Indiana Dunes could be next national park: Here is how it compares

Should the Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore becomes the 60th national park, it would be the first in Indiana, and at about 40 miles from downtown, the nearest to Chicago by a large distance.

The U.S. Senate must vote on the proposal, and it then needs to be signed by President Donald Trump. Indiana Sen. Joe Donnelly said he is hopeful the Senate will pass the measure soon. The U.S. House unanimously passed the bill in early November.

“The Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore is one of our state’s most beautiful natural resources. Designating the dunes as a national park would give the area the recognition it deserves, attracting more visitors and helping further grow the economy in northwest Indiana,” Donnelly said in a statement.

The Dunes are already a popular destination, with nearly 1.7 million visitors in 2016.

The mechanics of the change are simple: The name would change from Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore to Indiana Dunes National Park. All aspects of how the park is operated stay the same.

Indiana Dunes would be the fourth smallest national park, and the second smallest in the continental U.S. (two of the smaller parks are in the U.S. Virgin Islands and American Samoa).

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