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Indiana gets first national park
Indiana got its first national park on Friday with President Trump'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 Walorski (R) and Sen. Todd Young (R) in a news release.
"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.