Over the Years

Date
Moment
June 1, 1968
Lake County Parks and Recreation Board established.
June 11, 1968
First Park Board meeting.
1968
Purchase of first county park land: Lemon Lake (160 acres) and Deep River (69 acres)
1970
Received approval of the first matching Lake and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF) grant to purchase 400 acres near Leroy (Stoney Run).
The first survey of park and recreation needs was conducted by a 50-member advisory committee.
1971
First "Comprehensive Plan for Parks and Open Space" was approved.
1972
Lemon Lake County Park dedicated.
Acquisition of addition Stoney Run land completed through LWCF grant.
1973
Received grants from Department of Housing and Urban Development and Bureau of Outdoor Recreation, State of Indiana.
Acquisition of 45 acres (Lemon Lake), 40 acres (Stoney Run), 34 acres (Deep River).
Stoney Run County Park officially dedicated.
1974
Vietnam Memorial at Stoney Run officially dedicated.
Completed acquisition of Wood's Mill at Deep River and parcels along the Little Calumet park site were acquired.
More than 8,000 trees were planted in Department's first nursery (Stoney Run).
Recreation division, in conjunction with the Northwest Indiana Regional Planning Commission, completed the first bikeways map.
1975
Department receives and an "A" rating Accreditation Award from the Indiana Parks and Recreation Association.
Legislation passed allowing the County Council representation on the Lake County Parks Board.
Began investigation of 1,000 acre area along Kankakee River as potential wildlife refuge (Grand Kankakee Marsh).
Two hundred fifty-six acres acquired for Deep River site as Department's first nature center opens there.
Twenty acres purchased and added to Little Calumet River Recreational Corridor (Lake Etta).
1976
Arboretum begins with 40-tree donation and a Touchstone Trail for the handicapped is surfaced at Lemon Lake.
Wood's Mill is dedicated and listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
Department receives the National Association of Park and Recreation Officials Award from the National Association of Countries for outstanding achievement.
The Nature Conservancy (TNC) acquired 238 acres and options an additional 623 acres at the Grand Kankakee Marsh.
1977
Department assumes management of Lake Etta under inter-local government agreement with the Indiana Department of Natural Resources.
Mrs. Rose Buckley Pearce donates a 160-acre homestead near Lowell as a county park (Buckley Homestead).
Deep River County Park is dedicated.
Approval authorizing sale of $3.4 million in bonds for acquisition of 1,400 acres and development projects.
Department closes on 3.82 acres of Lake Michigan lakefront in Hammond-Whiting area (Whihala Beach).
LWCF grant received for land acquisition at Grand Kankakee Marsh County Park.
Lake County Parks receives Land Water Conservation Fund grant (LWCF) and acquires 300 acres from TNC at the Grand Kankakee Marsh together with remaining land options.
LCPRD acquires remaining parcels through proceeds from a General Obligation Bond Issue. (861 acres) at GKM
1978
Turkey Creek County Park Golf Course is dedicated.
Dr. Joseph Jarabek donates 38.5 acres at Deep River.
Urban and Community Forestry program was initiated.
1979
Grand Kankakee Marsh County Park dedicated - 920 acres of marsh land as the only county managed fish and game area in Indiana.
Windmill and creative play structure completed at Stoney Run.
Ninety acres in Griffith-Merrillville area is future Oak Ridge Prairie.
Implementation of Urban Task force.
The Grand Kankakee Marsh County Park is dedicated.
1980
Touchstone Trail is dedicated at Lemon Lake.
147 acres added to Oak Ridge Prairie; 4 acres added to Hammond-Whiting Lakefront; 57 acres added to Deep River.
Grant awarded by the Indiana Department of Tourism and the Northwest
Indiana Natural and Human Resources Foundation for promotion of Lake County Parks.
1981
Whihala Beach County Park and Gibson Woods Nature Preserve are dedicated and added to the park system.
LCPRD entered into inter-local government agreement with the Little Calumet River Basin Development Commission for the management of Lake Etta County Park.
