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House OKs state park entrance fee bill

March 27, 2012 at 11:14 AM

The State Journal-Register

The state of Illinois could begin charging entrance fees at state parks under a bill approved by the House Monday.

The House voted 81-29 to allow the Department of Natural Resources to develop a fee plan for state parks. The bill, HB 5789, does not set out a fee structure.

“It’s very difficult for members to vote for a fee,” said Rep. JoAnn Osmond, R-Antioch, sponsor of the bill. “We want to keep our parks open.”

DNR officials have told lawmakers that budget and staff cutbacks over the last decade have left the department woefully short of money to keep up the parks. DNR’s budget has been cut by $58 million over the last decade and its staff reduced by more than 1,000 positions.

Osmond said the fees could raise $8 million to $9 million a year. The money would be used for park maintenance.

As envisioned now, people could buy stickers to enter parks on a daily, weekly or yearly basis. The price of the sticker would depend on the length of the stay.

“Everybody who uses the park will have to get a sticker,” Osmond said. “If we don’t have this fee, we are going to have parks close.”

Some lawmakers said hunters already pay to hunt on state land. Osmond said in those cases a reduced hunting fee might be in order.

Other lawmakers said they feared that fee money might get siphoned away for other state expenses and not used for parks maintenance. Osmond, though, said money borrowed from the maintenance fund for other purposes must be repaid with interest.

The bill now goes to the Senate for consideration. Gov. Pat Quinn has already expressed support for the idea.

Doug Finke can be reached at 788-1527.

Your CommentsComments :: Terms :: .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)

I don’t see what is wrong with a vehicle sticker
or a $5.00 entrance fee. Other states have done it
for years. User taxes don’t unfairly impose on the
general public. It might discourage slobs and vandals also, as well as help pay maintenance costs.

Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) on 03/27 at 05:37 PM

Hopefully, this is still in the bill.

*Vehicles with environmental or sportsman series license plates would be exempt from fees. Environmental plates brought in $1.1 million in fiscal 2010. Sporting series plates generated $260,000.

Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) on 03/27 at 09:16 PM

orioninil: the bill’s language currently does not include an exemption for special license plates. It does give DNR wide latitude to establish the rules regarding the fees. You can read the whole text here: http://ilga.gov/legislation/fulltext.asp?DocName=&SessionId=84&GA=97&DocTypeId=HB&DocNum=5789&GAID=11&LegID=66278&SpecSess;=&Session;=

Posted by Chris Young on 03/27 at 09:29 PM

The money I pay for my fishing license goes into the DNR coiffers and so directly supports our state parks.
So why shouldn’t ALL of the people that use our state parks (joggers, cyclists, pic-nikers, littering drinkers) pitch in just like fisherman and hunters do?
Michigan (for ONE) has a very successful state-park fee program.

Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) on 03/27 at 10:01 PM

I think it does if they drive there car into the park.Is that correct?

Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) on 03/28 at 09:18 AM

Michigan has a license plate check-off, that allows motorists to add $10 to their annual registration renewal. Much like how I now add $25 for e-plates. The renewal sticker has a “P” on it, to show the driver has paid the fee. They rely on spot checks in parking lots for compliance.

Posted by Chris Young on 03/28 at 09:59 AM

Sheep….keep jumping through the hoops and obey your democrat masters. WHY THE HECK are you for fees? Do you enjoy more taxes as well?....wake up. They wouldnt need to do something like this if they would just take the DNRs money back OUT of the general fund. But instead they label it for the lemmings to agree to it….way to go fools, keep falling for thier scams. Wait till this goes through and they have more money to spend for chicago basketball courts…..they’ll come up with a new “fee” for you to go along with…......

Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) on 03/28 at 08:45 PM

Ronbo - I agree 100%

Ever since the DNR was “swallowed up” and became the Department of Conservation, things have gone downhill.

Daley had his hands in that.
Much of the hunters and fisherman’s license and tax dollars were taken out of the “pool” to pay for Chicago bike trails.

Bicyclists added NOTHING the “the pool.”

Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) on 03/28 at 11:02 PM

Amen Ronbo Ever time we turn around the state needs more money.I was going down the road the other day and saw about 7 or 8 state workers standing by the state truck. I think they were supposed to be working. But remember the boys down in Springfield got to keep thier brother in laws working.Allot of folks these day don’t even have a job but Tax, Fees,and the list goes on.

Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) on 03/29 at 08:29 AM

The numbers never add up. If they lost 58 mil over 10 years, how did they get 750 mil behind on repairs? Or Am I reading it wrong? It is hard to trust any one when you have part workers in the state getting double pensions. There are 8,054,232 licensed drivers in the state, If we all kicked in 94.00 they could get 750 million. I tried to google numbers for hunting fishing licenses and could not get the numbers. I would gladly pay $100.00 over 10 years if it would help keep parks open! ButI also think out of state outfitters should stay home!

Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) on 04/04 at 04:24 PM

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