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PROGRAMS ARE SUBJECT TO CHANGES CHECK FOR UPDATES

The Lake County Parks Department is committed to providing quality parks and open spaces along with many recreational, cultural, and educational opportunities for the use an enjoyment of all Lake County residents and visitors.

 

Over the Years

June 1, 1968

Lake County Parks & Recreation Board established.

June 11, 1968

First Park Board meeting.

1968

Purchase of first county park land: Lemon Lake (160 acres) and Deep River (69 acres)

1970

Received approval of the first matching Lake and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF) grant to purchase 400 acres near Leroy (Stoney Run).

The first survey of park and recreation needs was conducted by a 50-member advisory committee.

1971

First "Comprehensive Plan for Parks and Open Space" was approved.

1972

Lemon Lake County Park dedicated.

Acquisition of addition Stoney Run land completed through LWCF grant.

1973

Received grants from Department of Housing and Urban Development and Bureau of Outdoor Recreation, State of Indiana.

Acquisition of 45 acres (Lemon Lake), 40 acres (Stoney Run), 34 acres (Deep River).

Stoney Run County Park officially dedicated.

1974

Vietnam Memorial at Stoney Run officially dedicated.

Completed acquisition of Wood's Mill at Deep River and parcels along the Little Calumet park site were acquired.

More than 8,000 trees were planted in Department's first nursery (Stoney Run).

Recreation division, in conjunction with the Northwest Indiana Regional Planning Commission, completed the first bikeways map.

1975

Department receives and an "A" rating Accreditation Award from the Indiana Parks and Recreation Association.

Legislation passed allowing the County Council representation on the Lake County Parks Board.

Began investigation of 1,000 acre area along Kankakee River as potential wildlife refuge (Grand Kankakee Marsh).

Two hundred fifty-six acres acquired for Deep River site as Department's first nature center opens there.

Twenty acres purchased and added to Little Calumet River Recreational Corridor (Lake Etta).

1976

Arboretum begins with 40-tree donation and a Touchstone Trail for the handicapped is surfaced at Lemon Lake.

Wood's Mill is dedicated and listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

Department receives the National Association of Park and Recreation Officials Award from the National Association of Countries for outstanding achievement.

The Nature Conservancy (TNC) acquired 238 acres and options an additional 623 acres at the Grand Kankakee Marsh.

1977

Department assumes management of Lake Etta under inter-local government agreement with the Indiana Department of Natural Resources.

Mrs. Rose Buckley Pearce donates a 160-acre homestead near Lowell as a county park (Buckley Homestead).

Deep River County Park is dedicated.

Approval authorizing sale of $3.4 million in bonds for acquisition of 1,400 acres and development projects.

Department closes on 3.82 acres of Lake Michigan lakefront in Hammond-Whiting area (Whihala Beach).

LWCF grant received for land acquisition at Grand Kankakee Marsh County Park.

Lake County Parks receives Land Water Conservation Fund grant (LWCF) and acquires 300 acres from TNC at the Grand Kankakee Marsh together with remaining land options.

LCPRD acquires remaining parcels through proceeds from a General Obligation Bond Issue. (861 acres) at GKM

1978

Turkey Creek County Park Golf Course is dedicated.

Dr. Joseph Jarabek donates 38.5 acres at Deep River.

Urban and Community Forestry program was initiated.

1979

Grand Kankakee Marsh County Park dedicated – 920 acres of marsh land as the only county managed fish and game area in Indiana.

Windmill and creative play structure completed at Stoney Run.

Ninety acres in Griffith-Merrillville area is future Oak Ridge Prairie.

Implementation of Urban Task force.

The Grand Kankakee Marsh County Park is dedicated.

1980

Touchstone Trail is dedicated at Lemon Lake.

147 acres added to Oak Ridge Prairie; 4 acres added to Hammond-Whiting Lakefront; 57 acres added to Deep River.

