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Illinois Might Charge State Park Entry Fee

Storm damage at Argyle Lake State Park in McDonough County

The Illinois House approved a measure that would allow the Department of Natural Resources to charge an annual fee for admission to state parks.

Representative JoAnn Osmond (R-Antioch) said the legislation does not spell out how much should be charged, but she expected the annual fee will be about $25.

"You will purchase a sticker, the sticker will be on your car, and you can go in and out of the parks a thousand times if you wish in one year," Osmond said.
Osmond said 1,000 trees fell during storms at the Adeline Geo-Karis State Park in Zion, which makes it an unsafe place to visit until cleanup can be completed. But the DNR can't keep up with all the repairs it needs to make after years of continued budget cuts.

Representative Don Moffit (R-Gilson) said the measure will allow those who care about nature and wildlife to ensure they have recreational areas.

"No one likes to vote for a fee increase but if we believe in having parks, having them open, having them safe, then we need to do this," Moffit said.

Opponents are concerned visitors' fees won't be evenly distributed across the many parks in Illinois. They also worry that as the state continues to face budget troubles, the money coming in from park fees will be used for other purposes.

Thanks to Illinois Public Radio


Rich is TSPR's News Director.