- Associated Press - Friday, July 17, 2015

UTICA, Ill. (AP) - This year’s rainy summer has been particularly difficult for Starved Rock State Park, located along the water-swollen Illinois River in northern Illinois.

So there was plenty of work for a group of 220 volunteers who came to the park on Wednesday. The nonprofit Living Lands and Waters and agricultural company Archer Daniels Midland teamed up once again on the annual clean-up project.

The volunteers mainly worked on the campgrounds and trails, pulling invasive plants, picking up trash and trimming weeds at Starved Rock and nearby Matthiessen State Park.

With the riverside area of Starved Rock set to remain closed for the seventh consecutive weekend, park officials expect there will be more work to do when floodwaters recede. Workers likely will have to clear several inches of silt and mud from picnic and parking areas before they can reopen, according to natural resources coordinator Jolyn Wise.

Meanwhile, the park’s hiking trails, the lodge and visitors center remain open, despite the flooding. Starved Rock staff advise visitors to wear appropriate clothing, shoes, insect repellent and stay on marked trails.

While it’s not unusual for the riverbanks to overflow and spill water into the park’s riverside area once or twice a year, Wise said the recent flooding is the worst she’s seen in 13 years at Starved Rock.

The park also had to deal with record flooding caused by the overflowing Illinois River in 2013, when water nearly reached the steps of the visitors center, Wise said.

Last year, the group of volunteers helped clear downed trees and other debris after severe storms hit the area.

LOAD COMMENTS ()

 

Click to Read More

Click to Hide