Grant awarded by the Indiana Department of Tourism and the Northwest

Indiana Natural and Human Resources Foundation for promotion of Lake County Parks.

1981

Whihala Beach County Park and Gibson Woods Nature Preserve are dedicated and added to the park system.

LCPRD entered into inter-local government agreement with the Little Calumet River Basin Development Commission for the management of Lake Etta County Park.

Received accreditation as a first-class parks and recreation system from Indiana Parks and Recreation Association.

1982

Received 50/50 matching fund grant from LWCF for Lake Etta County Park.

Received approval for $5.5 million bond issue for park development.

$75,000 in 50/50 matching funds grant from LWCF awarded for improvements at Lemon Lake.

Adopted a five year Parks and Open Space plan.

1983

Buckley Homestead County Park opens with weekend programs and weekday reserved tours.

Oak Ridge Prairie dedicated in October.

1984

Gibson Woods Environmental Awareness Center opens at Gibson Woods.

Church building at Deep River opens as a Visitor Center and general store gift shop.

LWCF 50/50 matching funds grant awarded for improvements at Lake Etta.

1985

Boat launch ramp at Whihala Beach opened and dedicated; provides access to Lake Michigan.

Additional 50/50 LWCF grand awarded for improvements at Lake Etta.

1986

Third LWCF grant awarded for Lake Etta improvements including swimming beach, handicapped water ramp, improved fishing areas and additional parking.

Vietnam Veterans' Memorial Committee completes Phase 1 of memorial restoration at Stoney Run.

1987

Three acres acquired at Deep River with a 21' gazebo begun as part of a $200,000 matching LWCF grant.

More than 12,000 hours of volunteer service was given by the "Friends of the Parks."

1988

At Deep River County Park, two bridges over Deep River are installed, the gazebo is completed and work on a 1837 sash frame sawmill is begun

Grant awarded by the Indiana Department of Commerce Tourism Bureau and the Lake Heritage Parks Foundation for promotion of parks facilities and programs.

Dove season was initiated at the Grand Kankakee Marsh.

1989

Lake County Commissioners establish the Memorial at Stoney Run as the official Vietnam Veterans' Memorial in Lake County.

1990

Multipurpose building constructed at Lake Etta.

Lemon Lake playground is renovated.

LWCF grand awarded for development of Oak Ridge Prairie.

1991

Phase 3 of Vietnam Veterans' Memorial completed at Stoney Run.

Receives Indiana Waters Grant in the amount of $250,000 (Dingle/Johnson Funds) to construct public access site on Kankakee River at Grand Kankakee Marsh. Special design features include floating finger pier that "rides" with the 12' high and low levels of the river.

Plans for a 160 acre Wetland Restoration Project are developed for the Hog Marsh Unit at the Grand Kankakee Marsh as part of a system wide Bond Issue.

1992

Waterfowl USA and the USFWS Partners for Wildlife Program assist LCPRD in developing the 120 acre Little Hickory Unit at GKM. Ducks Unlimited proposes to redesign Hog Marsh as 270 acre Moist Soil Management Unit and finance the project via local Life Sponsors. They expand the project by 100 acres and are able to construct the project for less than the original estimate of $150,000.

1993

Bond issue passes.

1994

Indiana Grand Kankakee Marsh Restoration Project (IGKMRP) becomes the States first successful NAWCA Project and receives $1,500,000 to begin the ten year goal of acquiring, restoring and enhancing 26,500 acres within eight County Kankakee River Basin in Northwest Indiana.

1995

Deep River Waterpark opens in May.

Hog Marsh, 260 acres, seasonally flooded impoundments for wildlife management dedicated September 28 at Grand Kankakee Marsh.

The 888 acre Goose Lake Unit is acquired with the assistance of the LCPRD, IDNR, Indiana Heritage Trust, and NAWCA. (888 " acres)

1996

Buckley Homestead Museum/Farmhouse opened to public.

