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Idea of park fees moves forward

Tue, 27 Mar 2012 10:12:14 CDT

State parks may no longer be free destinations. The Illinois House approved a measure that would allow the Department of Natural Resources to charge a annual fee. Republican Representative JoAnn Osmond of Antioch says there's no set amount, but she expects the annual fee will be about 25 dollars:


"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 says during storms, one thousand trees fell at the Adeline Geo-Karis State Park in Zion ... damage that makes it an unsafe place to visit. The Department of Natural Resources can't keep up with all the repairs it needs to make after years of continued budget cuts. Republican Representative Don Moffit of Galesburg says the measure will allow those who care about nature and wildlife to ensure that 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."

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.

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