The Dunes Are "Grounds For Action"

By SARAH P. KINSEY of Valparaiso
Your request to send a short communication for your supplement to one of the local papers is appreciated, and I offer my mite in the hope that it may help to persuade some doubting one that the plan to have the Federal Government set aside, for a National Park, at least a part of the Lake Michigan shore line in Porter County will work out in time to the best interests of all.

I appreciate the contention of the thinking men of affairs in Porter county who feel that our county is deficient in cities and towns, and especially in industrial plants that might give employment to our young people, and be a material help in our rather burdensome taxation.

I realize, too, that the location has unparallelled advantages for industrial plants, and it does seem almost a pity to set apart for recreation purpose a tract of land from which we might realize such economic and financial advantages. The nearness to the inexhaustible mines of iron and copper and other minerals of the world-renowned Lake Superior region together with their easy and cheap water transportation by the way of the great unsalted seas; also, our nearness to the buried seas of oil and gas from which, by means of pipes and pumps, we can so easily command these useful fuels; then, too, the land along this southern curve of Lake Michigan is almost encircled, at no great distance, by chains and fields of most excellent and inexhaustible coal formations, all of them easily reached by railway lines on land so comparatively level that from the absence of mountains, tunnels, culverts and fills, their construction is reduced to a minimum.

All of this and much more can be pleaded in favor of the situation for large industrial plants, and yet may there not be still better uses for this land? May it not in time come to have still higher usefulness?

Thinking people are telling us now that the recreation problem is fully as important as the labor problem, and this being true, would it not be wise in us to at least hesitate before we cover with furnaces, foundries and mills this narrow belt of shore line, whose wonderful sand formations have aroused the deepest interest of poets, painters and scholars, and scientific men of high rank? May we not subject ourselves to censure of generations to come? May we not ourselves learn many useful lessons from the barren sands of these neglected dunes? If we might take the time to question them as to their history--their life history--question them as to whence they came, and how far back in the dim ages of the past made they that wonderful journey from the far away north, and why rested they there at the foot of our beautiful lake? Why still are they so impatient of their resting place; move further and further from the shore line? The riddle of the Sphinx has been the mystery of all ages, but have we not here at our very doors a greater mystery?

Then, too, may not the restless waters of our beautiful lake teach us lessons of deep value? Should we not, like little Paul, standing on its shores, looking over its wonderful curved surface, and listening to the lapping of its waves, ask ourselves: "What are the wild waves saying?" And may not the answer yet come to us? Teaching us the great lesson of the power and love of the Great Unknown, who has so marvelously fashioned it all. Surely the answer will come to us as to the poet in the days of old:
Day unto day uttereth speech, and night unto night showeth knowledge,
There is no speech nor language where their voice is not heard."
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Posted 29th June, 1999; last updated 10th July, 2001.

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