Saving the Dunes

“When I was young, I wanted to save the world. In my middle years, I would have been content to save my country. Now, I just want to save the dunes.” ~ the late Sen. Paul Douglas, D-Ill.

Indiana Dunes at Lake Michigan

The fight to preserve the Dunes has a long history. A key part of the fight involved the late Senator Paul Douglas, though there were several people throughout the decades who strove to preserve the dunes.

When Indiana state legislators wanted only to economically develop the area known as the Dunes, Dorothy Buell, founder of Save the Dunes, turned to an Illinois Senator to help protect them. Douglas introduced a bill in Congress, seeking the creation of a state park. In contrast, the senators from Indiana backed the state legislators. Douglas was the odd senator out.

Douglas eventually turned to President Kennedy, who forced both sides—pro-business and pro-environment—to compromise. And in 1966 the Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore, which surrounds the Indiana Dunes State Park, was formed.

Thank you, Senator Douglas, for having the vision to fight to protect such a vibrant ecosystem. In a state that wasn’t even your own. You, Dorothy, and those before her helped ensure a legacy that has touched the lives of hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of people over the years.

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