Illinois Department of Natural Resources

February 26 , 2009

Governor Quinn Reopens Seven State Parks and Restores 12 Full Time Jobs to IDNR

SPRINGFIELD - 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. Hear the announcement here.

“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.