Those visitors are inspiring, Weimer said. A couple became engaged on the trail. A 90-year-old woman completed it. A man carried his dying dog on the trail for a last big outing. A transplant patient climbed the dunes. A young boy who was on the trail put the new T-shirt over the one he was already wearing and hopped around the visitor center in his glee.
“Those are the things that get you excited,” Weimer said.
Her agency has developed a series of trails to get visitors to “knock of the sand and go out into the communities” to explore what else Porter County has to offer.
Now it’s working on a Native American trail at the visitor center to highlight the Region’s past, taking the story into the future with messages of sustainability, culture and more.
Weimer said she met with a Native American woman in her office at the visitor center to discuss concepts for the trail. The woman not only identified plants that were missing their leaves but also told how they were used in the past. That will factor into how the native plants are used in the trail.
But the Native American visitor also said something insightful: “’Everyone wants to tell our past,’ but they said, ‘We’re still here.’”
Weimer said among the possibilities for the trail would be to sell rain barrels – a key message in sustainability – but with Native American art on them, to also tell of their culture.