Parks Put On Ice

Blago closes seven in controversial budget move

Gov. Rod Blagojevich has spared four of the 11 state parks he threatened to close in a budget-cutting move, but that means seven will be shut down this weekend - and nobody knows when they will re-open.

"Even though lawmakers sent Blagojevich a plan to keep all the parks open, the governor decided to shutter seven anyway," The Southern Illinoisanreports.

Likewise, downstate NBC News 25 reports that "Even though the governor has got the money to keep them open, Rod Blagojevich decided to close them due to the bad economy and a big budget deficit."

A spokeswoman for the governor told the Kankakee Daily Journal that "You have to think about the bigger picture here. The state needs to have a budget that works. We are merely looking for ways to make reductions and still provide core services for people."

The Daily Journal says "She said she did not know how many jobs would be lost but that the Department of Natural Resources will assess staffing levels at the four state parks that will remain open." The parks that will close:

* Moraine View State Park.

* Illini State Park Marseilles.

* Castle Rock State Park.

* Lowden State Park.

* Hidden Springs State Forest.

* Weldon Springs State Park.

* Wolf Creek State Park.

The state's historic sites are scheduled to be closed as well, though the Daily Journal reports that "at least two" will be maintained by volunteer groups: The David Davis Mansion in Bloomington and Bryant Cottage in Bement.

"Others on the list to close are the Dana Thomas House at Springfield, Hauberg Indian Museum in Rock Island, Lincoln Log Cabin near Charleston, Vandalia Statehouse, Bishop Hill in Henry County, Carl Sandburg in Galesburg, Cahokia Courthouse, Jubilee College in Peoria County, Apple River Fort at Elizabeth, and Fort de Chartres, Fort Kaskaskia and the Pierre Menard Home, all in Randolph County."

An online petition to keep the parks and historic sites open claims more than 34,000 signatures.

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