MURPHYSBORO — For the second time this week, it has been announced that Lake Murphysboro and Lake Kinkaid will be open. The announcement came after a confusing week for residents and local officials trying to keep up with the state’s decision-making.
MURPHYSBORO — Murphysboro Mayor Will Stephens was thrilled Monday to share good news with the citizens of his city. He was less than thrilled …
Murphysboro Mayor Will Stephens wrote on Facebook Monday that he had received word that Lake Murphysboro State Park and Kinkaid Lake State Fish & Wildlife Area would be reopened Friday as part of Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker’s modified stay-home order, under which the governor began easing restrictions on some parks and other recreational activities in the state. Pritzker had earlier ordered parks and nonessential businesses to close to curb the spread of COVID-19.
Stephens' announcement had to be walked back on Wednesday, though, after Stephens was told that he and others had been given bad information. Stephens told The Southern that the Illinois Department of Natural Resources kept two internal lists — one for parks to open Friday and one for parks to open some time later. The people who reported Kinkaid and Murphysboro lakes would open had used the wrong list, he said.
Stephens was not happy that he had offered his constituents hope, and then had to take it back.
Stephens was further surprised Friday when he heard residents talking about both lakes being opened, and then he got official confirmation from the IDNR.
“All is well that ends well,” Stephens said in a Facebook message to The Southern Friday. However, he was still frustrated. Stephens said in this case it seemed that bureaucracy served itself more than it did the people.
"Bureaucracy and social harmony are inversely proportional to each other,” Stephens wrote.
As for what caused the confusion this week, Stephens said he did not know. When asked about what sparked the confusion, Rachel Torbert, IDNR's assistant chief of staff for communications, sent the following response Friday through email:
"Amidst the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, IDNR is working closely with the Illinois Department of Public Health and the Governor to determine what state owned sites can safely re-open for public use. As Illinois continues to flatten, and eventually bend, the curve, we are looking forward to welcoming Illinoisans back to the state’s parks."
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