Indiana Dunes Tourism, Created 7-County “Beyond the Beach Discovery Trail,” Team Member

Indiana DunesFrom Broken Wagon Bison Farm in Porter County to as far south as Kankakee Sands in Newton County, Indiana Dunes Tourism launched the Beyond the Beach Discovery Trail featuring 60 different sites across seven counties, said Lorelei Weimer, executive director. Designed to encourage visitors to “shake the sand off their shoes” south of the Dunes, this non-linear trail is the first trail-based nature site in Indiana.  The innovation is taking nature-based and historical-based assets that already exist and linking them together through “Dunes, Moraine and Kankakee” themes. Also emphasized is a comprehensive marketing plan to promote the entire trail and developing an improvement plan for each site. Previously, there was no partnering and virtually no marketing of these individual sites. Based upon a 2013 Conversion study, 77% of visitors acknowledged they had visited the Indiana Dunes in Porter County. Moreover, a surprising 12% identified the Beyond the Beach Discovery Trail as the third most visited attraction behind the Dunes and the Lighthouse Outlet Mall.  Added Christine Livingston, assistant director of Indiana Dunes Tourism for Porter County, this inspired local residents to discover these attractions. Conceived in 2005 and developed collaboratively, the trail was three years in the making. Sites were reviewed, visited and selected by a team.   The trail assets can be found in Jasper, Lake, LaPorte, Newton, Porter, Pulaski and Starke Counties.

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