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Governor Quinn Calls on IDNR to Reopen State Parks

Governor Quinn Calls on IDNR to Reopen State Parks

Action fully reopens seven state sites closed last year;
restores 12 full time jobs to agency

SPRINGFIELD – February 26, 2009. In another important step towards returning Illinois back to the people, Governor Pat Quinn today announced the reopening of seven state parks closed last year by the Blagojevich administration. The move is another sign pointing toward the state’s renewed focus on natural resources and recreational opportunities for its citizens especially in tough economic times.

Governor Quinn made the announcement at the Illinois Department of Natural Resources (IDNR) headquarters in Springfield alongside IDNR Director Marc Miller, and IDNR staff and supporters.

“This is a great day for the people of Illinois. State parks protect some of our most precious habitat and provide opportunities for families to find outdoor recreation close to home. These are the people’s parks and the people have the right to enjoy them in good and bad economic times,” said Governor Quinn. “The value of these open spaces is immeasurable to children, families and local communities that depend on these parks for crucial economic stability.”

Today’s announcement officially starts the process of reopening Castle Rock State Park and Lowden State Park in Oregon, Illini State Park in Marseilles, Hidden Springs State Forest in Strasburg, Moraine View State Park in Leroy, Weldon Springs State Park in Clinton, and Wolf Creek State Park in Windsor. IDNR will immediately begin the process of re-staffing the sites as quickly as possible.

“Today is another meaningful step to putting the Illinois Department of Natural Resources back on the right track. For far too long, this agency, our staff and the people we serve have been abused and broken,” said IDNR Director Marc Miller. “I want to thank Governor Quinn for acting quickly to return these great places back to the people and for recognizing the importance that outdoor recreation has in Illinois.”

Reopening these seven state sites gives back dozens of recreational opportunities including camping, fishing, and hiking to more than two million visitors each year.

IDNR sites – state parks, fish and wildlife areas, conservation areas, habitat areas, and other open spaces have a significant economic impact, especially in the state's more rural areas, bringing in non-local visitors who contribute to local economies by supporting local businesses.

  • An estimated 44 million people visit Illinois state parks and other state sites annually.
  • Those visitors spend an estimated $500 million in local economies each year.
  • That spending results in an estimated $790 million in overall economic impact supporting nearly 8,500 jobs through out the state.

Illinois residents report their favorite outdoor recreation activities include walking/hiking, wildlife watching, picnicking, bicycling, fishing and swimming- all opportunities available at Illinois state parks.

Other Resources

News Articles

Ogle County News - Parks are still slated to close; Lowden, Castle Rock scheduled to shut down Sunday, Nov. 30

WREX-TV - Bills to Save State Parks Sent to the Governor

Morris Daily Herald - Parks bills sent to governor

Chicago Tribune - Letters sent to park vendors about park closures

Bloomington Pantagraph - Governor should not delay OK of budget bill

Rockford Register Star - Conservationists want state parks bill vetoed

Morris Daily Herald – Save Our Parks

Morris Daily Herald - Fight about preserving memories, making more

Joliet Herald News - Hundreds gather at park rally

Ogle County News - Quinn says use the Web to save parks

State Journal Register - $1 million federal grant withheld

Bloomington Pantagraph - Public opinion heard, but we’re not out of the woods

WREX-TV - Senate Approves Funding That May Save State Parks

Herald News - Senate bills may save state parks

Lt. Governor Ready for Drastic Measures if Blagojevich Doesn't ... - WREX-TV, IL - Sep 29, 2008

Budget issues far from decided - The State Journal-Register, IL - Sep 29, 2008

Finke: Lawmakers continue tussle with Blagojevich - Peoria Journal Star, IL - Sep 27, 2008

Rockford Conservationists Fight to Save State Parks - WIFR, IL - Sep 26, 2008

State Rep. Jil Tracy on restoring of budget cuts - KHQA, IL - Sep 24, 2008

$1 million federal grant withheld - The State Journal-Register, IL - Sep 24, 2008

Senate bills may save state parks - Joliet Herald News, IL - Sep 24, 2008

Senate Approves Funding That May Save State Parks - WREX-TV, IL - Sep 24, 2008

RALLY: Protect The Park Hundreds gather to protest park closure -, IL - Sep 22, 2008

State parks, historical sites should remain - Rochelle News Leader, IL - Sep 22, 2008

Moraine View rally draws 1000-plus people protesting closure - Bloomington Pantagraph, USA - Sep 20, 2008

Will County Board's message to Springfield: ‘Keep state park open' - Morris Daily Herald, IL - Sep 19, 2008

Save our state parks - Chicago Tribune, United States - Sep 19, 2008

Budget-balancing act could put state in trouble with the feds - The State Journal-Register, IL - Sep 19, 2008

Vintners have state parks in spirit of wine festival - LaSalle News Tribune, IL - Sep 19, 2008

Concern over state-park closings - Chicago Tribune, United States - Sep 19, 2008

Blagojevich trying to be lovable loser - Daily Illini, IL - Sep 18, 2008

Could county take over the two parks? - Ogle County News, IL - Sep 18, 2008

Online Petition Drive to Save State Parks, Historic Sites - WREX-TV, IL - Sep 18, 2008

House restores park and other funding - Rochelle News Leader, IL - Sep 18, 2008

Fight to save parks continues - Morris Daily Herald, IL - Sep 17, 2008

LeRoy’s activist attorney sues over park closures - Clinton Daily Journal, IL - Sep 16, 2008