Whihala Beach opened at west beach area and fishing pier.

IGKMRP receives Phase II NAWCA Grant of $1,000,000 for GMK

Ducks Unlimited develops plans for a 520 acre Moist Soil Unit at Goose Lake at GKM

The Storm, three dark ride slide complex, was added to Deep River Waterpark

1997

The Little Calumet River Basin Development Commission, the US Army Corps of Engineers-Chicago District, and the Lake County Parks, groundbreaking ceremony for Lake Etta recreation enhancements.

1998

Groundbreaking for Three Rivers County Park.

Opening of the Erie Lackawanna hike/bike trail.

Construction begins at Goose Lake at GKM after 18 month permit process is concluded.

1999

Opening of Three Rivers County Park.

Dedication of the new Vietnam Veterans' Memorial at Stoney Run.

Large group pavilion, canoe launch, trail, multi-level playground added to Lake Etta.

Eighteen hole Disc Golf Course opened at Lemon Lake.

The addition of "The Dragon" speed slide at Deep River Waterpark.

2000

The hog barn at Buckley Homestead is renovated.

Administrative division and the Planning and Development division moved into a new office located on Route 30 on the Deep River campus.

2001

Construction began on the Oak Savannah Bike Trail from Oak Ridge Prairie east to Porter County.

Birding room was added to the Gibson Woods Environmental Awareness Center

Nine additional holes were added on the Lemon Lake disc golf course.

2002

Park Board reorganizes department adding two new divisions, Park Services and Visitor Services.

2003

New playground and sand volleyball courts added to Lemon Lake.

New irrigation system and reservoirs at Turkey Creek Golf Course.

County Council and the State of Indiana Local Government Finance Commission approved $30.3 million capital development plan to be repaid from the revenue based facilities and programs.

2004

Oak Savannah multi-use asphalt trail opened on National Trails Day in June. Trail head is located at Oak Ridge Prairie.

Dogwood Run, no-leash dog facility added to Lemon Lake.

Concessions building with restrooms added to Lemon Lake near playground.

2005

Deep River Waterpark nearly doubled in size in an expansion that included the addition of an interactive family play area, an action river, dueling bowl slides, and visitor amenities.

Ice Skating Plaza was opened at Deep River Waterpark from late November through February.

Conway Astronomical Observatory was added on the Buckley Homestead site.

A partnership between the Lake County Parks, the Calumet Astronomical Society and Purdue University Calumet was established to develop future programs and support facilities at the Conway site.

LCPRD acquires Cedar Creek Family Golf Center as the newest Lake County Park.

2006

Banquet Hall and wedding pergola was opened at Lake Etta County Park.

Water lines extended to Dogwood Run at Lemon Lake for no-leash facility.

2007

Construction began on Children's Discovery Play Center at Three Rivers County Park

Park Services Division and Visitor Services Division moved to the Deep River campus on the corporate office grounds

2008

Lake County Parks CEO Robert Nickovich was awarded the highest acknowledgement by the Indiana Park and Recreation Association at its annual conference in Bloomington.  Named Professional of the Year, Bob was recognized for his continued service in the field of parks and recreation

The Lake County Parks also received the 2008 Outstanding Park Program Award for its popular and unique participatory theatrical event, The Legend of Sleepy Hollow presented at Buckley Homestead Living History Farm. 

The department was also presented a 2008 Outstanding Special Award for the wheelchair accessible hayride wagon, which allows individuals to take a hayride without being removed from their wheelchairs.  The one-of-a-kind ramp and wagon anchoring system is located in Oak Ridge Prairie County Park.