Received accreditation as a first-class parks and recreation system from Indiana Parks and Recreation Association.
1982
Received 50/50 matching fund grant from LWCF for Lake Etta County Park.
Received approval for $5.5 million bond issue for park development.
$75,000 in 50/50 matching funds grant from LWCF awarded for improvements at Lemon Lake.
Adopted a five year Parks and Open Space plan.
1983
Buckley Homestead County Park opens with weekend programs and weekday reserved tours.
Oak Ridge Prairie dedicated in October.
1984
Gibson Woods Environmental Awareness Center opens at Gibson Woods.
Church building at Deep River opens as a Visitor Center and general store gift shop.
LWCF 50/50 matching funds grant awarded for improvements at Lake Etta.
1985
Boat launch ramp at Whihala Beach opened and dedicated; provides access to Lake Michigan.
Additional 50/50 LWCF grand awarded for improvements at Lake Etta.
1986
Third LWCF grant awarded for Lake Etta improvements including swimming beach, handicapped water ramp, improved fishing areas and additional parking.
Vietnam Veterans' Memorial Committee completes Phase 1 of memorial restoration at Stoney Run.
1987
Three acres acquired at Deep River with a 21' gazebo begun as part of a $200,000 matching LWCF grant.
More than 12,000 hours of volunteer service was given by the "Friends of the Parks."
1988
At Deep River County Park, two bridges over Deep River are installed, the gazebo is completed and work on a 1837 sash frame sawmill is begun
Grant awarded by the Indiana Department of Commerce Tourism Bureau and the Lake Heritage Parks Foundation for promotion of parks facilities and programs.
Dove season was initiated at the Grand Kankakee Marsh.
1989
Lake County Commissioners establish the Memorial at Stoney Run as the official Vietnam Veterans' Memorial in Lake County.
1990
Multipurpose building constructed at Lake Etta.
Lemon Lake playground is renovated.
LWCF grand awarded for development of Oak Ridge Prairie.
1991
Phase 3 of Vietnam Veterans' Memorial completed at Stoney Run.
Receives Indiana Waters Grant in the amount of $250,000 (Dingle / Johnson Funds) to construct public access site on Kankakee River at Grand Kankakee Marsh. Special design features include floating finger pier that "rides" with the 12' high and low levels of the river.
Plans for a 160 acre Wetland Restoration Project are developed for the Hog Marsh Unit at the Grand Kankakee Marsh as part of a system wide Bond Issue.
1992
Waterfowl USA and the USFWS Partners for Wildlife Program assist LCPRD in developing the 120 acre Little Hickory Unit at GKM. Ducks Unlimited proposes to redesign Hog Marsh as 270 acre Moist Soil Management Unit and finance the project via local Life Sponsors. They expand the project by 100 acres and are able to construct the project for less than the original estimate of $150,000.
1993
Bond issue passes.
1994
Indiana Grand Kankakee Marsh Restoration Project (IGKMRP) becomes the States first successful NAWCA Project and receives $1,500,000 to begin the ten year goal of acquiring, restoring and enhancing 26,500 acres within eight County Kankakee River Basin in Northwest Indiana.
1995
Deep River Waterpark opens in May.
Hog Marsh, 260 acres, seasonally flooded impoundments for wildlife management dedicated September 28 at Grand Kankakee Marsh.
The 888 acre Goose Lake Unit is acquired with the assistance of the LCPRD, IDNR, Indiana Heritage Trust, and NAWCA. (888 " acres)
1996
Buckley Homestead Museum/Farmhouse opened to public.
Whihala Beach opened at west beach area and fishing pier.
IGKMRP receives Phase II NAWCA Grant of $1,000,000 for GMK
Ducks Unlimited develops plans for a 520 acre Moist Soil Unit at Goose Lake at GKM
The Storm, three dark ride slide complex, was added to Deep River Waterpark
1997
The Little Calumet River Basin Development Commission, the US Army Corps of Engineers-Chicago District, and the Lake County Parks, groundbreaking ceremony for Lake Etta recreation enhancements.
