State Representative Avery Bourne (R-Morrisonville) joined a group of House Republicans this week in petitioning the Governor to reopen State Parks and trails that have been closed to the public since the “Stay at Home” order took effect in Illinois on March 20.
Following weeks of asking the Governor’s Office to reconsider their decision to close Illinois State Parks, Bourne sent a formal letter to the Administration asking that the ban be lifted. Referring to Illinois State Parks and trails as the “original destinations for Illinoisans to social distance, exercise and engage in recreational opportunities that improve their wellbeing,” the legislators are hopeful the Governor recognizes that these pieces of land can be used safely and will agree to lift the ban.
“It does not make sense that State parks and trails are closed, and why activities like hunting and fishing on state property are currently prohibited,” said Bourne. “Social distancing can be practiced quite easily while engaging in these activities. A one-size-fits-all approach just doesn’t work here – parks in Chicago are not the same as our parks around here. I urge the Governor to recognize that people can still be safe while enjoying some of their favorite outdoor activities.”
Bourne and her colleagues cited that State Conservation Police Officers are on duty to protect Park and trail safety. Their letter went on to suggest, “since Illinois’ was the nation’s first State Park system to fully close, we are certain the leadership can also be the first to re-open with proper social distancing guidelines put in place and executed effectively.”
State parks and trails in several surrounding states have remained open during their states’ Stay Home Orders, allowing residents to enjoy preserved natural resources while still abiding by proper social distancing guidelines. “The Governor has admitted that we are beginning to see evidence that we are slowing the spread of COVID-19 here in Illinois,” Bourne said. “The ability to get outside, hunt, and fish is vital to the people who live in our part of the state. But most importantly, the Governor needs to recognize that these are activities that can easily be enjoyed while adhering to social distancing rules.”
Click here to read the letter.