2009

Bellaboo's Play and Discovery Center at Three Rivers County Park opened on September 15, 2009

2010

Bellaboo's Play and Discovery Center is awarded Outstanding Facility of the Year by the Indiana Parks and Recreation Assocation at its annual conference in January

2011

In cost cutting moves, Wood's Mill is closed during the season on Fridays and Gibson Woods Nature Preserve and EAC is closed on Mondays, holidays year round and two weeks at the end of the year

2012

Calumet Astronomy Center at Buckley Homestead is awarded the Outstanding Facility of the Year by the Indiana Parks and Recreation Assocation at its annual conference in January

2013

One acre added to Three Rivers County Park
Three acres added to the Veterans Memorial Parkway Trail
Five acres added to Oak Ridge Prairie County Park
41 acres were donated to Buckley Homestead County Park

 

 


LAKE COUNTY PARKS Years of Excellence

     Only three years after the Indiana State Legislature authorized the creation of county park districts within the state, the Lake County Parks and Recreation Department was formed. On June 11, 1968, six spirited men gathered at the Criminal Court Building in Crown Point to hold the first county park board meeting. Four were appointed by the Circuit Court Judge, one was appointed by the County Extension Agent, and one by the County School Superintendent. William Fifield, Harold Holmes, A.D. Leurs, William Purcell, Mehilo Kisely, and Ernest Niemeyer were deeply committed to the development of a Lake County Parks and Recreation Department that would meet the leisure needs of present and future generations. With the goals of providing a balance of both open space and recreational development, and the enhancement of living environments in urban and suburban areas, the park board identified several potential park sites. The first board purchase was 160 acres near Cedar Lake, now Lemon Lake County Park. Soon after that, 69 acres were acquired on the Deep River park site. This was the official start of developing the present Lake County Park system.

      Historically, public parks and recreation programs have been a significant part of our heritage. With this value in mind, the Lake County Parks and Recreation Department strives to evolve and adapt to changing cultural, societal, and demographic demands in an attempt to meet the leisure needs of the community. Over the past forty years numerous significant achievements have been accomplished toward that end, leading to the formation of twelve park sites.

      In 1970, the department was approved for the first of many grants that would follow. Acquisition and development at several of the park sites was supported through matching Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF) grants. Grants were also received from the Department of Housing and Urban Development, the Indiana Department of Natural Resources, the Indiana Department of Transportation, and from businesses and not-for-profits. Grant money totaling more than $10 million has been received for various projects throughout the system.

      But grants weren't the only support for the growing park system. Private donations and volunteer efforts have always played a vital role. Mrs. Rose Buckley Pearce donated her 140 year old family homestead near Lowell for what is now Buckley Homestead, and Dr. Joseph Jarabek donated more than 38 acres of land at Deep River. Six ladies from the Cedar Lake Junior Women's Club and the Indiana Bell Pioneers donated time and money to construct the hard surface Touchstone Trail around Lemon Lake. Countless hours of volunteer labor and fundraising were dedicated to the development and enhancement of a Memorial at Stoney Run, now the official Lake County Vietnam Veterans' Memorial. Throughout the years, hundreds of volunteers giving thousands of hours have worked together with park department personnel and board members to meet the goals of providing benefits through a versatile park system balancing preservation, conservation, and recreation. Currently, of the 6,476 acres in the system, only 1,018 are developed for active recreation and support facilities. The remainder is available for passive recreational pursuits like bird watching and hiking, or as a green space buffer to development.

      Development of the park system has been guided by a series of master plans that identify acquisition, development, and administration of park and recreation resources in planning for the future. In 1971, the first Comprehensive Plan for Parks and Open Space was approved by the Lake County Planning Commission. Since then, these plans have been updated by the board every five years. With comprehensive planning guides in place, the Park Board was successful in receiving approval for three separate bond issues. In 1977, 1982, and 1993 the board obtained authorization for the sale of bonds for land acquisition and capital development projects. The 1977 bond issue saw park acreage double and three new parks added to the system; Turkey Creek Golf Course, Deep River, and Lake Etta. Today, Lake County Parks and Recreation Department is a system of twelve parks from Whihala Beach on the shores of Lake Michigan to the Grand Kankakee Marsh on the Kankakee River, encompassing more than 6,000 acres of open space.

