The staff of Indiana Dunes National Park is pleased to announce that one of the park’s volunteers, Rob Albrecht-Mallinger, is the national recipient of the National Park Service’s George and Helen Hartzog Award for Outstanding Volunteer Service. This award recognizes and honors the efforts of exceptional “Volunteers In Parks,” or VIPs.

Rob won under the individual category for his leadership work on making the East Branch of the Little Calumet River accessible to the public. In 2019, the park’s volunteer office partnered with the Northwest Indiana Paddling Association to create the national park’s River Restoration Crew. This volunteer crew does log jam removal, trash cleanup, and creating new boat launches to offer paddlers more than 11 miles of scenic views through some of the most biodiverse habitats in the national park.

“If you take a look around Indiana Dunes National Park you will see volunteers just like Rob serving alongside park employees and making a difference,” said Volunteer Program Manager Jim Whitenack.  “Rob has been at the forefront of the effort since the conception of this volunteer river crew program.”

Park Superintendent. Paul Labovitz, added, “There are so many ways to connect and support your local national park. Rob epitomizes what it means to be a park volunteer, steward, neighbor and friend. We are so proud of Rob and very grateful for all our volunteers here at Indiana Dunes”.

To learn more about the park’s volunteer program visit

 Indiana Dunes National Park is part of the National Park Service. More than 20,000 National Park Service employees care for America’s 423 national parks and work with communities across the nation to help preserve local history and create close-to-home recreational opportunities. Learn more at