Home > attractions, events, Indiana, things to do, tourism > Shelf Ice Seminar at Indiana Dunes State Park

Shelf Ice Seminar at Indiana Dunes State Park

Indiana Dunes Visitor Center

Indiana Dunes Visitor Center. AroundIndy.com staff photo, (c) 2013, all rights reserved.

By Ken Kosky
Indiana Dunes Tourism


This winter’s relentless cold, snow and ice has resulted in dramatic, beautiful formations of shelf ice along Lake Michigan’s southern shore at Indiana Dunes State Park.

Now, people can see the shelf ice for themselves by watching an aerial video being shared by Indiana Dunes Tourism, and people can attend one of two special shelf ice exploration programs set for March at Indiana Dunes State Park at 1600 North 25 East in Chesterton, IN.

The state park’s interpretive staff will teach how the ice forms and offer a bird’s-eye view of the ice from atop the historic beach pavilion. The shelf ice events are set for 2 p.m. CST Saturday, March 1; and 2 p.m. CST Saturday, March 22 at the Indiana Dunes State Park pavilion.

“I think there is an amazing beauty to the shelf ice. It’s an arctic-like landscape,” said Brad Bumgardner, Indiana Dunes State Park interpretive naturalist. “People can get a better perspective of the shelf ice (from the pavilion rooftop) without walking on the shelf ice.”

The shelf ice video, shot by Thad Donovan, who is president of Smith Donovan Marketing & Communications in Chesterton, can be viewed at http://www.indianadunes.com/travel-blog/2014/01/23/new-video-shows-danger-and-beauty-of-lake-michigan-shelf-ice-people-can-see-it-for-themselves-at-events-indiana-dunes-state-park-pavilion-rooftop/.

Shelf ice, which is much weaker than ice sheets that form on inland lakes, forms as waves push ice chunks together, resulting in a conglomeration of frozen pieces full of air pockets and weak spots.

“People should never attempt to walk on it,” Bumgardner said. “It’s not stable and cave-ins have occurred recently. Warming spring conditions will only make it more dangerous.”

People who can’t attend one of the shelf ice programs are invited to view the shelf ice safely from the beach any day of the week at Indiana Dunes State Park or the Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore, which has access points on either side of Indiana Dunes State Park.

For more information about the shelf ice programs in March, call 219-926-1390.

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