Starved Rock

Overcrowding At Starved Rock Strains Surrounding Community

May 9, 2018
Flickr User Tom Shockey / (CC x 2.0)

Illinois’s Starved Rock State Park has seen record numbers of visitors in the past few years, with more than 2.8 million people visiting in 2017. That number surpasses all but 10 of the country’s 58 national parks, and Starved Rock has become so popular that maintaining it has become extremely challenging.

Illinois DNR

Starved Rock State Park is struggling to keep up with the more than 10 million visitors that have come to the Illinois park in the last four years.

The facilities and trails in Utica aren't equipped to handle the traffic they get, said Kerry Novak, the park's complex superintendent. The park faces a growing maintenance budget that's difficult to support, he told The News Tribune.

Asian Carp Regional Coordinating Committee

Asian Carp are an invasive group of fish that can compete with native wildlife for food and habitat. The Army Corps of Engineers maintains an electrical barrier to prevent the fish from entering Lake Michigan, but the problem spans all across Illinois. 

Asian Carp were first brought to the United States through aquaculture facilities, or fish farms, as a way to deal with algae in the tanks and make the resulting product tastier. The fish farms often are placed next to rivers for water sources.

www.dnr.illinois.gov

Starved Rock State Park sees more than two-million visitors a year. It’s especially busy on holiday weekends.

Flood water reached its parking lots and is limiting the number of available spots, which means the park could quickly reach capacity this weekend and close to additional visitors.

Tim Schweizer, with the Department of Natural Resources, urges people visiting the park to arrive early.

Fire officials say a wildfire in LaSalle County is no longer burning. The situation caused road closures Tuesday and prompted warnings for people with breathing difficulties.