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Heartland Outdoors

Visitors to Starved Rock Should Watch for Crowd Updates on Social Media over Holiday Weekend

Mon, June 27, 2016

UTICA, IL – Travelers planning a trip to Starved Rock State Park near Utica over the Fourth of July weekend are asked to stay informed on park crowds by monitoring Illinois Department of Natural Resources (IDNR) Facebook and Twitter feeds. During the Memorial Day weekend, the park received 94,000 visitors, pushing the park to capacity and causing a temporary closure when parking lots overflowed.

For regular updates, visit the IDNR Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/Illinois-Department-of-Natural-Resources-101691346567146/ or Twitter feed: https://twitter.com/IllinoisDNR or follow @IllinoisDNR.

“We want the public to enjoy their experience at the park, while following the rules,” said Rafael Gutierrez, Chief of the IDNR Office of Law Enforcement.  “Illinois Conservation Police Officers will be patrolling the park, and will issue tickets to anyone violating park rules. We also ask hikers not to litter, and to pack out everything they bring into the park.”

“Starved Rock is not only a gem for our district, but for the state and the Midwest,” said State Sen. Sue Rezin (R-Peru), whose district includes Starved Rock. “It’s important we keep it that way through cleanliness, conservation, and responsible behavior to ensure public safety. July 4 weekend is always a busy weekend. I encourage visitors to please take it easy, be respectful of each other and the site itself, and be prepared for crowds. If you are thinking about visiting Starved Rock July 4 weekend, I would encourage you to check out IDNR’s Facebook and Twitter pages as they will provide real time updates of attendance, parking, and weather.”

Conservation Police will strictly enforce the following safety rules:

• Possession of alcohol on trails
• Entering restricted areas
• Hiking off trails
• Climbing rock walls and cliffs
• No Swimming
• Defacing sandstone walls with paint or etchings
• Littering
• Being on trails after dark

St. Peter Sandstone in Starved Rock can crumble and be slippery when wet. Every year, several park visitors are severely injured in falls. Conservation Police ask hikers to please stay on trails.

If the park reaches maximum capacity (meaning no parking spaces remain), the park may be closed for safety reasons until parking becomes available. People are reminded not to park along park roads or public highways. This may prevent emergency vehicles from getting through. Vehicles parked illegally will be towed at the owner’s expense.

Lodge and wedding guests, as well as people with brunch reservations, will be allowed to enter the park. Lodge parking will be restricted to lodge patrons with reservations.

Visitors arriving from the east on Interstate 80 should consider taking an alternate route to the park. Travelers can exit prior to Utica at Ottawa, cross the Illinois River and approach the park from the east on Illinois 71. Motorists also can exit southbound on Interstate 39 and take the Illinois 71 exit at Oglesby. Visitors should have alternate plans in the event that the park has been closed temporarily when they arrive.  For more information about Illinois State Parks in your area, visit: http://www.dnr.illinois.gov/parks/Pages/default.aspx .


On Memorial Day weekend, traffic trying to get into Starved Rock was backed up onto I-80, cutting it down to one lane on I-80 West for well over a mile.  Nothing like viewing nature in bumper to bumper traffic!

Posted by riverrat47 on June 28

Hopefully all those going who plan on drinking, littering and spray painting gang signs read the DNR Notice.

Posted by BIGPOND on June 28

Under funded, overcrowded state park, with a chance of getting ticketed, now that should really bring in the people.


Posted by Ringtailtrapper on July 01

We now have to check in on facebook before going to the park, what the hell as become of our state parks ??

Posted by Ringtailtrapper on July 01

Trapper, nothing new there, an easy drive from Chicago area.  I’ve spent time around that area for 25 years and it’s always been a zoo on holiday weekends, exasperated now by lack of staff. 
One warm Presidents Day, about 20 yrs. ago, I counted 125 vehicles & boat trailers at the Starved Rock ramp; the vast majority brandishing dealer stickers from the Chicago area.  Chicagoans and suburbanites are starved for the ‘WILD’ experience (pun intended).
Annually, I’ll spot a handful of hikers, decked out like an Eddie Bauer cover, full backpack slightly smaller than a VW, packed with essential items and food for wilderness survival.  I always hope that they are just training for a real wilderness outing, but I suspect that this is ‘The Wilderness Outing’ for some of them.  Thankfully, they survived.

Posted by riverrat47 on July 02

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