Starved Rock State Park


Starved Rock State Park will face crowds and intermittent closures this Memorial Day weekend. 

The park already receives many visitors at this time of year, but IDNR spokeswoman Rachel Torbert says recent flooding has put their main parking lot under water.

“About 650 fewer parking spots this Memorial Day Weekend, which means an already busy weekend with quite a few patrons visiting the park is going to be even busier with travel delays and possible closures when parking fills up at the park,” she said.

Starved Rock State Park

A bill to impose a parking fee at Illinois’ most visited state park fell one vote short of passage in the Illinois Senate April 11. But the lawmaker behind it said she’ll keep trying because the need for the revenue is still there.  

Guy Stephens

Two of Illinois’ most popular parks are getting bigger --- a lot bigger.  

The state is buying more than 2, 600 acres next to Starved Rock and Matthiessen State Parks from Lone Star Industries, Inc. The partially restored land had been used for mining, first coal and later limestone, since the early 1900s.

Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner said the purchase will enhance the parks’ appeal.

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.

Starved Rock State Park

Conservation police are expected to issue a record amount of tickets at Starved Rock State Park.  

The LaSalle News-Tribune reports the previous record was 1,484 tickets in 2014.  Now, officials say they're  on pace to issue 1,568, more than three times the total in an average year.

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.

Illinois Department of Corrections /

Update: The Illinois Prisoner Review Board again denied parole for Chester Weger at its hearing this morning. The vote was 9 to 4.

The man serving life in prison for the notorious “Starved Rock Murders” half a century ago had his annual date with the Illinois Prisoner Review Board.

Life in prison meant something different back in 1961: freedom was possible someday, if the state’s Prisoner Review Board decided you were no longer a threat to others.


Illinois governor Pat Quinn announced a 51-acre expansion to Starved Rock State Park. The land will provide additional wildlife space and serve as a buffer to protect the park.

The project is funded by the Illinois Jobs Now program created by Quinn.