Senator Chuck Weaver is asking Governor J.B. Pritzker, when it is prudent, to allow citizens to use the expansive outdoor trail systems offered by our State Parks, especially now that the Governor has announced his intention to keep non-essential businesses and schools closed for another month.
Senator Weaver said the Illinois Department of Natural Resources (IDNR) should be allowed to reopen those portions of Illinois State Parks where adequate social distancing, and other safety measures, can be practiced. Weaver feels that a safe compromise could be met by closing, or cordoning off congregative pavilions and playgrounds, while leaving the trail systems open to bikers, hikers and equestrians. This request would be confined to those counties where local officials and site superintendents have indicated they believe it is safe to do so.
“We understand that this request might not be possible in all areas of the state, especially where concerns about social distancing exists. We are seeking a regional approach where residents are able to undertake appropriate, safe, and proper public health precautions. We also want to open areas where the safety of IDNR staff can be achieved,” Senator Weaver said.
The 37th District Senator says constituents would welcome the opportunity to safely hike their state park, but it would be made clear to them that state and local authorities could, and would, enforce any violations of the strict safety precautions needed to help contain the COVID-19 virus.
Senator Weaver feels that the mind, body and health benefits would boost overall compliance with the “stay at home” order as the weeks go by.
Senator Weaver reminds citizens that “an individual’s bravery about their own health can be a detriment to the health of others. We are all in this together.”