SPRINGFIELD – Illinois Department of Natural Resources (IDNR) Director Marc Miller today officially launched a new initiative aimed at using dedicated funds to make Illinois state parks great parks. During the last year, the agency has been using new sustainability funds to hire more staff and replace aging maintenance equipment at state parks. The “State Parks, Great Parks” initiative will continue the effort to rebuild the Illinois State Park System this summer with infrastructure improvements throughout Illinois.
“We were entrusted with new revenues to improve our parks through the passage of the sustainability bill in late 2012, and we are using those funds for the purposes for which they were intended. Illinois has wonderful natural beauty, and this early investment is the beginning of making our state parks great parks,” said IDNR Director Marc Miller.
Visitors at many state parks are beginning to see visual signs of improvements, including upgrades to campground areas with the addition of new fire rings, picnic shelters and park restroom structures. Visitors at many sites are also seeing improved trail maintenance.
In an ongoing effort to improve online customer service, the IDNR has made several enhancements to its website, including today’s launch of the “State Parks, Great Parks portal,” which will allow visitors to more easily find information on state parks or outdoor activities, browse through new multi-media features, or reserve a campsite. The new portal page can be found at www.dnr.illinois.gov/recreation.
In 2012, Illinois lawmakers approved a $2 fee increase on Illinois vehicle registrations which generates nearly $20 million annually in dedicated revenue for Illinois State Parks. The IDNR is using these much needed funds to begin to clear hundreds of millions of dollars in backlogged maintenance projects at state parks.