Illinois bans activities at state parks amid virus outbreak
SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) — Illinois has barred all activities at state parks, fish and wildlife areas, recreational areas and historic sites in another move to stem the spread of the coronavirus.
Colleen Callahan, director of the Illinois Department of Natural Resources, said in a statement that hunters and anglers aren’t allowed to receive refunds on state-issued permits or permit transfers due to administrative guidelines under the state wildlife code.
“We understand the problems these laws create for our sportsmen and sportswomen and are reviewing all possible solutions,” Callahan said.
With proper state authorization, people can still hunt and fish on privately-owned open properties as Illinois continues issuing restrictions to curb the virus that causes COVID-19, the Journal-Star reported Thursday.
In southern Illinois, the federal government closed Garden of the Gods Recreation Area and Bell Smith Springs Trailhead in the Shawnee National Forest.
For most people, the coronavirus causes mild or moderate symptoms, which can include fever and cough but also milder cases of pneumonia, sometimes requiring hospitalization. The risk of death is greater for older adults and people with other health problems.
Spring wild turkey season will start on Monday in the state’s south zone and April 13 in the north zone.
The state’s spring trout-fishing season begins on Saturday. Illinois sites will be stocked, but remain closed.