Home of Oregon Icon Will Close - WREX.com – Rockford’s News Leader

Home of Oregon Icon Will Close

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Lowden State Park in Oregon is one of 11 parks in Illinois that will close November 1. Lowden State Park in Oregon is one of 11 parks in Illinois that will close November 1.
"You can't find in other parks, what you find in this park. This park has history. We talk about Indians. They go on trails that Indians might have made," said Piccirilli. "You can't find in other parks, what you find in this park. This park has history. We talk about Indians. They go on trails that Indians might have made," said Piccirilli.

By Samantha Ptashkin

OREGON - A state park that holds a symbol of Ogle County is set to close November 1.

Lowden State Park is one of eleven parks in Illinois in trouble because of budget cuts. It's where the eternal Indian called Blackhawk Statue is and it's been there for almost a century.

The Piccirilli family brings their grand kids to see Blackhawk Statue every year. The legend goes that Chief Blackhawk talked of the beauty on this site along the Rock River, but pretty soon visitors like The Piccirilli Family won't be able to share in the beauty at Lowden State Park. "I don't support that. This is a great park for kids and adults. Its great for the summer time, it's great for the fall, it's just a great place to be," said Robert Piccirilli.

The decision to close the parks comes after the state reduced the Illinois Department of Natural Resources budget by $14 million. 39 people who work for state parks will lose their jobs, six of those people currently work at Lowden. Park maintenance will be left to one supervisor. Lowden generates about $50,000 in sales tax for Oregon every year. "Our major industry, beginning August 15, is tourism in this area and the draw is multiplicity, not because there's only one or two parks but because there's four," said Marcia Heuer, Director of the Oregon Area Chamber of Commerce.

Nearby Castle Rock State Park is also on the list to close. Even though Illinois still has more than 300 state parks, people say some like Lowden can't be replaced. "You can't find in other parks, what you find in this park. This park has history. We talk about Indians. They go on trails that Indians might have made," said Piccirilli.

The IDNR based its decision on which parks to close by looking at their sizes, popularity and how close they are to other parks.

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