Indiana lakeshore closer to becoming national park

A U.S. House committee has advanced a plan to make Indiana's Dunes National Lakeshore a national park.

It would be the state's first national park.

The House Natural Resources Committee unanimously approved the plan Wednesday, the Times of Northwest Indiana reported. The full House will next vote on whether to send it to the Senate.

The plan is sponsored by all nine of Indiana's U.S. House members. U.S. Rep. Pete Visclosky, D-Merrillville, said turning the Dunes into a national park will boost the region's tourism industry.

The Dunes were initially recommended to become a national park in 1916, because of their biological diversity and geological features. The effort was set aside because of World War I.

The Dunes became a state park in 1925, and then earned the designation of national lakeshore in 1966. The area has since expanded four times.

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