30 Oct Daylighting Dunes Creek
Indiana Dunes State Park recently ranked #7 on Top 10 State Parks in the nation by USA Toady and #6 on TripAdvisor’s top family beaches in the nation. This news got us reminiscing about the projects we have completed with the DNR at the Dunes over the last few years that helped transform the park into the great place it is today. Though our design and engineering professionals have completed many great projects at the Dunes (new entrance signage and ticketing booths, roadway and parking design, campground and picnic area designs), one in particular stands out as being a significant contribution to the park’s future and its overall experience. The daylighting of Dunes Creek.
Dunes Creek is a small stream that flows through Indiana Dunes State Park and discharges into nearby Lake Michigan. The creek was forced into a large pipe in the 1930s so a new parking lot could be built where the stream once flowed; the creek remained harnessed for 80 years. In 2005, officials at the state park decided to daylight an 825-foot-section the creek. Three years later, after heavy rains and flooding collapsed part of the parking lot above the creek, officials decided to daylight another 700-foot section of Dunes Creek.The project restored the creek’s natural flow, improved flood protection, created fish and wildlife habitat, improved water quality and reduced the volume of polluted runoff flowing into Lake Michigan. The project, which included construction of a boardwalk, improved the overall aesthetics of the park and increased pedestrian access to the creek. Daylighting the creek meant fewer parking spaces, but that reduced overcrowding at the park, which has actually increased revenue. In 2005, the park brought in 68 cents for every dollar invested. By 2009, that had soared to $1.20. The project, which was dedicated in 2012, has won numerous state and national awards including the Governor’s Award for Environmental Excellence, Conservation and Native Landscaping Award, and National First Place Association of Conservation Engineers Award.
This project is a great example of how environmental stewardship can positively effect people and their experiences. Troyer Group is proud to have made an economic, social and environmental impact for our community.