Prairie Club centennial at Indiana Dunes SP, May 31

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Indiana Dunes State Park will host a 100th anniversary party for the Prairie Club on Saturday, May 31, at 11 a.m.

The day’s events begin at the state park beach pavilion, where cake and punch will follow special presentations. Scheduled speakers include Leo Krusak, Prairie Club president, and Ginger Murphy, assistant director of the DNR Division of State Parks and Reservoirs.

At nearly 100 years from the day, the first Prairie Club hike to the dunes was held. In years following, the Prairie Club heavily influenced the area, protecting much of the land that is now the state park. A beach house was located east of the high dunes, and is remembered today with named landmarks, like Beach House Blowout.

After opening activities, special Prairie Club hikes, led in conjunction with state park naturalists, will take visitors to many of the same sites that the original Prairie Club hikers saw in 1908. Total distance will be about 2 miles. An alternate hike will be offered for those wanting a more relaxing stroll along the park roads, to the campground, and back.

“This is an exciting time for the Prairie Club,” said Brad Bumgardner, park interpreter, “There have been many changes in the park in the last few years while maintaining the park’s significant natural and cultural resources. Much of the park resources could not have been saved intact had it not been for the preservation and advocacy of the Prairie Club 100 years ago.”

Visitors to the Nature Center on this special day can enjoy a video highlighting Prairie Club history. Showings will continue throughout the day and by request.

The DNR, the Friends of Indiana Dunes, and the Prairie Club are event sponsors. The program is free, but normal gate fees of $5 per in-state vehicles and $10 for out-of-state vehicles apply. Visitors should come early to ensure parking availability. For more information about this or other park programs, call (219) 926-1390.

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