The Illinois Department of Natural Resources narrowly missed its attempt in the spring to bolster funding for state parks. Now that legislators are back in Springfield, the agency is going to try again.
Illinois is one of seven states that don’t charge an entrance fee to state parks.
A luxury DNR says the state can no longer afford. Kind-of.
It wants to charge Illinois drivers an extra two dollars for the annual license plate renewal sticker.
The agency’s Chris McCloud:
“It also acts as your pass to get into state parks. Two dollars a year for any park you want to go to for the entire year.”
The legislation would also institute a fee to use state bike trails or beaches. Environmental and outdoors groups generally back the plan.
After seeing DNR take a 50% cut in state funding, groundskeeping has fallen off and maintenance projects left undone.
As McCloud puts it, DNR’s a shell of what it was in the “glory days.”
But advocates for education and other needs are also clamoring for money … which is what caused the package to fall short in the Senate back in the spring.
The measure would also charge visitors to the Illinois State Museum in Springfield, which is now free.
Out-of-state visitors to Illinois parks would have to pay admission.