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11 IL State Parks and Historical Sites to be Closed!

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Dear Friends,


In yet another poor decision made by IL Governor Rod Blagojevic, 11 State Parks are slated to be closed by November 1, 2008. This announcement was made on August 28, 2008 during the Democrat National Convention when the spotlight would be on national politics instead of State Politics. The State Parks slated to be closed include Lowden-Miller State Park.


Lowden Miller State Park allows BSA Camp Lowden to use its water front property (on the Rock River) to have a waterfront so important badges like Canoeing, Rowing, and Sailing can be offered and earned. While it is not known if the Blackhawk Area Council has made arrangements to maintain its ability to use this waterfront property, it is entirely possible that it could be lost. IL Department of Natural Resources Spokesman, Chris McCloud said that park entrances would be locked and that those found on State Park property after November 1, 2008 would be charged with trespassing.


Not only is it time to tell Governor Rod Blagovech that we WANT OUR STATE PARKS OPENED! but it is time to tell him that we are tired of his political ploys. We want our government to WORK FOR US and that it has to happen now! Please spend time during the next few days contacting your State Senators and Represenatives and let them know that you want Governor Rod Blagoviech to stop his political ploys and KEEP OUR STATE PARKS OPENED!


There is an online petition at www.gopetition.com/online/21603.html Please forward this on, contact your local represenatives and State Senators, and let them know where you stand!



Will McKay


The State Parks slated to be closed, in full, are:


Castle Rock State Park, Oregon


Lowden State Park, Oregon


Hennepin Canal Parkway State Park, Sheffield


Illini State Park, Marseilles


Channahon Parkway State Park, Channahon


Gebhard Woods State Park, Morris


Hidden Springs State Forrest, Strasburg


Kickapoo State Park, Oakwood


Moraine View State Park, Leroy


Weldon Springs State Park, Clinton


Wolf Creek State Park, Windsor


Articles on the closings:

http://www.weareillinois.org/connect/newsdetail.aspx?newsid=4673 http://www.nwitimes.com/articles/2008/08/29/news/illiana/doc6c99657899b76991862574b4000b5402.txt http://www.sj-r.com/state/x499365834/SJ-R-Exclusive-Dana-Thomas-House-other-historic-sites-closing http://pantagraph.com/articles/2008/08/29/news/doc48b6e2bf7256b655654087.txt http://www.sj-r.com/time_out/x1181305401/IDNR-closing-11-state-parks-laying-off-39 http://abclocal.go.com/wls/story?section=news/local&id=3914797



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Let's start off with a very important correction. There are two "Lowdens" in the Oregon, Illinois area. Lowden-Miller State Forest and Lowden State Park (both named after Governor Lowden). It is Lowden State Park (home of the "Blackhawk" statue) that is closing. Though Lowden State Park is situated along the Rock River, there is no easy river access from the park - it sits high on a bluff overlooking the river - which is why it was chosen as the site for the statue which overlooks the river. It is also a few miles north of Lowden-Miller State Forest and BSA Camp Lowden which makes it rather inconvenient for the Boy Scouts.


Camp Lowden uses the waterfront at Lowden-Miller State Forest, which is NOT closing, and which essentially surrounds Camp Lowden. It's interesting that the Camp Lowden patch (google the camp name and you can check out the site, which has a picture of the patch on it) has a representation of the "Blackhawk" statue on it, even though the statue is about 3 miles upriver - but then again, that statue is pretty representative of the whole area.


The closings do indeed smack of a political chess move and message by the Governor to the State Legislature who passed the budget, then failed to properly fund the budget and refused any new funding initiatives to keep the budget in balance as required by the State of Illinois Constitution, which triggered the requirement that the Governor start cutting the budget to bring it in balance. It should be mentioned that cuts in the states Department of Children and Family Services was announced the same day, and that other departments are also being cut, but with less fanfare (why? Because no one cares about the other departments - but Children, State Parks and State Historic Sites have big, vocal constituencies - all the better to generate calls to local legislators).


A careful reading of the list of state parks and historic sites to close show that these are all popular parks and sites - IN SEASON - and not so popular in winter, or they have major events at some time during the year that pumps money into the local economy, or they close in the winter anyway.


