Mt. Baldy To Remain Closed This Summer
April 23, 2014– Mount Baldy at the Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore will remain closed through the summer, as crews continue to figure out how the dune opened up and swallowed a six-year-old Illinois boy last year. But Nathan Woessner was rescued and he made a full recovery.
National Lakeshore spokesman Bruce Rowe says teams used ground-penetrating radar last year and they’ve taken information from two additional holes that opened up since last July…. but the holes are short-lived, remaining open for less than 24 hours before collapsing and filling in naturally with surrounding sand.
Rowe says to ensure the public’s safety, Mount Baldy, its parking lot, trail, and beach in front of the dune will remain closed to all vehicular and pedestrian access while the investigation continues.
Acting Superintendent Garry Traynham says Mount. Baldy is one of the most visited sites in the National Lakeshore, attracting thousands of visitors each year, but the continued development of these holes in the dune surface poses a serious risk to the public.
Scientists are now preparing for a more comprehensive investigation of the dune this summer. During the research work, the park’s resource managers will continue planting marram grass on portions of Mt. Baldy where the native dune grass used to grow. The extensive root system of the grass holds sand in place and may also help prevent holes from opening up on the dune’s surface.
All other beach access areas within the national lakeshore are currently open and visitors are asked to stay on the established trails to prevent erosion and subsequent resource damage.