State Parks May Soon Begin Charging For Admission

UPDATED 03/26/12 6:17 a.m.

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (CBS) — A bill approved by the Illinois House of Representatives Monday would require state residents to pay up to $25 to enter state parks.

As WBBM Newsradio’s Dave Dahl reports, currently, only state parks with beaches carry any charge, requiring $1 for using the beach. But the money raised with an across-the-board charge would be used to help maintain state parks, which have faced years of neglect because of the budget crisis.

LISTEN: WBBM Newsradio’s Dave Dahl reports

The bill’s sponsor, state Rep. JoAnn Osmond (R-Antioch) says the budget of the Illinois Department of Natural Resources has been cut drastically over the years – so much so that the parks are no longer well-maintained.

She said of the three state parks in her district, one – the Adeline Jay Geo-Karis Illinois Beach State Park in Zion – has been closed since July because of more than 1,000 downed trees.

“This is only a user fee,” she stressed. “This is only for people who come and use the parks.”

But not all the details of the bill have been worked out.

“People who go into the park to hunt – they already have a fee for the pheasants and for the deer,” said Rep. John Cavaletto (R-Salem). “Will they have to pay a double fee?”

“What we’re understanding right now is that the fee will be for everyone, but those who take snowmobiles or fishing or whatever the case may be, would have a lesser fee,” she said.

Osmond says the plan would raise $8 million or more. It would feature an annual sticker for state residents.

Several states in the Midwest already charge admission fees to their state parks.

  • G-Lep

    “Several states in the Midwest already charge admission fees to their state parks.” So, that makes it okay? Wow! That’s freakin AWESOME!!!

  • Jim

    Several states in the Midwest also don’t pay insanely high property taxes in addition to sales taxes, registration stickers, etc. Great argument if you flunked 1st grade!

  • James

    Get rid of public aid except for the elderly and disabled. Make blacks and browns pay their fair share of taxes. Then, the state will have the money.

  • Sandy

    Then what, get charge to breath air….

  • Becky

    As someone who goes to the state parks several times a week, I am truly angered by this. First of all, these are public areas that were set aside not only as a sanctuary for the environment, but also provide wonderful opportunities for people to get out and learn a thing or two about how our natural world functions and to see firsthand how connected we all are. To charge admission for use is absurd, but it will also discourage people from visiting them. Why pay for admission to a state park if you can go to a county park for free.

  • zatso

    Another STUPID politician.

    Politicians waste all kinds of money, and again, stick it to John Q Public to pick up the tab for what should be free.

    Toilet taxes next?


  • Dan

    Illinois politicians are a complete disgrace.

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