      Cooperative ventures with other agencies have also been a way to manage the park system. An early partnership was established in 1977 when the park department assumed management of Lake Etta under an inter-local government agreement with the Indiana Department of Natural Resources. Today that agreement continues with the Little Calumet River Basin Development Commission. In 1999 the Little Calumet River Basin Development Commission, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers - Chicago District, and the Lake County Parks conducted a groundbreaking ceremony for recreation enhancements at Lake Etta, which provided for canoe access to the Little Calumet River.

      Much of the fill used to build the wide levee flood control development along the Interstate 80/94 corridor was taken from land at Deep River County Park. Through an agreement with the Army Corps of Engineers, the Little Calumet River Basin Development Commission, and the Lake County Park board soil was dug, creating two lakes adjoining the hiking trails at Deep River, providing additional natural habitat to the park site.

      An alliance with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and Waterfowl U.S.A. was instrumental in developing Little Hickory at the Grand Kankakee Marsh, and cooperation between Ducks Unlimited and the Park Board allowed for the restoration of Hog Marsh, also at Grand Kankakee Marsh. One of the largest conservation projects in the state of Indiana is the Grand Kankakee Marsh Restoration Project, partially funded by the North American Wetlands Conservation Act. The IGKMRP was initiated to provide an avenue for willing partners to work together. To date, the partnership includes 30 governmental agencies, not-for-profit organizations, small businesses, and corporate sponsors from throughout Midwest Indiana who have banded together and taken the first steps in a ten year program to re-establish the local heritage of the Grand Kankakee marsh. The early successes have only been surpassed by the aspirations of making the riverine marsh system a reality again. Working within a realistic focus, the project management team operates under a well-defined set of criteria in the direction set by the partners.

      These partners have a ten year plan to acquire, restore, and enhance 26,000 acres of historic wetland areas throughout the eight counties that make up the Kankakee River Basin. Dick Blythe, whose decades of behind-the-scenes work on restoring Indiana's Grand Kankakee Marsh, is among the 2007 Outdoor Life magazine's first annual "Top 25" award winners. Blythe, chairman of the marsh restoration project and owner of Blythe's Sport Shops in Griffith and Valparaiso, joins Gary Loomis, Dick and Jim Cabala, Ray Scott, Ted Nugent and others "who have had the greatest impact on hunting and fishing" according to editors J.R. Absher and Brian McCombie. Under Blythe's leadership, the Grand Kankakee Marsh Restoration Project has acquired or restored 18,000 wetland acres and raised more than $15 million since 1994.

      Throughout its forty year history, the Lake County Parks has often received acclaim from others in the profession. The department received an "A" rating Accreditation Award from the Indiana Parks and Recreation Association. It also received the National Association of Park and Recreation Officials Award for outstanding achievement from the National Association of Counties. The department earned accreditation as a first-class County parks and recreation system from the Indiana Parks and Recreation Association. In 1995, the first year it opened, Deep River Waterpark was named the outstanding park development project by the Indiana Parks and Recreation Association. Representing the Lake County Parks, department CEO, Robert Nickovich was named Conservationist of the Year by the Department of Natural Resources in 2000.

      While many of the twelve park sites in the Lake County system share common features like trails and open space, each has its own special feature. Stoney Run, for example, is home to the Lake County Vietnam Veterans Memorial. Buckley Homestead is dedicated to early south-county farming history. The Grand Kankakee Marsh is more than 2,000 acres of wetland restoration. Oak Ridge Prairie offers hayrides for visitors in wheelchairs. Lemon Lake has two 18-hole disc golf courses and will add an additional course in 2008. Deep River is home to the historic Woods' Grist Mill, the first industry in Lake County, and one of the most successful public-sector water parks in the country. Gibson Woods is not only owned and managed by the Lake County Park board, but is also a state-dedicated native preserve due to its significant dune and swale remnants. Three Rivers is the site of Bellaboo's Children's Play and Discovery Center. And the list goes on.

