National Geographic : 1963 Nov
KODACHROMESBY BRUCE DALE ) N.G.S. Floodlights glare across land caught in a struggle between payrolls and picnics. White lights in this time exposure trail bulldozers working into the night to flatten sand hills on 3,000 privately owned acres where the Beth lehem Steel Company is building a rolling mill near Indiana Dunes State Park (left). Backers argue that the plan means jobs and prosperity for the area east of Gary. Says United States Senator Paul H. Douglas of Illinois, who leads conservationists in a fight to preserve remaining acreage around the state park: "Industry can locate elsewhere; the dunes cannot." Desert meets woods on an Indiana dune EGETATION STRIVES to root in shift ing sand at Lake Michigan's south ern tip. The trail-laced park, a 2,182 acre world of dune, forest, marsh, and prairie, nurtures more than a thousand species of plants. Botanists prize it as an outdoor laboratory. Prickly pear, a kind of cactus, blooms within sight of the arctic bearberry. Pine, oak, and maple anchor bog-separated ridges that march inland a mile and a half. Dunes farthest from the lake, locked into hills by thick forests, stood at the shore some 17,500 years ago. Young dunes near the beach travel as much as 60 feet a year. Here the bones of centuries-dead trees strew a blowout, so named be cause of winds that keep it bare of liv ing vegetation. Swimmers head for Lake Michigan, which washes a white beach just yards away. Sparkling lake provides a fringe bene fit for Sara Dierking, Ball State Teach ers College student and park waitress.