- Three female fugitives wanted in New Jersey restaurant theft arrested in Illinois
- Man guilty in 2012 crash into home that injured 8-year-old
- McDonald’s: Federal complaint says company is joint employer
- T-Mobile settlement: $90M for cell phone bill cramming
- Shelter Care Ministries gets $30,000 grant
- Even more dead bees?
- Holiday travel: 98.6 million plan getaway, most on record
- Scam artists posing as utility reps, demanding payment
- Holiday mailing deadlines approach, Rockford Post Office warns
- Hispanics more than half of all renters, yet most are uninsured
Starved Rock concessionaire: Admission fee for state parks would be devastating economically
By Kathy Casstevens-Jasiek
Director of Marketing, Starved Rock Lodge
UTICA, Ill. — Keeping Illinois parks open to the public and free of charge is a major concern of Terry Cross, who has been the concessionaire at Starved Rock State Park in Utica, Ill., for the past 23 years.
Illinois House Bill 5789 authorizes the Department of Natural Resources (DNR) to charge a vehicle admission fee for residents to use our state parks and lands.
Illinois State Park funds have suffered from years of legislative sweeps, yet this bill would not be exempt from a sweep. Many factors have led to the DNR budget crisis, but Cross believes paid admission is not the answer.
Iowa, Missouri, Kentucky, Tennessee and Ohio have no park entrance fees. Iowa and Tennessee had park fees, but discontinued them. In 2003, the State of Washington enacted a $5-a-day parking fee, and admissions dropped 68 percent the following year.
Cross has studied other state’s policies and found that “Park attendance will drop dramatically and the economic impact could be devastating for the 324 parks and public lands in Illinois, local communities, business owners dependent on park traffic as well as on tourism in the state of Illinois.”
Furthermore, park fees could be considered a way to discriminate against low-income families.
In an effort to make the public and legislatures aware of the pitfalls of this proposal, Cross has submitted recommendations for their review.
“It’s important for the public to know that free admission to the parks may no longer be available,” Cross concluded.
Posted April 12, 2012