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Blagojevich plan to close state parks meets fierce opposition

By Sean Crawford, Illinois Public Radio

Springfield, Ill. – The Governor's decision to close eleven state parks this fall is meeting plenty of opposition. Advocates for the parks have started local petition drives at many of the locations, and the Lieutenant Governor has also launched an online petition on his website.

Rachel Pfaff of Morris said she was upset when she learned the nearby Gebhard Woods State Park and others would shut down as part of the Governor's budget cutting.

"I'm just an average housewife with three kids and a husband that commutes," Pfaff said. "We can't afford family vacations. These state parks closing are a tragedy to everybody."

Pfaff said her petition drive has collected nearly 30,000 signatures.

She said the parks provide low cost recreation and education opportunities.

Governor Rod Blagojevich said closing the parks is necessary to deal with a state budget that's out of balance.

His administration says the closures will happen November 30th.

A Blagojevich spokesman confirms the governor has never visited any of the parks he's shutting down.

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