Free visits to state parks could become a thing of the past.
That anyone can visit Illinois’ parks without paying a dime has long been a source of pride for the Department of Natural Resources. Illinois is one of only seven states that doesn’t charge an entrance fee.
But now the agency is swallowing its pride.
For the first time, the Department of Natural Resources is backing a measure to charge admission.
Chief of Staff Jay Curtis says as the state continually gives the department less money, it needs alternative funding.
Curtis says he understands many families are going through tough budget times, and he wants parks to remain an affordable visit.
“A five dollar to ten dollar fee for entrance – there would be people in this state that would have an effect on,” Curtis said. “But by and large just about everyone could afford that entrance. It’s still a cheaper option, than you know, going to Six Flags, or taking the trip to Florida people can’t afford right now.”
He says the department’s also contemplating other user fees to buttress its budget.
Contrary to earlier comments … Curtis says the department isn’t in immediate danger of shutting down.
But he stresses the need for extra money.