      How did the Lake County Parks continue to grow and serve residents and visitors? In the late 1980s it became increasing clear that the park system could not continue to grow without additional resources. That's when the park board developed a revenue-generating philosophy to complement existing services. Already in the system was Turkey Creek Golf Course, but plans were made for the future opening of Deep River Waterpark.

      This new direction proved successful and was later supported by park visitors when they responded to a public survey conducted as part of the 2003-2007 Lake County Parks and Recreation Open Space Master Plan. Respondents indicated that they did not want to pay tax increases. Nor, however, did they want to reduce costs by reducing services. This stance created a dilemma. How does the park system maintain services without the resources to pay for them? The answer was also indicated by respondents when a majority of them indicated that revenue-generating facilities should be built in the parks.

      In fact, the Lake County Park board had already taken a pro-active direction toward that end in 1995 when it opened Deep River Waterpark as its major fund raising facility. At that time, many naysayers said it wouldn't work, but indeed, it has. Even in years with record-setting low temperatures and exceptionally wet conditions, the Waterpark has proven a valuable income producer for the park department.

      In 2003 the Lake County Council and the State of Indiana Local Government Finance Commission approved $30.3 million capital development plan to be repaid from the revenue based facilities and programs. One of the first projects was to expand the facilities at the Waterpark. From the first year of operations, it was apparent to all involved that the Waterpark was under-built to meet public demand. While planners expected the facility to be popular, even park department officials were surprised by its attendance. Designed to serve about 140,000 visitors, the first year attendance was 220,000.

      During 2004, even prior to the park gates closing on Labor Day, construction began on improvements for the 2005 season. The expansion was developed to the west of the original park and did not impact the daily operations. In fact, park visitors curiously watched the development.

      2005 saw the Waterpark nearly double in size in an expansion that included the addition of an interactive family play structure for all ages, an action river, dueling bowl slides, more food stands, and visitor amenities. Adjoining the new entrance was the expanded parking lot and bus drop-off areas. Improvements were designed to serve more park visitors and serve them more quickly. While in the past the number of daily visitors the site could comfortably handle was about 5,000. With the expansion, capacity is more like 7,000.

      Also, as part of the expansion was the construction of an outdoor ice plaza for winter use. Beneath the concrete plaza are miles of interacting coils designed to freeze a shallow layer of water when temperatures fall below 40 degrees F. The skating plaza opened the day after Thanksgiving to gathering crowds. In addition to filling a need in the region, the skating plaza added days of operation for the seasonal park.

      We know that park and recreation programs bring meaning, purpose, and pleasure to people's lives, but the social and educational benefits are also significant. Play, for example, is not only a physical activity, but leads to critical thinking, strategic planning, and teamwork. Field trips are not only a day away from the classroom, but encourage students to connect what they hear with what they do. Park staff and volunteers conduct hundreds of programs and educational offerings throughout the system, but saw an unmet need in the region for recreational/educational activities geared specifically to early learners.

      The Children's Discovery Play Center, currently under construction at Three Rivers County Park, is designed to meet that need. The innovative and exciting center is designed for children from infancy through age eight. The colorful and imaginative center features 22,000 square feet of hands-on activities. Self-guided play in a child-sized supermarket, construction zone, and pizza parlor, for example, will provide areas for children not only to interact with others, but to participate in dramatic play that stimulates intellectual growth. Additional elements include block play, do-it-yourself face painting, an art studio, dress-up, water tables, soft-contained-play equipment, a reading room, children's do-it-yourself cooking, a performance area, and space just for infants and toddlers with developmentally-appropriate play activities.

      The Center, designed by the White Hutchinson Leisure & Learning Group, is based on the proven concepts that there is a positive relationship between play and cognitive and social development. Activities will combine fun and entertainment with education and learning both indoors and out. Other features include café seating for more than 200 people located in the center of the building surrounded by the play areas. Five private birthday party rooms will prove the perfect place for that special birthday boy or girl. The Center will also fit the needs of preschool and early elementary grade school field trips.

