- Associated Press - Friday, December 18, 2015

HOBART, Ind. (AP) - A conservation group that works to protect Indiana’s dunes habitat along Lake Michigan has acquired nearly 100 acres along the lake and plans to donate that land to the Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore.

Save the Dunes announced Wednesday that it had acquired three tracts of land totaling almost 100 acres in Hobart, about five miles southeast of Gary, after more than a year of negotiations with one seller who owned the property.

Nicole Barker, the Michigan City-based group’s executive director, said the land will provide habitat for waterfowl and migratory birds such as great blue heron. It features include a dramatic overlook on Lake George, undulating forested ravines, wetlands and a flood plain.

“It’s absolutely beautiful,” Barker told The (Munster) Times (http://bit.ly/1QRlg5P ).

About 20 acres of the land have been farmed in the past, while the rest is wetlands and floodplains.

Save the Dunes plans to seek grant funding to undertake an ecological restoration of the land and then donate the property to the Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore. The 15,000-acre national lakeshore covers 15 miles of Indiana coastline along Lake Michigan’s southern tip and includes sand dunes molded over thousands of years.

Barker said most people don’t realize the National Park Service hasn’t been able to secure the last 10 percent of land within the national lakeshore, which Congress created in 1966 and expanded four times.

About 35 acres of the newly acquired land is within the national lakeshore. The National Park Service can readily accept those 35 acres, but donating the remaining land will require the federal agency to approve a boundary adjustment.

Save the Dunes will continue trying to acquire the best of the private land remaining within the lakeshore’s borders in hopes of “strategically expanding and buffering the park to protect biodiversity hotspots,” said Cathy Martin, Save the Dunes’ parks program coordinator.

___

Information from: The Times, http://www.thetimesonline.com

LOAD COMMENTS ()

 

Click to Read More

Click to Hide