Now For Something Very Serious : The State of Illinois State Parks

Now, I am the least political person I know (much to the dismay of my husband who loves a good heated political debate) but this boils my blood.  Governor Blagojevich, in his budget cuts is streamlining an already too lean Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS)…I haven’t even explored that yet though because of the two state park closures that are extremely close to me and affect all of us in the Chicago Southland and beyond.  While Governor Blagojevich was enjoying the DNC in Denver his office put out notice that over 24 State sites, including 11 State Parks and 13 Areas of Historical Interest are to experience closure as of November 1, 2008.

The beautiful Gebhard Woods in Morris, Illinois (just west of the most adorable historic downtown area in our region) is one of the state parks local to us.  It’s beautiful and well worth a visit (it’s located just west of Morris’ beautiful downtown district). In my own backyard the significant to our community Channahon State Parkway (also known as I&M State Canal Park Trailhead) is also slotted for closure.

In response the community of Channahon is organizing a rally this

Monday, September 1 at 9 a.m. at the Channahon State Park


map of chan state park


Please join us in voicing your opinion on the loss of our community treasure.

Other sites scheduled for closure are:

— Dana-Thomas House, Springfield
— Lincoln log cabin near Charleston:  yes, Illinoians, you read that right.
— David Davis mansion, Bloomington
— Fort de Chartres, Randolph County
— Vandalia statehouse: our original statehouse before Lincoln lobbied to have the state capitol moved to Springfield

— State center at Bishop Hill, Henry County
— Carl Sandburg birthplace, Galesburg
— Cahokia courthouse
— Bryant Cottage, Bement
— Jubilee College, near Peoria
— Apple River Fort, Elizabeth
— Fort Kaskaskia, Randolph County
— Pierre Menard home, Randolph County

— Castle Rock State Park, Oregon
— Lowden State Park, Oregon
— Hennepin Canal Parkway State Park, Sheffield (it’s a gorgeous parkway in a beautiful out of the way part of Illinois, there’s an amazing bed & breakfast that way if you are so inclined)
— Illini State Park, Marseilles
— Channahon Parkway State Park, Channahon***
— Gebhard Woods State Park, Morris***
— Hidden Springs State Forrest, Strasburg
— Kickapoo State Park, Oakwood
— Moraine View State Park, Leroy
— Weldon Springs State Park, Clinton
— Wolf Creek State Park, Windsor

Southern Illinois’ The News-Gazette made a beautifully valid point in this quote:

Although the world will be watching Illinois in February 2009, when Lincoln’s adopted state celebrates the Kentucky-born 16th president’s 200th birthday, several sites associated with Lincoln will close, including the Lincoln Log Cabin, his parents’ last home, near Charleston, and the Vandalia statehouse, where Lincoln served in the state Legislature before Springfield became the state capital.

"It’s going to be devastating to local communities that depend on these sites for tourist revenue," preservation agency spokesman David Blanchette said.

State Rep. Bill Black, R-Danville, called the move "ridiculous."

"I think it’s a shame and disgrace to do this as we go into the 200th anniversary of Lincoln’s birthday," he said.

Though he said the governor "has a very legitimate concern in that the budget was not balanced," he "slashes with a dull ax."

"When we go back to veto session in November, we’ll try to find places where we can restore money," Black said.

What sort of legacy is Blagojevich leaving?  Not much different than George Ryan, IMO.

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