C1629551 2772 42B6 A3CA 5E7862074EBECHAMPAIGN – State Senator Scott Bennett (D-Champaign) urges Gov. JB Pritzker to rethink his decision to keep the Middle Fork State Fish and Wildlife Area closed for the remainder of the Stay at Home Order.

Bennett raised concerns in a letter to the governor after reviewing the list of parks set to reopen and learning the Middle Fork State Fish and Wildlife Area wasn’t set to reopen.

“With appropriate social distancing and other commonsense measures kept in place, it makes no sense to keep the Middle Fork State Fish and Wildlife Area closed,” Bennett said. “I urge the governor to rethink his decision and allow our communities to access this state park.”

At an April 23 press briefing, the governor announced a modified extension to the Stay at Home Order, including a phased reopening of state parks under guidance from the Illinois Department of Natural Resources.

Bennett was joined by other downstate members in sending a formal letter to the governor’s office emphasizing that many residents are feeling disconnected during the pandemic and rely on outdoor spaces to keep calm.

He believes that recreation is at risk for all Illinoisans, but particularly those who live downstate.

“Getting out to enjoy the outdoors is essential for people’s mental health and wellbeing during this pandemic,” Bennett said. “It’s important that we create a safe path for people to do things in rural areas so they can cooperate with the governor’s order.”

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