Mt. Vernon Register-News

February 6, 2013

2 Ill. state parks lack staff to take reservations


Associated Press

— SPRINGFIELD (AP) — Two state parks in east-central Illinois are no longer taking reservations because they only have one full-time staff member between them.

Tom Hintz is the site superintendent for both Walnut Point and Lincoln Trail state parks. Hintz tells the Mattoon Journal-Gazette (http://bit.ly/WYyx0m ) that the parks are otherwise open but he doesn't have time to handle reservations as the only full-time employee between them.

The Illinois Department of Natural Resources has lost hundreds of employees over the last decade that it hasn't been able to afford to replace due to budget cuts. Many parks have also had only minimal maintenance in recent years.

Department spokesman Chris McCloud says the budget should improve this year as money from a new license-plate fee dedicated to state parks comes in.