Dunes and Tolleston Dunes trails.

It's cross-country skiing time!

It’s cross-country skiing time!

For more information about cross-country skiing, as well as sledding, snowshoeing, ice rinks and ice fishing, check out Indiana Dunes Tourism’s new winter page here.

Even if you’re not looking for strenuous winter fun, this is a great time for great views. At any of the sites along Lake Michigan, you can see beautiful shelf ice on the lakeshore.

And when you’re done outside, be sure to warm up at one of Indiana Dunes Country’s restaurants or coffee shops here.

Find a cozy place for an overnight stay here.


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Indiana Dunes Tourism earns DMAP reaccreditation

  • Posted on Friday, December 27th, 2013
  • by Administrator in
  • News
Indiana Dunes State Park

Indiana Dunes Tourism has earned reaccreditation from Destination Marketing Association International’s accreditation program.

Indiana Dunes Tourism is one of only 172 destination marketing organizations (DMOs) accredited through the Destination Marketing Accreditation Program (DMAP), even though there are more than 2,700 DMOs around the world.

Indiana Dunes Visitor Center

Indiana Dunes Visitor Center

“We are pleased that the world’s largest association of DMOs has recognized Indiana Dunes Tourism for providing outstanding service and for meeting international standards and benchmarks,” said Lorelei Weimer, Indiana Dunes Tourism Executive Director.

The accreditation seal illustrates a DMO’s commitment to industry excellence and to raising the performance and accountability of DMOs around the world, according to DMAP.

The DMAP process is a comprehensive review of a DMO’s business procedures and accountability.

To become accredited, a DMO must successfully comply with fifty-eight mandatory and thirty voluntary standards in areas that include governance, finance, human resources, sales, communications, destination development and research.

There are DMAP-accredited DMOs throughout the United States as well as in Europe, Australia, Korea, Canada and Mexico.

Indiana Dunes Tourism was first accredited in 2009. The accreditation period lasts for four years.

Among the convention and visitor bureaus receiving accreditation at the same time were LA Inc. (the Los Angeles CVB), the Greater Green Bay CVB and the New Orleans Metropolitan CVB.

“We started the original accreditation process as a strong organization and emerged from it doing an even better job for our destination, our partners and the visitors,” Weimer said.

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Photograph Copyright: Craig Berg