Sunday, September 21, 2008

Got to see it firsthand.

Was camping with the scouts this weekend at Starved Rock and we did some hiking at Matthiessen.  I have to say, as a taxpayer and fishing license holder in the state of Illinois I am seriously embarrassed for our state because of how poorly these sites are maintained and staffed...

Where do I start, well I had a bit of a problem finding the youth camping area (keep in mind I am what I think is the most visited of our state parks), so I first go to the gatehouse of the campground but there is no one there, turns out it is unmanned almost the entire day (if you camp you just put your money in an envelope and in a slot)  when I was a kid and we would camp at the Indiana Dunes their guardhouse at the campground was manned 24x7 all summer and during the weekends during the fall and spring.

So I head over to the lodge to ask, turns out they don't have a clue. It isn't their area, also they didn't offer to call someone to ask. Why bother, if the state isn't going to give a care why should the staff.

So I drove down to the park office and where the visitors center was because of flooding the parking lot was closed and there was no indication if the  visitors center was open. This became a theme for the time we were at the parks, we never got the same answer twice if the visitors center was open.

We headed back to the campground to just try and find the youth camping area, found it and life went on.  Was struck however by the one outhouse per gender for the entire youth camping area which when filled could contain several hundred campers.  Our counsel scout camps have much better bathroom facilities....  There was a small bathroom that was shared with the general campground that had running water, however if the youth camping area was full and the campground was full I can't imagine what it is like....

So we go hike at Matthiessen, and get to step over trees that have fallen (about 3 in all) that are accross the path and have been there for quite some time.  They have a really clever set of stepping stones they have built in this creek to make the hike rather interesting, that would be of course if those stepping stones were in fact maintained, so instead there are stones on their sides, some that are missing etc, so it becomes quite the challenge at points.  

At Matthiessen the parking lot was almost full so it's not a matter of the parks not getting used.

However if they get in much worse shape, what's going to be the point...  Seriously, I was embarrassed for our state.

1 comment:

Bill Baar said...

I get the same feeling walking around NIU campus.