Nature's Open, But Not State Parks

A little time outdoors might be just what the doctor ordered for your physical and mental health after being cooped up the last few days — just don’t head over to the nearest state park. The Illinois Department of Natural Resources announced Monday that all state parks, fish and wildlife areas, recreational areas, and historic sites are closed.

You might have better luck closer to home. Check with your local park district or forest preserve.

Connie Kuntz checked in Monday with Severson Dells Nature Center executive director Ann Wasser, who reminds people that getting out in nature is an excellent way to cope — and it’s free. Plus, she says, the forest preserves in northern Illinois are in good condition right now.
“It’s not quite tick season yet,” Wasser said. “We have seen them intermittently. ‘Always Be Cautious’ of ticks. Otherwise, no mosquitoes yet. Just come out and enjoy.”  Wasser says getting outside lowers cortisol levels and blood pressure, and gives people the opportunity to soak up some Vitamin D and practice social distancing.

Here’s the announcement from the IDNR:

To further prevent the spread of COVID-19, and in accordance with the Gubernatorial Disaster Proclamation issued on March 9, 2020, the Illinois Department of Natural Resources (IDNR) today announced the closure of all state parks, fish and wildlife areas, recreational areas, and historic sites as well as the cancellation of upcoming scheduled events. 

IDNR will work tirelessly with the Governor’s office and the Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) to provide information as to the schedule for safely reopening our facilities.

All Illinoisans impacted by a cancellation or closure are encouraged to call the IDNR’s Parks Administrative Information Line Monday – Friday at 217-782-6752. A complete listing of state sites can be found on the IDNR website at https://www2.illinois.gov/dnr/Parks/Pages/default.aspx or https://www2.illinois.gov/dnrhistoric/Experience/Sites/Pages/Default.aspx.

For more information on COVID-19, visit the IDPH website at http://www.dph.illinois.gov/. You may also contact the IDPH at DPH.SICK@Illinois.gov or call the COVID-19 hotline at 1-800-889-3931.