The vendors that provide trash removal and electricity service at Horseshoe Lake haven’t been paid and they’ve shut off service, and that’s why the state Department of Natural Resources is indefinitely shutting down the park, according to a spokesman for the agency.
According to Chris Young, an IDNR spokesman, Horseshoe Lake owes providers $3,504.52 for trash service and $829.58 for electricity.
“The providers of electrical and trash removal have shut off service to Horseshoe Lake and Ramsey Lake,” Young said. He did not provide the names of the service providers, but said electricity will officially be shut off Monday while trash service has already ceased at the park.
The providers of electrical and trash removal have shut off service to Horseshoe Lake and Ramsey Lake.
Chris Young, spokesman, Illinois Department of Natural Resources
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Without services and a state budget, IDNR decided to close the state park indefinitely. Horseshoe Lake is set to close Monday. Electricity at the park will also be shut off Monday.
Young said the park sites and fishing at the lake will be closed off to the public “for safety and security reasons.” After Monday, entrance roads at the state park will be gated, Young said.
Horseshoe Lake State Park had 237,708 visitors in 2015, according to data shared by IDNR. Young said the park collects about $9,500 per year in camping revenue.
State Sen. Bill Haine said Thursday he’s “frustrated” that IDNR is indefinitely closing Horseshoe Lake State Park due to the state’s budget impasse. Haine’s 56th Senate District covers Horseshoe Lake, which is in the Granite City and Pontoon Beach area.
“I am troubled and frustrated to hear about the closing of Horseshoe Lake State Park,” said Haine, an Alton Democrat. “This great state park is a source of recreation for many people throughout my district. This is a prime example of how the budget impasse is trickling down into the facets of people’s everyday lives.”
He added, “We need to fix this issue and we need to fix it now.”
This is a prime example of how the budget impasse is trickling down into the facets of people’s everyday lives. We need to fix this issue and we need to fix it now.
Sen. Bill Haine, D-Alton
Fishermen at Horseshoe Lake on Thursday had the same sentiment.
Washington Park resident Dan Hill, a retiree, said he fishes there just about every day, and isn’t sure where he’ll go instead to fish.
“That’s a good question. I don’t want to sit around the house. I’m going to have to drive farther,” Hill said. “I come here because it’s convenient, doesn’t cost a lot to come out here to catch a fish.”
He said state lawmakers “need to get that money together, because you’re hurting a lot of people. A lot of guys out here are retired, they’ve got nothing else to do, either — that’s why they come.”
Allen Echols, a retiree from Belleville, said he used to look at the Horseshoe Lake fishermen when he drove to work.
“I’d say, ‘Hey, that’s what I want to do when I retire,’” Echols said. “So I’m out here, and what do they do? They turn around and close the lake.”
So I’m out here, and what do they do? They turn around and close the lake.
Allen Echols, fisherman
Fisherman Tommy Watkins of St. Louis said closing the park will also hurt others who enjoy the outdoors there, such as picnickers and hunters.
IDNR also announced Wednesday that it would also close the recreation area at Ramsey Lake near Ramsey. Ramsey Lake is being closed due to termination of electrical service.
IDNR had no explanation for why the shutoffs are happening at Horseshoe Lake and Ramsey Lake but not other IDNR sites.
There was no estimate of when either site would reopen. In a news release issued Wednesday, IDNR said the agency “intends to reopen these parks as soon as services are restored.”
Camping at Horseshoe Lake was to begin May 1, but will not open on that date. IDNR will contact people with camping and shelter reservations to work out other arrangements or refunds.
Ramsey Lake campgrounds and picnic shelters were open at the time of the closure. IDNR will contact campers with reservations to work out other arrangements or refunds.
Ramsey Lake collects about $88,000 per year in camping fees.
Ramsey Lake site staff will report to Coffeen Lake State Fish and Wildlife Area. The phone number is (217) 537-3351. Horseshoe Lake staff will report to Frank Holten State Recreation Area. The phone number is (618) 874-7920.
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