Castle Rock State Park, Oregon - Closes annually in the winter anyway - trails to dangerous to walk on in winter so the parking lot and viewing towers aren't maintained anyway.


Lowden State Park, Oregon - Mostly a camping park, not heavily used in winter; however it does have an adjunct facility of Northern Illinois University which will no longer be accessible in the winter.


Hennepin Canal Parkway State Park, Sheffield - Parks not maintained in the winter - these are just a series of camping spots stretching along the Hennepin Canal.


Illini State Park, Marseilles - Popular for camping, picnicing and fishing in the summer months, not heavily visited between November and April.


Channahon Parkway State Park, Channahon - Popular for camping in season, rarely visited off season.


Gebhard Woods State Park, Morris - not a camping park (except bicyclists traversing the I&M Canal trail), looks more like a County Forest Preserve. Does hold a major Dulcimer Festival in June which pumps hundreds of thousands of dollars into the local economy.


Hidden Springs State Forest, Strasburg - Popular for camping in season, rarely visited off season.


Kickapoo State Park, Oakwood - Popular for camping in season, rarely visited off season.


Moraine View State Park, Leroy - Popular for camping in season, rarely visited off season.


Weldon Springs State Park, Clinton - Popular for camping in season, rarely visited off season.


Wolf Creek State Park, Windsor - Popular for camping in season, rarely visited off season.


Most of the 14 State Historic Sites on the list are very popular in the summer and can go for days without visitors from October to May. A notable exception is the Dana-Thomas House, a Frank Lloyd Wright house in Springfield, the state capital, and considered the crown jewel of the system. All of them do contribute quite a bit to the local economies at certain times of the year. Fort du Chartres holds an annual rendezvous which is considered one of the best in the nation. Apple River Fort holds a few events throughout the summer that are popular.


It's even more interesting to note the parks and historic sites not on the closing lists. The Hogan Grain elevator in Seneca is not on the list, and essentially closes down in the winter anyway, as do the Postville, Metamora and Mount Pulaski courthouses - none of them are on the list. Grant's Home and the Old Market House are not on the list - and they are popular year round. State parks with year round lodges aren't on the list. This points to the political nature of these cuts.


My opinion is that Blagojevic is playing this brilliantly - choosing just the right parks and historic sites to get people's attention at the end of the season and giving the Legislature some time over the winter to come up with the funds needed to re-open these closed parks and historic sites in the spring. It's a far better option than the one taken by governors of other states - closing the state parks altogether.



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According to Chris McCloud, IL Department of Natural Resource Spokesman, states "What's not included in those talks, though, are plans on how to eventually reopen the parks. McCloud said the agency won't make those plans until there's money in the state budget to pay for the parks."


Even if these state parks are not used during the winter they are important to their local economys as stated by CalicoPenn.


Personally, I am tired of Rod Blagojevic's constant political ploys, lies, and deception. Just last month he brought the General Assembly and State Senate back to Springfield for two special sessions. The first was to discuss education, where he nor Emil Jones had a agenda set or legislation to discuss. Therefore, lawmakers spent the day voting against the automatic 12.5% pay raises. Later in the month Rod Blagojevic called for another Special Session. During this one State Republicans met in the chambers and Democratic leaders headed to the State Fair.


Another point to make is that BSA Camp Lowden and the Blackhawk Area Council does use the Blackhawk Statue for part of its program. The high adventure program has started doing a hike to the statue and then a canoe trip, on the Rock River, back. The Council also offers an award for completing a hike the statue, with some other requirements involved.



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The Hennipen Canal is not just Sheffield, it stretches some 100 miles from Central Illinois to the Mississippi River. All of it will be closed. On a personal note, the troop I serve has used it quite often for canoeing.


As for the political aspects, amazingly (tongue firmly in cheek), none of these are located in the greater Chicago area. Most are in the Republican portions of the state. And the money saved will go to: funding more police in Chicago. While a worthy goal, I fail to see why somebody living in Rock Island (170 miles away) or Cairo, which is nearly 400 miles away, should be funding that.

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Why is the State paying City police officers? Shouldn't the City of Chicago be coming up with that money?


Oh wait, Gov cantrepeathisname is the best "Governor of Chicago" this state has ever had.



Edit: Typo needed correction to make sense..(This message has been edited by hops_scout)

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