Illinois Mixed Bag: DNR encouraging ‘votes’ for favorite state parks – Outdoor News

Springfield — The Illinois Conservation Foundation is partnering with DNR to raise money and awareness for Illinois state parks. Throughout June, supporters are invited to “vote” for their favorite Illinois state park by making a donation at Every $1 donated equals one vote.

There are four groups of parks based on visitation, and there will be one winner from each group. The park receiving the most votes in each group will receive a plaque with names of each donor who contributed to that park. Donations are only accepted online.

All funds raised will go back into the Illinois state parks system.

Projects will be identified by state parks staff and include things like accessibility improvements and new playgrounds. Current ICF projects include an accessible fishing pier at William Powers State Park in Chicago and a new stable at Giant City State Park in southern Illinois.

“Your donations are crucial to helping us meet the increasing demands of improving and maintaining safe, clean, and enjoyable parks,” said DNR Director Natalie Phelps Finnie.


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Ballyhooed Cicadas Should Soon Be Gone

Springfield — Cicadas that have emerged in Illinois should be gone by the end of June – the general timeline is between a month and six weeks after emergence. The Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History projected the emergence would last between three weeks and a month.

According to DNR, an adult periodical cicada’s life span is one month, and the University of Purdue predicted they would be gone in a month and a half.

The emergence of periodical cicadas may be based on a sort of molecular clock that somehow keeps track of the years, according to entomologist Gene Kritsky.

“That is what we’re looking for now,” Kritsky said in an interview with Entomology Today. “We suspect it is tied to yearly cycles of the trees they are feeding upon.”

Meanwhile, the loud trilling is the mating calls of male cicadas, according to the Nature Conservancy. An obnoxious or unpleasant sound to some humans, it helps cicadas find each other and reproduce within a short amount of time. The sound can reach 80 to 100 decibels in volume – equal to a garbage disposal, lawn mower or jackhammer.

Another ‘Weights in Fish’ Scandal Reported

Pollock, La. — There’s yet another “weights in fish” tournament cheating scandal after law enforcement agents with the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries arrested an angler in mid-May for alleged fishing contest fraud.

According to a LDFW news release, Aaron Moreau, a 38-year old Pollock, La., angler, was arrested after officials with the Sealy Outdoors Big Bass Splash fishing tournament on Toledo Bend Reservoir contacted the agency about an angler who had allegedly placed lead weights in a fish he had caught and weighed in.

When officers arrived at the lake – Toledo Bend lies on the border between Louisiana and Texas – and investigated the May 17 incident, they discovered that there were 2.59 pounds of lead weights allegedly placed in a fish that Moreau had weighed in before fleeing the scene. After obtaining a warrant for Moreau’s arrest, the subject turned himself into LDFW agents on May 23. After doing so, he was transported to the Sabine Parish Detention Center and eventually charged with fishing contest fraud, an offense that can bring about a fine of up to $3,000 and up to one year in jail, according to LDFW.

Sheriff: Illinois has ‘Firearm Regulation Crisis’

Chicago — About 114,000 Illinois residents are banned from owning guns – three-quarters of them haven’t surrendered their firearms, according to data from the Cook County sheriff.

Sheriff Tom Dart is seeking $10 million from state lawmakers to tackle what he calls in naming the report “A Firearm Regulation Crisis.” The money would train and equip more door-knocking officers to retrieve or ensure the safe storage of weapons from those who have had their state Firearm Owners Identification (FOID) cards rescinded.

The aim would be reducing the chance potentially volatile people would exhibit the type of violence seen when a shooter who wasn’t allowed to own a firearm carried out a massacre at the Henry Pratt Co. in a Chicago suburb. Otherwise, the menace of revocations of FOID cards from noncompliant gun owners will spiral beyond law enforcement’s control, the Democratic sheriff told the Associated Press in releasing the report in advance of a scheduled a news conference in late May to release his findings.

Outdoor Hall of Fame Nominations Sought

Springfield — The Illinois Conservation Foundation is accepting nominations for the 2024 Illinois Outdoor Hall of Fame class.

The honor recognizes individuals who have records of exemplary service in and commitments to improving conservation efforts and outdoor recreation opportunities in Illinois.

Some inductees touched the lives of thousands by promoting fishing, hunting, conservation, and safety education. Others spearheaded efforts to preserve or enhance fish and wildlife habitat and protect and restore Illinois’ lakes and rivers.

Selected nominees will be inducted into the Illinois Outdoor Hall of Fame next spring at the annual Illinois Conservation Foundation Outdoor Hall of Fame Gala.

Nominations must be submitted on the official Hall of Fame nomination form by July 15 to be considered. For more information, contact the Illinois Conservation Foundation at [email protected] or 217-785-2003.