Two of Illinois' most popular state parks will remain closed at least until Monday after heavy storms downed trees, blocking roadways and trails.
The Illinois Department of Natural Resources said Starved Rock State Park in Utica and Matthiessen State Park in Oglesby will remain closed until clean-up is complete.
Both parks were hit when heavy rains and winds between 80 and 100 mph ripped across northern Illinois and other parts of the Midwest on Monday. The National Weather Service has confirmed 14 tornadoes touched down in the state during the rare storm known as a derecho.
Von Bandy, director of the Office of Land Management for the Illinois Department of Natural Resources, said both parks sustained “a significant amount of damage," mostly from downed trees and limbs.
While trails, picnic and fishing areas and the boat ramp are closed, the Starved Rock Lodge and Conference Center and the campground at Starved Rock State Park remain open.
In a Facebook post Wednesday, park officials said tickets will be issued to people trying to sneak into the park or parking along roadsides to gain access. They said those vehicles will be towed at owners' expense.