As stay-at-home order continues, some question need for closure of state parks, wildlife areas

(The Center Square) – Turkey hunting season is underway in Illinois, but there aren’t any hunters on state-owned lands.

On March 15, the Illinois Department of Natural Resources closed state parks, fish and wildlife areas, and recreational areas in response to the COVID-19 threat.

Alex Robinson, the editor-in-chief of Outdoor Life magazine, said now more than ever people need these areas.

“They should be able to provide people with a really good opportunity to have a little bit of reprieve from some of the bad news and hardships going on,” Robinson said.

A spokesperson for the IDNR said the recreational areas were closed to prevent large gatherings when the weather warmed up. The agency will not be providing refunds for licenses, but the spokesperson said the agency was “reviewing all possible solutions.”

Robinson said hunting and fishing are activities that usually done by one or two people and rarely involve a group.

“As long as people are responsible and follow the general guidelines of social distancing, they should be able to access those lands, hunt and recreate, in ways that don’t put themselves and others in danger of COVID-19,” he said.

A statement on the IDNR website said the agency is working closely with Gov. J.B. Pritzker’s office and the Illinois Department of Public Health to monitor the situation and determine when the areas can be reopened.

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