Illinois Mixed Bag: DNR warns that Giant City State Park has limited viewing sites for solar eclipse – Outdoor News

Makanda, Ill. — Giant City State Park is expected to be a popular viewing location for the April 8 total solar eclipse, but DNR is warning the site poses several challenges for visitors. While it expands more than 4,000 acres, about 95% of the site is forested with a limited view of the sky.

Camping is available and all sites are available on a first-come first-served basis. There are 25 class A campsites available in the main campground and 14 class C campsites available as well. There are 5 shelters, however they have already been reserved and overnight stays are unavailable. All parking spaces also are available on a first-come first-served basis. Overnight parking isn’t allowed, and parking on April 8 will be limited.

Viewing fields are available at the Giant City Ball Diamond, North Bluff Field, Horse Camp Circle Drive, and the field area of Red Bud Flats along Stonefront Road. DNR noted that once the park is full they may close entrances in order to avoid overcrowding. DNR has not scheduled an official event at the park for the eclipse.


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Sportsmen Who Visit Wisconsin Face Fee Hike

Madison, Wis. — Illinois hunters, fishermen and trappers who go north to try their luck in Wisconsin will likely be paying more for permits in the neighboring state. The Wisconsin Assembly approved a bill that would raise a variety of license fees for out-of-state residents to help shrink a deficit in the state’s fish and wildlife account. The Assembly passed the legislation 97-0, sending it to the Senate.

Wisconsin DNR estimated the changes would generate about $780,000 more annually for the account, which funds a variety of projects ranging from fish stocking to wildlife surveys.

Lawmakers raised nonresident deer hunting licenses by $40 to $200, nonresident hunting and fishing license fees by $5, and nonresident combination licenses by $20 in the state budget that Gov. Tony Evers signed in the summer.

The license increases in the bill range from a $1 increase on a nonresident two-day sports fishing license to a $5,750 increase for a nonresident commercial fishing license. The Assembly on Tuesday approved a bill that would raise nonresident bow and crossbow hunting license fees by $35 to $200, sending the measure to the Senate. The broader bill approved Thursday includes that increase as well.

At Least 300 Trees for Carlyle Fish Habitat

Carlyle, Ill.— The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers at Carlyle Lake is seeking volunteers to assist with the annual spring Christmas tree recycling/fish habitat improvement project being held March 16. The event will take place at the Keyesport Boat Ramp, starting at 8 a.m.

U.S. Army Corps of Engineers employees have collected over 300 Christmas trees that were discarded after the holiday season. These trees will be used to form fish reef structures in Carlyle Lake, which will provide breeding areas and protection for young fish. The structures also encourage growth of algae and zooplankton, two sources of food for young fish. Recycled Christmas trees make inexpensive and effective habitat for all types of fish.

Volunteers are needed to assist with the placement of the trees, helping Park Rangers build tree reefs, or by supplying boats to place the trees in the lake. These contributions will help improve the fish habitat at Carlyle Lake and ensure better fishing opportunities in the future.

For more information, contact the Carlyle Lake Project Office at (618) 594-2484 ext. 2 or email at [email protected].

Proposal to Expand Nature Preserve Moves

Springfield — State Sen. Patrick Joyce, D-Essex, introduced a measure before the Senate Judiciary Committee that would expand the Thorn Creek Woods Nature Preserve in Will County.

Senate Bill 3091, which passed the Senate Judiciary Committee and now awaits consideration among the full Senate, authorizes DNR to transfer over 10 acres of land to the Will County Forest Preserve to expand the Thorn Creek Woods Nature Preserve, located in Joyce’s district.

“The transfer of this portion of land would be a big win for the Thorn Creek Woods Nature Preserve,” Joyce said. “By acquiring more land, there would be an increased opportunity for public uses, allowing residents to further enjoy the natural resources included within.”

Lake Storey Closed After Fuel Truck Leak

Galesburg, Ill. — Lake Storey, a 132-acre Knox County lake popular with local anglers, was closed by the City of Galesburg last month after a diesel fuel truck leak on Feb. 8. In a news release, the city did not mention fishing but said the closure, which included boating, swimming, and wading, is out of “an abundance of caution.”

“To allow ample space for clean-up efforts, and proactively prevent residents and pets from exposure to any potential water contamination, the lake is currently closed to all water activity,” the news release read.

The leak happened near 3150 Log City Trail near South Lake Storey, according to officials. The city said the leak utilized large absorbent booms to help mitigate the spill.

The Illinois Department of Central Management Services hired a remediation contractor, in conjunction with the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency, to complete a thorough remediation of the spill.

Signage was posted at lake access points and parking areas to notify park patrons that water access at Lake Storey Park was closed. The closure is anticipated to be temporary.