Chicago outdoors and coronavirus updates: East Chicago Marina, Kentucky, Willowbrook Wildlife Center

Updates come for travel restrictions to Kentucky, the partial reopening of East Chicago Marina and restrictions on Willowbrook Wildlife Center.

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With the partial reopening of East Chicago Marina on Saturday, boaters will have another option for reaching such traditional spots for spring fishing on southern Lake Michigan. Credit: Dale Bowman

With the partial reopening of East Chicago Marina on Saturday, boaters will have another option for reaching traditional spots for spring fishing on southern Lake Michigan.

Credit: Dale Bowman

Updates come for travel restrictions to Kentucky, the partial reopening of East Chicago Marina and restrictions on Willowbrook Wildlife Center.

First Kentucky. If thinking of heading to Kentucky for your annual spring fishing trip, you probably have already reconsidered. If not, be aware of the restrictions on non-residents.

Here is the key paragraph for non-residents in the Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife Resource’s “COVID-19’s Effect On The KDFWR”:

Non-resident hunters, anglers and boaters, please be aware that Executive Order No. 2020-266 limits unnecessary travel to Kentucky. The order requires all non-residents who are traveling to Kentucky and staying to self-quarantine immediately for 14 days upon arrival. Non-residents should also be prepared to follow their state’s travel guidelines.

Click here for the details. Click here for Executive Order from Gov. Andy Beshear.

* * *

On Wednesday, word came that East Chicago Marina in northwest Indiana will begin a partial reopening on Saturday, April 18.

Here is the key point for those interested in launching or fishing there.

• Effective Saturday, April 18th the launch ramps and fishing piers on the Marina side (not the Beach side) will be open 6am to 6pm or sunrise to sunset.

Here is a key restriction:

In an effort to maintain social distancing, the Marina office is still not open to the public. We will try to handle most business over the phone. Anything to be handled in person please call before you come Monday through Friday 8am to 3:30pm. MANDATORY- all guests must wear a mask to come in the Marina office or any Marina building. The office door is locked, as long as you have on a mask we will let you in. If you do not have a mask just call first and we will hand you your items out the door.

And be aware of a couple restrictions, not that unusual this time of the year:

• Based on our standard practice, water to the restrooms and fish cleaning station will not be on until the weather is consistently above 40 degrees. The only access to bathrooms at this time is Porta Potties, the Marina buildings are locked.

Those with questions, should call for (219) 391-8482.

* * *

Traditionally, this is the busiest time for Willowbrook Wildlife Center in Glen Ellyn for wildlife rehabilitation. Obviously this is a different spring and there are restrictions on what the rehab center can do.

Here are the key lead paragraphs:

Willowbrook Wildlife Center Limits Intake of Spring Babies Due to COVID-19 Donations needed to care for influx of wildlife babies (April 15, 2020) — DuPage Forest Preserve District’s Willowbrook Wildlife Center in Glen Ellyn is taking in spring babies but limiting their admission due to the COVID-19 outbreak. To abide by Centers for Disease Control and Prevention social distancing and public health guidelines, Willowbrook is working with minimum staff and no volunteers, which limits the number of orphaned wildlife it can safely care for at the center. Unfortunately, this is our new normal during the pandemic, said Dr. Sarah Reich, staff veterinarian and wildlife rehabilitation and research manager at Willowbrook. We are entering our busiest season with one-third the staffing. Please don’t force us to make decisions about who to save simply because you want to tear down an old shed or dead tree in your yard or don’t want a family of raccoons under your deck, Reich said. Now is actually the time to leave these things in your yard so native animals have a safe space to raise their young.

I included that last paragraph because I think that could be key advice any time of the year.

Click here for the full press release and for details on making donations.

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