Frustrated with Illinois state parks

Discussion in 'Illinois' started by sswon1, Jul 8, 2014.

  1. sswon1

    sswon1 New Member

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    I live in west central Illinois and am curious about the condition of other state park in Illinois. By me is Delabar State Park and Gladstone Receration area. Both these areas are in total disrepair. I have NEVER seen a single person in Delabar park, the grass appears to be hardly ever mowed with tree limbs down and bathroom facilities to scary to even go inside. The road is almost impossible to drive in places and it appears to be a ghost town. I will admit I have only drive out there a couples times each year for the last 4 years just to see if it looked any better. The recreation area at Gladstone did flood in 2008 and has had very little work. My husband and I drove through there a few weeks ago in hope that it was ready for camping, but is not. It had been mowed, which was a huge improvement from last year when we checked, but still totally unusable for camping. My question is to other residents of Illinois, are your local state parks like this or is this more of an issue in my area. I do realize I live in a very poor county for the state, but nevertheless, everyone here pays taxes and heaven knows we pay our share. I know the state has lots of financial troubles ( just turn the news on) but do other parks get more funding in other areas? We own a business across the Mississippi River in Burlington, IA and can only camp close to home. I really have not visited other parks because my husband can't get to far away from the store. So let's hear it fellow Illinois residents, tell me what your parks look like; better yet post pics please!!
     
  2. Strut

    Strut Member

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    It sounds like your near the NW part of the state. If you could come East a bit, over to Indiana, we have great facilities all over the place. I highly recommend Hoosier National Forestry. Looks like its about 200mi from St. Louis.
     
  3. CamperMike

    CamperMike Active Member

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    I know what you're saying about Delabar and it's a shame as it could be a very nice park. The short answer is that most of the Illinois parks I've been to are in much better shape. They've got their issues since the state is low on funds, but they are still much better kept than Delabar. Somewhat close to you might be Jubilee College state park. It's not perfect either but is in much better shape than Delabar. They have good hiking there, and a bit of fishing too. I would also check into Corp of Engineers (COE) parks along the river. There are quite a few of them and most of them are well kept.
     
  4. ErikRuud

    ErikRuud New Member

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    Compared to every other state I have been to over the years, Illinois state parks are in bad shape.

    We just came back from a six state road trip and every state park we stayed at was in better shape than almost anything in Illinois, and most were way above Illinois.

    Some parks in Illinois are better off than others. I am not sure why, but I think in some cases they have additional local support.

    Morrison-Rockwood was in good shape the last time I was there, but I remember seeing signs about "The Friends of Morrison-Rockwood" or something like that.

    Shabbona Lake is in decent shape and so was Lake Le-Aqua-Na and Starved Rock.

    Last summer we stopped at Mississippi Palisade just to go hiking and the trails were so overgrown that I think even the deer were complaining about them. Some friends of mine happen to know the guy in charge there and they told me he is currently the only full time employee at the park.

    Weldon Springs was OK two years ago, but no where near one of the "Top 20 Campgrounds in America" that their website claims.

    Illinois Beach State Park was in horrible shape two years ago as well.

    You may want to look into camping at Army Corps of Engineers camps. There are a bunch of them in Illinois and they seem to be in great shape.
     
  5. Yooperwannabe

    Yooperwannabe Active Member

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    I have no complaints about any of the state parks I have been to in Illinois, Shabbona, Weldon Springs, Clinton Lake aka Mascouten, Moraine View, Wayne Fitzgerall, Rock Cut. While I will admit they dont' quite measure up to those in Missouri,
    Michigan or Wisconsin, I still am proud of what we have here in Illinois.
     
  6. sswon1

    sswon1 New Member

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    Thanks for the tip about Army Corps of Engineers, looks like there are a few about 45 miles away :)
     
  7. nfisherman

    nfisherman Member

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    I agree with the Corps of Engineers campground suggestion. They're usually nicer and they cost less. I like Eldon Hazlet S.P. near Carlyle. It has a great family atmosphere and my kids always have fun.

    I'm also near Horseshoe Lake S.P., but I'd never camp there. It's a place that makes me think I could get murdered in my sleep. Perhaps it's the occasional drug dealer that washes up on the lake shore.

    It has been a few years, but I used to camp at Siloam Springs S.P. and I thought it was nice.
     
  8. Agfadoc

    Agfadoc Member

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    I love the state parks here in Wisconsin, I have been all over the west and the mid west and really feel that we have some of the best. Now if we can just improve our weather, I wouldn't look to go elsewhere.


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  9. Mr Zip

    Mr Zip Member

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    Send a note to the Democrat Pat Quinn. Only Kidding.
     
