"The value of public open spaces was underscored during the COVID pandemic," says Superintendent Paul Labovitz. "Here at Indiana Dunes National Park we are looking ahead anticipating what our park needs to tune up existing facilities as well as considering future enhancements and new amenities to better serve our visitors. Our visitation has increased dramatically in the past couple of years. Specific changes on the horizon include intelligent transportation technology to provide visitors with trip planning tools including real-time parking availability at many or all of the National Park's parking lots. We'd also like to be a partner in completing the missing segments of the Marquette Greenway Trail that will connect Michigan and Illinois via a multi-use trail. The new fee program will provide additional and needed financial resources to address our maintenance, public safety, and programming needs. We welcome your comments on our proposal."
Entrance fees are determined by park type. In 2006 the National Park Service established an entrance fee structure to simplify and standardize entrance fees across parks of similar types.
Group 1: National Historic Sites, National Military Parks, National Battlefields, National Battlefield Parks, National Memorials/Shrines, National Preserves, Parkways. Seven-day vehicle pass: $20.
Group 2: National Seashores, National Recreation Areas, National Monuments, National Lakeshores, National Historical Parks. Seven-day vehicle pass: $25.
Group 3: National Parks. Seven-day vehicle pass: $30.
Group 4: National Parks. Seven-day vehicle pass: $35.
Indiana Dunes National Park should fall within Group 3 or 4, however due to its location near a large underserved population it was placed in Group 2 which has a lower entrance fee.
Proposed Entrance Fees:
Park Entrance Pass - $25.00 - Per private vehicle including passengers. (Valid for 1-7 days from date of purchase.)
Park Entrance Pass - $20.00 - Per motorcycle including passengers. (Valid for 1-7 days from date of purchase.)
Per Person Entrance Pass - $15.00 - Visitors 16 years of age or older who enter on foot, bicycle, or boat; maximum fee of $25 for family group. (Valid for 1-7 days from date of purchase.)
Per Person Entrance Pass - $15.00 - Visitors 16 years of age or older who enter as part of an organized group not involved in a commercial tour. (Valid for 1-7 days from date of purchase.)
Annual Park Entrance Pass - $45.00 - Per private vehicle with passengers; motorcycle with passengers; boat with passengers; or family group on bicycles. (Valid for 1 year from date of purchase.)
There are several passes which provide access to Federal lands which charge an entrance fee, including: the Annual Interagency Pass; the Lifetime Senior Pass; the free Military and Veteran's Annual Interagency Passes; the free Access Pass (Available for US citizens or permanent residents with permanent disabilities.); the free 4th Grade Every Kid Outdoors Annual Pass; and the free Annual Volunteer Pass (For volunteers with 250 or more service hours annually.). Information concerning the benefits of passes and how to obtain them is available at https://www.nps.gov/planyourvisit/passes.htm
All Federal passes will be honored at the park, and can be obtained at the park and online. The proposed park Annual Pass will be available for purchase at the park and online.
Commercial groups utilizing the park have a different entrance fee structure.
Proposed Commercial Entrance Fees, all valid for 1 day from date of purchase.
• Car (1-6 Person Capacity) - $25.00 + $10.00 Per Person (up to a maximum of $40.00)
• Van (7-15 Person Capacity) - $40.00
• Mini Bus (16-25 Person Capacity) - $40.00
• Motor coach (26+ Person Capacity) - $100.00
Indiana Dunes National Park is also seeking public comment on the implementation of new camping fees for a group campsite, which would be located in the Dunbar Beach area, and new camping fees for six to ten (6-10) backcountry campsites which would be located approximately 1/2 mile East of the Central Avenue Beach area.
Dunbar Group Campsite
The park does not have a public group campsite. The park currently uses a site near Dunbar Beach for administrative purposes. Volunteer groups and others who are completing projects for the park are provided use of this site for tent camping at no charge. An existing parking lot and restroom facility are located adjacent to this site.
The park proposes converting this administrative site to a public group campsite, for tents only, which would accommodate up to 30 people. "Leave No Trace" standards would be followed. This site is the only beachside group campsite in the State of Indiana. After completing extensive research the park has determined that a $100 per night fee is appropriate.
Backcountry Camping Sites
The proposed backcountry campsites would be the first within the park. Unlike true backcountry campsites visitors would be required to camp on specific sites. The park is proposing the designation of six to ten (6-10) sites located on former home sites. The sites would be located approximately ½ mile East of the Central Avenue Beach parking lot. Services provided would include a porta-potty, which would be located at the Northern end of Carolina Avenue, and a fire ring and picnic table on each site. The sites would be mowed regularly. "Leave No Trace" standards would be followed. These sites would cost $25 per night, and have a limit of eight (8) people.
In lieu of an in-person public meeting you are invited to participate in a Zoom meeting.
When: Aug 18, 2021, 06:00 PM Central Time
To join the Zoom meeting please use the following information:
From your computer use the link provided below, and the following ID and passcode:
Meeting ID: 897 4815 5060
From your phone use the following information to join the meeting.
Dial by your location:
+1 312 626 6799 US (Chicago)
Meeting ID: 897 4815 5060
Find your local number: https://us02web.zoom.us/u/kqnx9yLUp
Public comments will be accepted until October 1, 2021.
Paul Labovitz (219) 395-1699
Bruce Rowe (219) 395-1609
Indiana Dunes National Park is seeking public comment on the proposed establishment of an entrance fee as well as new camping fees. These new fees would provide additional and much needed financial resources to address the park's maintenance backlog and public safety concerns, and provide funding for visitor service-related projects to enhance the overall visitor experience. If approved the entrance fees and camping fees would take effect on March 31, 2022.