Indiana gets first national park

Indiana gets first national park
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Indiana got its first national park on Friday with President TrumpDonald John TrumpTrump administration eyes proposal to block jet engine sales to China: report Trump takes track to open Daytona 500 Brazile 'extremely dismayed' by Bloomberg record 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. WalorskiNew FDA policy allows lab animals to be adopted after experiments Congressional leaders unite to fight for better future for America's children and families The Suburban Caucus: Solutions for America's suburbs MORE (R) and Sen. Todd YoungTodd Christopher YoungThe Hill's Morning Report — AG Barr, GOP senators try to rein Trump in Overnight Defense: Senate votes to rein in Trump war powers on Iran | Pentagon shifting .8B to border wall | US, Taliban negotiate seven-day 'reduction in violence' The 8 Republicans who voted to curb Trump's Iran war powers MORE (R) in a news release

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“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.