  10. exploreco

    exploreco Active Member

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    While I can't say I have stayed in any IL SP as bad as what you describe I do agree that they are disappointing from what they used to be. Some are much better than others. Clinton Lake Recreation Area and Weldon Springs seem to be well kept. Can't speak to many others. We just camped at Mississippi Palsasides and it is probaly one of the nicest SP in IL we have been to in a long time. We normally stay at Thomson Causeway which is an army corps up that way and there is just no comparison. It guess with IL it is frustrating with the high taxes, high fuel taxes, what ever and then you see how nice some of our surrounding states are with there parks. I would even be in support of paying a state park use fee like an annual sticket such as WI or MI. Both of those states have nice parks and the fee is maybe $30 or so annually plus camping. If we could trust that money would go to the maintenance and improvements of our parks I would be all for it. Just my two cents [emoji2]

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  11. ErikRuud

    ErikRuud New Member

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    I agree with you and have been saying the same thing for years. Illinois state parks should charge daily/yearly usage fees just like Wisconsin and Michigan and many others.

    On this last trip we stayed in state parks in Kansas, Texas, Arkansas and Missouri. They were all better than Illinois. Kansas was the best of them all, at least based on one park (Crater of Diamonds). Oklahoma's were probably better as well, but they don't take reservations so we stayed at an Army COE camp.
     
  12. CampQuinn

    CampQuinn New Member

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    I am also slightly disappointed with IL state parks. Whenever we plan a trip, we more often look to Indiana or Missouri. We have stayed at Starved Rock which was very nice. Giant City in Shawnee was not quite as pleasant as we had hoped. We actually cancelled a night and went and stayed at a hotel. We also camped at Kankakee which was nice, but nothing spectacular. I think that IL state parks have a lot of potential, I just wish they could live up to it.
     
  13. sswon1

    sswon1 New Member

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    We also have said we would gladly pay a yearly fee if the money would go for park improvement. I know at one time a few years ago there was a bit of discussion about the topic. It's sad that many of us Illinois residents leave our state and pay money to the neighboring states for camping. I still am wondering why some parks are in better condition then others. It's almost a catch 22, if the state only maintains parks that are busy some of the others that are not will never be improved. As I said in my first post I have NEVER seen anyone at the park near me, and I have drove through it on a weekend. We go to Iowa to Geode State Park, right now it does not have water or sewer, but is still 10x better then the park by me, sad.
     
  14. CamperMike

    CamperMike Active Member

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    Delabar is just not cared for... and neither is big river. I have actually stayed there, and have seen a couple staying there when I stopped in in the past. It's never busy though, and last time I stayed I was there for two nights using their electric and no one even came through to collect the camp fees...
     
  15. Bob Loblaw

    Bob Loblaw Member

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    I also think we should have a fee to use the IL state parks. We have camped at several different ones, and while they are usually not unpleasant, we definitely think the Indiana and Michigan ones are kept much nicer and always look forward to going to those even though we pay a daily fee to use them.
     
  16. Harvardroger

    Harvardroger If it feels good, do it! If it hurts, Stop!

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    We stayed at Ferne Clyfe SP in far southern IL and really liked it. Living so close, the WI SP's, county parks, and National Forests much more apeal for us than the IL parks. We have bought WI anual stickers for the past few years and they are well worth it.
     
  17. dborn

    dborn New Member

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    I couldn't agree with everyone anymore. We just got back from camping in Florida, and they are night and day difference from what we have in Illinois. We recently spent the night at Ft Massac just outside of Metropolis IL and really felt it was just run down and in need of updating. No privacy between campsites and they were stacked on top of each other. I wouldn't hesitate to spend another night there if I were driving through, I just wouldn't plan on spending the weekend. I would much rather go to MI or WI.
     
  18. ill.plainsman

    ill.plainsman happy, happy

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    Dborn; we to stayed at Fort Massic last week as we were returning from a winter long trip. I must agree it is not really picturistice . really though they are big sites compared to some places like Weldon Springs, Lincoln Trail, & Morrain View to name a few. Illinois State parks are really dumps. even some county parks are not up to date. I wish we could start a foundation or volunteer group to go around once or twice a month and volunteer in cleaning up these campgrounds. I'm a retired carpenter and I would volunteer my experiences to bring them up to better conditions. yet I have never heard of a volunteer group doing anything. either that or charge for access to the parks.
    we were all over the parks down south and they almost all charge [2C] a fee for entry. they are on the most part in much better shape. of course they have camping 10 months to 12months out of the year too. [CP]
     
  19. dborn

    dborn New Member

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    There was an article on state park funding a couple years ago and Illinois spends half as much on our state park system than Wisconsin. It's going to cost a lot of money to update the state parks and with the way things are going in Illinois, I don't forsee much money coming from the state..

    While we were camping in Florida, I read a brochere on volunteering to work at the state parks and campgrounds. It sounds like they do a lot to promote volunteering within their state park and even have "Friends of the Florida State Parks," for those who choose to donate money for the larger projects within the state park system. Not much of that is happening here. My wife and I wouldn't mind volunteering some time or money to help preserve nature.

    I don't want to be too critical on our campgrounds, because I feel for the most part they do a decent job with what they have available to them.
     

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