Entrance Fee in the Works for Illinois' State Parks

LOVES PARK (WIFR) -- Brenda Adami and her family visit Rock Cut State Park every year enjoying the 40 miles of trails and warm weather. Their activities may soon come at a cost however. Something Adami thinks would do more harm than good.

"This is free. It always has been free and it shouldn't be something that people can't do. They shouldn't be told they can't come into the park because they can't pay”, says Adami.

Representative JoAnn Osmond of Antioch is sponsoring a bill that would charge an entrance fee at state parks including Rock Cut. The money would be used to help maintain and repair the parks, a plan that some representatives agree with despite the opposition it's attracting.

"State parks are extremely important. People want to go, they want to visit the beauty of our parks. Certainly no one wants to pay a fee to access them. I don't disagree with that. Give us a viable alternative but there just doesn't seem to be one."

Rock Cut brings in more than a million people annually to enjoy the 3,000-plus acres the park offers. Visitors who have been coming to the park for years say many of the roads need repair. While a daily fee seems costly, some wouldn't mind an alternative way to pay.

"There's a lot of maintenance that's required in the parks and the budgets are low, the state doesn't pay a lot of money on time. I'd be in favor of a yearly pass, a sticker you could put on your windshield. I would think 25 dollars for a yearly pass would certainly be reasonable”, says Rockford resident Kathy Hoel.

The house could vote on the bill as early as March 22. No prices for the fees have been discussed either. Approximately $750 million is needed annually to conduct repairs and maintenance to all of the state parks.

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  • by T.A. Location: Rockford on Mar 13, 2012 at 05:45 AM
    Hey Brian, the state has been "double taxing" for years; look at your state income tax return. You have to report it as income the following year. Illegal? Does'nt matter...... In Illinois they do what they want
  • by Douglas Location: Northern IL on Mar 13, 2012 at 04:46 AM
    It is going to be a sad day in Illinois when you can't even take a walk with out paying for it. Way to go lawmakers you haven't me let down yet. Keep on taxing or as some of you prefer fees, us to death and soon Illinois will be the first ghost state of the country. Let's see here you want to tax strip clubs for rape crisis but that money will disappear into the state coffers, you have raised fee on drivers license and license plates, increased state income tax 100%, you have short changed school districts and want to close many assisted living places, keep up the good work, you have stolen retirement money. What else can you do? We will soon get a 2 line tax form from the government, 1. How much did you make, 2. send it in. Government in action.
  • by brian Location: machesney park on Mar 12, 2012 at 04:23 PM
    they cant do that ,they call that "double taxation" which is against the law
  • by jackie on Mar 12, 2012 at 02:37 PM
    im pretty sure that parks make a desent amout of money for what they charge for people to camp, rent things out, food they sell, renting spaces for reunions and gatherings. im also pretty sure that this is all being said out of GREED.
  • by Anonymous on Mar 12, 2012 at 02:19 PM
    thats the republicans for u they are only on office for free money by the taxpayers
  • by Bill Location: Belvidere on Mar 12, 2012 at 09:37 AM
    William, it was a Republican who proposed the law
    • reply
      by Dave on Mar 13, 2012 at 05:25 AM in reply to Bill
      This is innacurate. This was proposed over ten years ago by Dems. Do a little digging buddy.
  • by William Location: Machesney park on Mar 12, 2012 at 08:15 AM
    The Democrats have gone too far,it's time to vote all these greedy A HOLES out,I'm done paying for Chicago
  • by Rockfordian Location: Rockford on Mar 12, 2012 at 08:06 AM
    Maybe instead charge fees to out of state vehicles like other states do for their parks? Illinois residents could get in for free with this sort of plan.
  • by Tom on Mar 12, 2012 at 08:00 AM
    everyone uses the park and we cant just use it for free even tho we all would like to but you cant can have people pay for a pass to get into rock cut park becuase you would have to pay someone else to check all those passes so maybe using a toll of some sort of .50 or .75 cents and if everyone needs to pay this toll they need to get rid of those nusiance fish that are in the swimming in lake (the shads)
  • by Dave Location: Rockford on Mar 12, 2012 at 06:49 AM
    Here go the big fat lazies again. Don't figure out how to cut costs. Figure out how to make in unaffordable due to taxes. Screw the state parks, the obsertatory that big stupid glass thing by the river and all the other things that we have already paid for and they want us to pay again.
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