Visitor overload blamed for deteriorating conditions at Illinois state park

Starved Rock State Park (Photo: WQAD/TEGNA)

OGLESBY, Ill. (WQAD) - One of the busiest state parks in the Midwest is falling apart.

Officials at Starved Rock State Park in Central Illinois say there are too many visitors damaging the grounds.

The facility sees nearly 3 million people annually. All of those visitors are literally wearing away the ground, already up to 3 feet in some spots.

"This is not a rock climbing park, it is not a water park. And yet, the people that are climbing these rocks are not only risking their lives, but they are literally destroying this park," said Pam Grivetti, President of the Starved Rock Foundation.

In response to the damage, officials are closing off trails because of erosion in an attempt to preserve what is left.

"The park is literally being destroyed by too much foot traffic," Grivetti said. "If we were a national park, which we aren't, we would have ranked 11th in the national park attendance system."

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