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Flying Site - Warren Dunes / Indiana Dunes
11-16-2012, 12:42 PM,
#1
Flying Site - Warren Dunes / Indiana Dunes
Guys, Indiana has a couple of good soaring sites that need to be added to your Flying Site list; Warren Dunes State Park, and Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore (Mount Baldy). Warren Dunes supports west to WNW winds and Mt. Baldy is more NW, both are sand/beach soaring sites. Warren Dunes has a long history of hang gliding and paragliding going back to Rogallo times. Soaring flights can easily last for hours. The dune is scattered with small bits of twigs and debris, and could use a bit of clean up, and there are a number of dry nasty looking dead trees near the top that would love to snag your lines, but you can launch low and bench up easily. The landing areas are huge and sandy. There is a lake/land mass effect that tends to correct wind currents slightly so sometimes if the weather report is marginal, a look-see is indicated. During the winter there is are no park rangers, but if they are working, then you must show your current USHPA membership, and sign a liability waiver. If you go, be an ambassador of PH/HG and create goodwill with the rangers/visitors to keep this site open for the next guy. Contacting the ranger's office for a group gathering and trash pickup might endear the Kentuckiana Soaring Club to the rangers, and improve the site for launch. I fly there regularly (grew up nearby) and have never had a problem. Camping available, or inexpensive hotels are nearby.

Concerning the Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore (Mount Baldy), I have never flown there, but see pictures of paragliders on the dune, and it looks like a good site for NE winds. To fly at Mt. Baldy would require an enterprising club member to contact the park headquarters and renew the special use permit. The website, http://www.nps.gov/indu/planyourvisit/permits.htm , reports that the HG/PG special use permit has been suspended: "Due to ongoing dune restoration efforts, flight permits are suspended. New permits are not available and current permits are suspended. We will post updated information as conditions change." I don't understand why this is, since pilots fly above the dune, and do not typically drag around on the ground. Maybe fledgling pilot got hung up in a tree and scared the admin. Regardless, this would be a good opportunity for an ambassador of the Kentuckiana Soaring Club to reach out to the park administrators and regain a lost Indiana PG/HG site.

Comments?
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11-17-2012, 02:45 AM,
#2
Flying Site - Warren Dunes / Indiana Dunes
There is already a group working to the end of reopening Baldy. I believe it is the Chicago Hang Gliding group and they have been actively pursuing that every since the new administrators there closed it down. They even have a website dedicated to the cause. I'll try to find the website and link it back to here. Peter Birren is occasionally on this list and may be able to shed some light on this topic if he sees this thread. It is a very worthwhile cause since Octave Chanute tested at least some of his early gliders on that same chunk of sand! So it could even be said that we were there even before the park system....
I fly because it releases my mind from the tyranny of petty things. Antoine de St. Exupery
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11-18-2012, 03:44 AM,
#3
Flying Site - Warren Dunes / Indiana Dunes
I must have been wrong about the website, I've searched back through the ChicagoHangGliding yahoo group and can't seem to find anything about a website. I must have made that up in my head!? Angelo Mantis and Mike Van Kuikin? of that group were the ones going and meeting the park super, I believe his name was Bremer. I certainly don't know what if anything they were able to discuss with Bremer or what conclusion was reached, but would hate to get into anything that I'm not fully up to date on. I'm not sure if the USHPA was ever contacted to help with the negotiations or not, but that would be my thought...
I fly because it releases my mind from the tyranny of petty things. Antoine de St. Exupery
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11-18-2012, 08:36 AM,
#4
Flying Site - Warren Dunes / Indiana Dunes
I remember there was a huge initiative through USHPA and I actually got a letter (don't remember if snailmail or an email) urging us to write a personal letter to the State park superintendent asking him to allow HG/PG activity. It didn't work, obviously. I, too, do recall a website, maybe since the effort was fruitless it was taken down.
"I saw on this nature show how male elk douses himself with urine to smell sweeter to the opposite sex. What a coincidence!!" ~Deep thought by Jack Handey
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11-20-2012, 10:30 PM,
#5
Flying Site - Warren Dunes / Indiana Dunes
Kim. You did not hallucinate. There is indeed a website at hanggliding.org that talked about the Chief Ranger single handedly, like a dictator, closing Mt. Baldy arguing about erosion. Hang glider pilots did make a stink and it is totally unfair to blame hang gliders for erosion when all the people visiting the site and running up and down the hill do more damage: we only take off. Anyway, here is the web site:

http://www.hanggliding.org/viewtopic.php?t=22863

I don't know what we can do about it except suing the government for discrimination, as hang gliders pilots are no more prone to creating erosion than any other visitor. Mt Baldy was the only natural hang gliding site in the entire State.

That said, we still have Warren Dunes, my favorite site in the Indiana region. It deserves to be put on our web page. Laura, from Hang glide Chicago is a lawyer who just got her boards. She is also a H 2 pilot. Maybe we could ask her.
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11-21-2012, 06:41 PM,
#6
Flying Site - Warren Dunes / Indiana Dunes
Speaking of Warren Dunes. Friday looks like it could be "Legendary". NW at 25, but only 37 degrees temperature for the high. Not that I can go.

Kent
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