Indiana gets first national park

Indiana gets first national park
© Getty

Indiana got its first national park on Friday with President TrumpDonald John TrumpAmash responds to 'Send her back' chants at Trump rally: 'This is how history's worst episodes begin' McConnell: Trump 'on to something' with attacks on Dem congresswomen Trump blasts 'corrupt' Puerto Rico's leaders amid political crisis MORE's signing of an omnibus spending bill.

The bill included a measure to rename Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore to Indiana Dunes National Park, making it the U.S.'s 61st national park.

The park's new designation was announced by Indiana Reps. Pete Visclosky (D), Jackie WalorskiJacqueline (Jackie) R. WalorskiWe should repeal the medical device tax on veterans Heavy loss by female candidate in Republican NC runoff sparks shock Drugmaker challenges FDA on animal testing MORE (R) and Sen. Todd YoungTodd Christopher YoungHouse votes to block Trump's Saudi arms sale Republicans scramble to contain Trump fallout GOP chairman introduces bill to force 'comprehensive review' of US-Saudi relationship MORE (R) in a news release

ADVERTISEMENT

“This designation certifies what we Hoosiers have known all along -- Indiana Dunes is not just a state treasure, but a national treasure as well," Young said in a statement. "I look forward to visiting Indiana's first National Park very soon.”

The state had tried to win a national park designation for more than a century, the The Indianapolis Star reported. 

Park rangers commemorated the new designation in a photo posted to Twitter.  

The name change does not necessarily mean the park will receive extra funding or protection, Bruce Rowe, public information officer for the Indiana Dunes, told the Star. Rowe said the name change will likely boost the park's profile and tourism. 

The area encompasses roughly 15,000 acres of wetlands, woodlands, prairies and savannas in addition to the dunes, with beaches running along 15 miles of Lake Michigan's shoreline.

The Indiana Dunes, along with Indiana Dunes State Park, ranks just under Yellowstone National Park for visitors, seeing an estimated 3.6 million visitors in 2018, Dustin Ritchea, promotions director for Indiana Dunes Tourism, told the paper.

Missouri's Gateway Arch was the last area to be established as a national park, earning the designation in 2018.