Starved Rock State Park trails remain closed after early August derecho

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UTICA, Ill (WMBD) — Staff at Starved Rock State Park closed trails to the public after widespread tree damage from the derecho.

The park is losing visitors due to dangers lurking on the trails but staff members hope to have the park back up and running soon enough.

On August 10th, a powerful derecho charged through Central Illinois, and it’s left it’s mark on starved rock state park. The trails now damaged, remained closed to the public. Amy Trimble, the Starved Rock Lodge’s CEO, says the closure is starting to hurt business.

We’ve had a lot of cancellations these past two weeks but some of them will go and postpone for a month in advance, two months in advance.

Trimble says while crews are working to clear debris, there’s still hidden dangers.

“They’ve got a lot of the trails cleaned off as far as the actual wood on the trails, the trees on the trails. But the problem is what they call widow makers. If you look up in the trees, there’s a lot of branches that hang down, and they can fall and hit people,” said Trimble.

It’s not just trees down on the trails that’s causing problems.

“It is a mess, it is we lost probably personally lost maybe a dozen or so trees at the lodge,” said Trimble.

Briana Sparrey travelled from Chicago to Starved Rock to hike and have fun, only to find out the trails are closed.

“So, we didn’t know until the street was closed off and we showed up and thought maybe there’s still people coming here. But, obviously the lodge is still open and restaurants. It’s cool, we still got to walk around, so not what we were expecting,” said Sparrey.

Trimble hopes people will come back out once hiking trails are open.

“This is a great place to be, a great place to hike. And yeah we want you to see starved rock. We want you to see the lodge and the beauty,” said Trimble.

Starved rock staff hope to open the trails within the first week of September.
For now, if you try to walk past barricades you could be fined.

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