1998
Groundbreaking for Three Rivers County Park.
Opening of the Erie Lackawanna hike/bike trail.
Construction begins at Goose Lake at GKM after 18 month permit process is concluded.
1999
Opening of Three Rivers County Park.
Dedication of the new Vietnam Veterans' Memorial at Stoney Run.
Large group pavilion, canoe launch, trail, multi-level playground added to Lake Etta.
Eighteen hole Disc Golf Course opened at Lemon Lake.
The addition of "The Dragon" speed slide at Deep River Waterpark.
2000
The hog barn at Buckley Homestead is renovated.
Administrative division and the Planning and Development division moved into a new office located on Route 30 on the Deep River campus.
2001
Construction began on the Oak Savannah Bike Trail from Oak Ridge Prairie east to Porter County.
Birding room was added to the Gibson Woods Environmental Awareness Center
Nine additional holes were added on the Lemon Lake disc golf course.
2002
Park Board reorganizes department adding two new divisions, Park Services and Visitor Services.
2003
New playground and sand volleyball courts added to Lemon Lake.
New irrigation system and reservoirs at Turkey Creek Golf Course.
County Council and the State of Indiana Local Government Finance Commission approved $30.3 million capital development plan to be repaid from the revenue based facilities and programs.
2004
Oak Savannah multi-use asphalt trail opened on National Trails Day in June. Trail head is located at Oak Ridge Prairie.
Dogwood Run, no-leash dog facility added to Lemon Lake.
Concessions building with restrooms added to Lemon Lake near playground.
2005
Deep River Waterpark nearly doubled in size in an expansion that included the addition of an interactive family play area, an action river, dueling bowl slides, and visitor amenities.
Ice Skating Plaza was opened at Deep River Waterpark from late November through February.
Conway Astronomical Observatory was added on the Buckley Homestead site.
A partnership between the Lake County Parks, the Calumet Astronomical Society and Purdue University Calumet was established to develop future programs and support facilities at the Conway site.
LCPRD acquires Cedar Creek Family Golf Center as the newest Lake County Park.
2006
Banquet Hall and wedding pergola was opened at Lake Etta County Park.
Water lines extended to Dogwood Run at Lemon Lake for no-leash facility.
2007

Construction began on Children's Discovery Play Center at Three Rivers County Park
Park Services Division and Visitor Services Division moved to the Deep River campus on the corporate office grounds
2008
Lake County Parks CEO Robert Nickovich was awarded the highest acknowledgement by the Indiana Park and Recreation Association at its annual conference in Bloomington. Named Professional of the Year, Bob was recognized for his continued service in the field of parks and recreation
The Lake County Parks also received the 2008 Outstanding Park Program Award for its popular and unique participatory theatrical event, The Legend of Sleepy Hollow presented at Buckley Homestead Living History Farm.
The department was also presented a 2008 Outstanding Special Award for the wheelchair accessible hayride wagon, which allows individuals to take a hayride without being removed from their wheelchairs. The one-of-a-kind ramp and wagon anchoring system is located in Oak Ridge Prairie County Park.
2009
Bellaboo's Play and Discovery Center at Three Rivers County Park opened on September 15, 2009
2010
Bellaboo's Play and Discovery Center is awarded Outstanding Facility of the Year by the Indiana Parks and Recreation Assocation at its annual conference in January
2011
In cost cutting moves, Wood's Mill is closed during the season on Fridays and Gibson Woods Nature Preserve and EAC is closed on Mondays, holidays year round and two weeks at the end of the year
2012
Calumet Astronomy Center at Buckley Homestead is awarded the Outstanding Facility of the Year by the Indiana Parks and Recreation Assocation at its annual conference in January
2013
One acre added to Three Rivers County Park
Three acres added to the Veterans Memorial Parkway Trail
Five acres added to Oak Ridge Prairie County Park
41 acres were donated to Buckley Homestead County Park