Reopening week in the upper Midwest: The apt analogy is squeezing water balloons

As some things open up or restrictions ease this week around the upper Midwest, many questions remain on activities around the outdoors.

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A file photo of a wide view of North Point Marina, which is listed by the IDNR as scheduled to reopen on Friday, May 1. Credit: Dale Bowman

A file photo of a wide view of North Point Marina, which as a concessionaire, will not be reopening on Friday, May 1. Originally, it was listed by the IDNR as scheduled to reopen on Friday, May 1.

Dale Bowman

If you ever played with water balloons, you know they bulge when they are squished. Squeeze hard enough, and they bust, spraying water everywhere.

It’s a thought for the week as the stay-at-home order stretches on. A wonderful spring weekend is forecast. People are ready to bust out.

While I’m glad the Illinois Department of Natural Resources is opening some sites on a limited basis Friday, the more I think about it, the more I wonder.

Kankakee River State Park is packed on any good weekend. With nearby Des Plaines State Fish and Wildlife Area and Mazonia SFWA remaining closed, it will be beyond packed. Shabbona Lake State Recreation Area, too, is packed on any good weekend. With Silver Springs SFWA and Rock Cut SP remaining closed, Shabbona will be swamped.

All the good advice about the coronavirus will not change massive numbers of people descending on those reopened IDNR sites.

•On a related matter, inland trout season draws people shoulder-to-shoulder in northeast Illinois, which is why it has not been open so far.

Well, one forest preserve considered a soft opening this week. If one forest-preserve district opens up, anglers will descend. Chicago-area forest preserves and conservation districts should coordinate and open trout season on the same day to spread out the pressure. As it is, Rock Creek will be a zoo with trout anglers when Kankakee River SP reopens Friday.

•Saturday signals opening weekend in Wisconsin. It’s hard to decipher whether it’s acceptable to travel north. Truth is, Illinoisans already have been packing Wolf River and Geneva Lake.

‘‘They are here without restriction, except social distancing,’’ a Wisconsin guide emailed. ‘‘However, a pissed-off hillbilly took video at Lake Geneva and sent it to the news of all [the Illinois] license plates [last weekend]. I don’t know if that will change anything. Doing good has no end!!’’

As to Wisconsin DNR guidelines, communications director Sarah Hoye emailed: ‘‘Non-residents should check with their state’s emergency orders and travel restrictions. Under Gov. [Tony] Evers’ Safer at Home order, we encourage the public to stay in your local community.’’

Chicago anglers consider their ‘‘local community’’ as between the Mississippi River; Minocqua, Wisconsin; St. Joseph, Michigan; Webster Lake in Indiana; and Rend Lake.

•There will be no turkey hunting at reopened IDNR sites, so foragers for morel mushrooms andbirdwatchersmay go in at dawn rather than waiting until 1 p.m.

As to hunters with site-specific permits, IDNR deputy director Rachel Torbert emailed: ‘‘Understanding closure and fee concerns raised by permit holders, IDNR is reviewing all possible solutions, including refunds for all spring 2020 turkey permits issued by the department.’’

• Click here for the listings of what IDNR sites are scheduled to reopen Friday, May 1.

An artful collection of ramps and morel mushrooms in northern Illinois. Photo provided by Jeff Norris

An artful collection of ramps and morel mushrooms in northern Illinois.

Provided by Jeff Norris

Wild things

Jeff Norris texted an artful photo of white ramps and morel mushrooms and promised: ‘‘I’ll go for the red ones in a couple of days.’’ . . . ‘‘Monty and Rose,’’ Bob Dolgan’s documentary on the Montrose piping plovers, will be broadcast at 5:30 p.m. Saturday on WTTW (Channel 11).

Stray cast

Remember when a Clorox solution was for sanitizing the fish-cleaning board?

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