Flooding at Starved Rock limits parking, could force temporary closures

UTICA, Ill. — Starved Rock State Park and Matthiessen State Park may close Memorial Day weekend due to safety concerns, according to the Illinois Department of Natural Resources.

Flooding of the Illinois River this spring has caused Starved Rock's main lower parking area near the visitor center to be closed, which limits the amount of parking spots available. Visitors can park in Starved Rock's overflow lot, but there are only 300 parking spots available.

Officials said visitors cannot park along park roads or public highways and will be towed at the owner's expense.

“State park staff and IDNR Conservation Police Officers will monitor and direct traffic, and we encourage motorists to slow down, be patient, and follow instructions in and near the park,” Jerry Costello, director of the IDNR Office of Law Enforcement, said in a statement.

The agency also said the Starved Rock and Matthiessen trails are open but are extremely wet and muddy.

The heaviest traffic congestion and likely times for park closures occur on weekend days between 11 a.m. and 3 p.m.

Visitors can check the IDNR Facebook and Twitter feeds for updates on traffic delays and parking closures at both parks.

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