Curator of the Department of Botany of the U. S. Field Museum of Natural History Ranks Dunes High -- Shows Importance of Preservation.
(Curator Department of Botany, Field Museum of Natural History)
As a devotee of the natural sciences I class the dune region of Lake Michigan with Yellowstone Park, the Big Tree Forest, the Grand Canyon of the Colorado, Niagara Falls, the caves of Kentucky, and other unique geologic phenomena of this country. Indiana doubtless appreciates the fact that reservation of this wonderful dune region means much to the scientific people of not only this country but of the world, not more, however, than to the general public. There is hardly a scientific investigator or student of nature in the world who has not set his heart upon being able sometime to visit the dunes, that being one of the fields necessary to his activities and to forwarding his studies in whatever branch he may be a specialist.

The sacrifice of this dune area is going on with amazing rapidity, simply because the sand happens to be easily handled. There is plenty of sand that will answer the purpose for which the dunes are being demolished, but just because it costs a few pennies less a carload to handle the dune sand this great phenomenon must be sacrificed in the minds of commercializers. Just a little item for the moment is grasped without regard to the great future. This has been the history of all destruction that has gone on in the name of commerce throughout the centuries.

We are a pioneer country; we are developing with great rapidity, but we must stop to think now and then of the fact that we are not the whole world and that there are millions of people to follow us who should be given the opportunity to enjoy some of the nature that our lives have been made happy in. So thorough has devastation been in the forests of Italy, France and Spain that most of the people are now compelled to cook their meals with grass only for fuel. In thinking of our woodlands would it not be well to bear in mind that there is a great probability of our posterity being compelled to do the same.

The dune region is not only of great geologic interest, it harbors one of the most interesting floras in the country, being as it is, the meeting place of northern and southern plants that grow nowhere else within several hundred miles of the dunes. Those plants can only be preserved to us through protecting the whole dune region which gives them a home. It is our duty, not only to ourselves, but to all other people, to see to it that this region is not devastated and the home of these beautiful residents destroyed. How many times we look back and see that had we but done this thing or that the world would have been far richer for our acts. Let us remember this and do the best we possibly can that the preservation of the dune region shall not be included in the list of things that we should have done.

dunes glade
--Photograph by R. W. Flowers.
Many of these beautiful glades are found between the dunes.  Here grows side by side the cactus of the Arizona Desert, the Artic bearberry, the trailing arbutus and other plants, that come together no other place on earth.
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Posted 29th June, 1999; last updated 10th July, 2001.

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