The days of Illinois state parks being free to enter could be near an end. The state House has passed a bill to charge admission to help raise money to maintain them. State Rep. Joann Osmond (R-Antioch), the sponsor of the bill, said of the three state parks in her district, one has been closed since July because of more than 1,000 downed trees.
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“This is only a user fee,” she stressed. “This is only for people who come and use the parks.” “The parks are desperate for repairs,” she added. “They need their roads repaired, they need buildings redone, they need the septic systems all refinished.” Osmond says the plan could bring in $8 million or more per year. The bill allows the Department of Natural Resources to sell an annual sticker for unlimited entry to state parks. The DNR would set the fee for that sticker and also charge separate, yet-to-be-determined fees for out-of-state visitors and hunters. H.B. 5789 passed the House, 81-29.