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DNR: Starved Rock not necessarily opening June 1

June 1 remains a fingers-crossed goal

An entrance sign welcomes visitors to Starved Rock State Park in rural Oglesby, south of Utica. The popular park hosted nearly 2.5 million visitors in 2019.
An entrance sign welcomes visitors to Starved Rock State Park in rural Oglesby, south of Utica. The popular park hosted nearly 2.5 million visitors in 2019.

Is Springfield going to reopen Starved Rock State Park and Lodge by June 1? Not necessarily, cautioned a spokeswoman for the Illinois Department of Natural Resources.

A Peoria TV station reported May 13 that park and lodge officials were hoping to open by the first of the month; but when contacted for clarification, deputy director Rachel Torbert said the agency does not, at this time, “have a set date for when Starved Rock, or additional parks within the state, will be opened.”

“However, we continue to work with the Governor’s Office and the Illinois Department of Public Health to determine which state sites can safely reopen for public use,” Torbert said. “As Illinois continues to flatten, and eventually bend, the curve, we are looking forward to welcoming Illinoisans back to more of the state’s parks.”

The park and lodge are closed through May 30 and reopening is contingent on the state reaching milestones in the effort to contain the novel coronavirus.

Amy Trimble, president and CEO of Starved Rock Lodge, has stated that June 1 remains a fingers-crossed goal.

“If we can be open on June 1, I do believe that we will survive,” Trimble stated, citing cash flow difficulties directly related to the pandemic and resulting closure. “While it will be difficult in the first several months without large gatherings, I think transient business will be thrilled to get away from their homes and come out to visit us.”

In short, she hopes to avoid what happened with White Pines Resort in White Pines State Park, which will close their doors after 80 years of service. Shaw Media reported Beth George, concessionaire for 31 years, has decided that she is not able to continue absorbing expenses with no definitive date of reopening.

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