Illinois is filled with beautiful parks, from the picturesque waterfalls of Starved Rock State Park in Oglesby to the rushing waters of Kankakee River State Park in Bourbonnais. But sometimes you want to take a weekend getaway with a bit more prestige and pay a visit to a National Park. Currently, the closest option is Mammoth Cave National Park, a labyrinth of caverns located more than six hours away in Kentucky—not ideal for a quick excursion from the city.
If a group of lawmakers get their way, Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore could soon be designated a national park. WBEZ reported that US Representative Pete Visclosky introduced a bill last week that seeks to add the area to the National Park System, a move that would make it Indiana's first national park and one of only a few in the Midwest. According to the report, supporters hope that this designation would help bring more tourists to the area and boost the economy. The bill will be deliberated by the House Natural Resources Committee when Congress returns to session after the elections.
The National Park Service came about as a result of the Organic Act of 1916, which tasked the organization "to conserve the scenery and the natural and historic objects and wildlife therein, and to provide for the enjoyment of the same in such manner and by such means as will leave them unimpaired for the enjoyment of future generations." There are currently 59 national parks in the US, none of which are located in Illinois.
Located an hour's drive away from Chicago, the Indiana Dunes have long been a favored destination for weekend travelers who are looking for a new (more sandy) way to experience Lake Michigan. The area certainly deserves to be preserved for generations to come—and we also wouldn't mind having a national park in our proverbial backyard.
Want more? Sign up here to stay in the know.