State Parks Delay Closing - WEEK-TV, IL - Sep 16, 2008

Updated 9/15: Lake County residents unite to save parks - Lake Forester, IL - Sep 15, 2008

Continue pressure to restore cuts, keep parks open - Bloomington Pantagraph, USA - Sep 14, 2008

Ill. park closures raise concern about wildlife - Daily Vidette, IL - Sep 14, 2008

Governor's budget cuts reach beyond closure of state parks - Urbana/Champaign News-Gazette, IL - Sep 14, 2008

House reappropriates fund for parks - Morris Daily Herald, IL - Sep 13, 2008

Hennepin Canal Parkway to close - Geneseo Republic, IL - Sep 12, 2008

Will County forest preserve officials oppose closing state parks - Chicago Tribune, United States - Sep 12, 2008

Lawmakers trying to restore cuts, save state parks - Urbana/Champaign News-Gazette, IL - Sep 12, 2008

LeRoy lawyer expects to file lawsuit Friday to stop park closures - Bloomington Pantagraph, USA - Sep 11, 2008

Passion For Two Oregon State Parks Fuels Community - WREX-TV, IL - Sep 11, 2008

House votes to restore funds for state parks, historic sites - Urbana/Champaign News-Gazette, IL - Sep 11, 2008

Groups Question Blago's Budget Cuts - WGIL Radio News, IL - Sep 11, 2008

Ax still falling on state jobs, parks, historic sites - Chicago Daily Herald, IL - Sep 11, 2008

Plans for rally going forward - Morris Daily Herald, IL - Sep 11, 2008

Kickapoo concerns dominate Vermilion County Board meeting - Urbana/Champaign News-Gazette, IL - Sep 10, 2008

Illinois history demands protection - Daily Illini, IL - Sep 10, 2008

Lawmakers begin trying to keep parks open - Journal Gazette and Times-Courier, IL - Sep 10, 2008

Petitions mount to keep Weldon Springs open - Clinton Daily Journal, IL - Sep 9, 2008

Closures will affect I&M Canal -, IL - Sep 9, 2008

Local politicians debate environmental issues - Daily Illini, IL - Sep 9, 2008

Petition Against Closing IL State Parks - WIFR, IL - Sep 9, 2008

Budget cuts to close area parks - Rochelle News Leader, IL - Sep 8, 2008

Sarley: Closing parks hurts everyone - Northwest Herald, IL - Sep 8, 2008

Illinois budget ax aimed at historic sites: What do you think? - Chicago Sun-Times, United States - Sep 8, 2008

State park, historic site closings prove puzzling - Peoria Journal Star, IL - Sep 6, 2008

LETTER: Governor's cuts all affect state taxpayers - Journal Gazette and Times-Courier, IL - Sep 5, 2008

State parks important - Morris Daily Herald, IL - Sep 5, 2008

Public Invited to Sign Petition to Support Lowden State Park - WREX-TV, IL - Sep 5, 2008

What to expect if Illini State Park Closes -, IL - Sep 5, 2008

Council approves proclamation against Weldon Springs closure - Clinton Daily Journal, IL - Sep 5, 2008

Illinois State Budget - KHQA, IL - Sep 3, 2008

Decision to close parks is called “horrendous” - Ogle County News, IL - Sep 3, 2008

Mayor looks to unite, fight - Morris Daily Herald, IL - Sep 3, 2008

Castle Rock, Lowden to close Nov. 1 - Ogle County News, IL - Sep 3, 2008

Costly park cuts - Northwest Herald, IL - Sep 3, 2008

State to close local parks and historical sites - Daily Vidette, IL - Sep 3, 2008

Weldon Springs’ closure rouses public action - Clinton Daily Journal, IL - Sep 2, 2008

ABC7: Protesters fight for state parks to remain open

Illinois historic sites open until Nov. 30

Bowman: Outdoor Notes

From Oregon to Gov: Don’t close our state parks

Governor a no-show at historic sites, parks

State lawmakers, business leaders question state park closings

Online drive to save parks started

Cutbacks may hurt areas businesses, social services

Congressman: Federal law may prevent two park closings (Land and Water Conservation Act of 1965)

Young activist works to save park

Budget cuts to close area parks

2006 National Survey of Fishing, Hunting, and Wildlife-Associated Recreation.
U.S. Department of the Interior, Fish and Wildlife Service, and U.S. Department of Commerce, U.S. Census Bureau.

Illinois budget cuts to close historic sites and parks

Visitors and workers speak out about possible state park closure

Mayor looks to unite, fight

Rally against Illini closure planned

Governor closing 24 state sites, including Kickapoo State Park

Residents begin campaigns to save Kickapoo State Park

Young activist works to save park

State to lay off 450 and close parks and historic sites

S.O.S - Save Weldon Springs rally set for Sept. 14

Rally for the canal

Other Petitions

Stop the closing of 11 state parks - petition

Environment Illinois

Stop Blagojevich Closing Our State Parks

Facebook Pages & Other Sites

Save Kickapoo State Park [1]

Save Illinois Parks

Save Illinois’ State Parks

Save Moraine View State Park

Save Kickapoo State Park [2]

Group Petition to keep Weldon Springs and other Illinois state parks open!

Stop Blagojevich From Closing Illinois State Parks!

Better Fishing Association of Northern Illinois