      When we hear the term "parks and recreation" we have an idea of what it means to us. Some think of play time for children. Others think of sports. Some think of neighborhood parks with slides and swings and ball fields, while others think of Yellowstone or the Grand Canyon. Clearly, parks and recreation are all of these things, but are also so much more. Parks, recreation, and leisure activities are not only a vital part of our personal lives, but they are fundamental to the quality of life in our communities. Parks and recreation are wise investments that provide benefits, both immediately and for decades to come. Property values are generally higher when homes are located close to quality parks. Today's developers now incorporate as much of the natural landscape as possible, keeping trees when they can, building trails, and creating ponds. So it's not just park lands that add value, but the entire concept of natural areas and recreational experiences. Parks and recreation provide for fun and enjoyment but it goes far beyond that. They are fundamental to the quality of life for individuals, for communities, and for our society as a whole.

      If you remember when Lemon Lake was just a field with some lowland marsh, or Lake Etta was an old fishing hole; or when Wood's Historic Grist Mill was a dilapidated, neglected three-story building on the banks of Deep River, obscured by weeds and piles of debris, you can easily recognize the invaluable resources added to the quality of life for Northwest Indiana by the Lake County Parks. If you have been witness to the creation of this first-class county park system here in the heart of industrial Northwest Indiana, you've probably experienced the excitement of watching it grow.

      Today, grants, partnerships, donations, and the tax draw continue to be critical financial sources, but the Waterpark, the Children's Discovery Center, Turkey Creek and Cedar Creek Golf Courses and Banquet on the Green and the Lake Etta Banquet Hall help generate needed funds to support other park sites like Gibson Woods Nature Preserve, marsh restoration, and multi-use trails.

      Since its formation in 1968, the park board has been committed to developing a department that would meet the leisure needs of present and future generations. With the goals or providing a balance between open space and recreational development, and enhancing the living environment in urban and suburban areas, the park board has developed a system of twelve parks and two bike/hike trails. It's this balance between natural areas and recreational activities that provides opportunities to residents and visitors from the southern tip of Lake Michigan at Whihala Beach to the Grand Kankakee Marsh and areas between. Often we take for granted the value of public parks, but the benefits they provide are truly endless. The Lake County Park Board will continue to take a leadership role in making the region a place where families choose to live and businesses choose to locate by maintaining quality facilities and presenting valuable programs.

1972 Lemon Lake County Park; 403 acres in Crown Point
1973 Stoney Run County Park; 316 acres in Leroy
1977 Deep River County Park; 1080 acres in Hobart
1977 Lake Etta County Park; 105 acres in Gary
1978 Turkey Creek Golf Course; 151 acres in Merrillville
1979 Grand Kankakee Marsh; 2069 acres in Hebron
1981 Whihala Beach County Park; 22 acres in Whiting
1981 Gibson Woods Nature Preserve; 179 acres in Hammond
1983 Buckley Homestead; 746 acres in Lowell
1983 Oak Ridge Prairie & E-L/OST trails; 939 acres Griffith
1995 Deep River Waterpark (Deep River Campus in Merrillville
1998 Erie Lackawanna trail (Lake County section)
1999 Three Rivers County Park; 78 acres in Lake Station
2004 Oak Savannah hike/bike trail (Trailhead at Oak Ridge Prairie)
2005 Cedar Creek Family Golf Center; 82 acres in Cedar Lake


For reservations and more information about the Lake County Parks Call 219-769-PARK
Mon-Fri 8:30am to 4:30pm Central Time (Chicago Time)

Lake County Parks and Recreation Department Corporate Office
8411 East Lincoln Highway, Crown Point, Indiana 46307
Just west of Deep River WaterparK 4.5 miles east of I-65 on Route 30