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Chicago outdoors and coronavirus: Chicago harbors and North Point Marina stay closed; other updates

Chicago harbors will remain closed, as does North Point Marina; while some restrictions around Chicago outdoors ease a bit on Friday, May 1.

A file photo of the downtown Chicago skyline from Lake Michigan. Credit: Dale Bowman
A file photo of the downtown Chicago skyline from Lake Michigan.
Dale Bowman

The Chicago harbors will remain closed, for now. There had been anticipation that Friday, May 1 would be the opener for boaters. On a related matter, North Point Marina also will not be reopening, because it is a concessionaire, but boat owners may gain access to their boats.

This word came today, April 30, from Chicago Harbors:

Chicago Harbors Closure: Unfortunately, all docks, boat storage facilities, parking lots, launch ramps, and other harbor properties are currently closed in accordance with current Chicago Park District closures. We will update you when we have an opening date. Boaters who ignore this order and attempt to bring their boat into the harbor during the closure could have their permit revoked.

Click here for the full update on Chicago harbors.

North Point Marina is/was listed on the reopening list by the Illinois Department of Natural Resources, but, as a concessionaire, it is remaining closed. Click here for the intricacies of that update.

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As previously noted, some IDNR sites are being reopened on a limited basis on Friday, May 1. The reopened sites will be open from sun-up to sundown.

Here are the ones being reopened in northeastern Illinois (noticeably NOT reopening are William W. Powers State Recreation Area, Silver Springs State Fish and Wildlife Area, Braidwood Lake and Mazonia SFWA):

Northeastern Illinois: Adeline Jay Geo-Karis Illinois Beach State Park / North Point Marina, Chain O’ Lakes State Park, Illinois and Michigan Canal State Trail (includes Buffalo Rock, Channahon, Gebhard Woods, and William G Stratton), Kankakee River State Park, Moraine Hills State Park

Shabbona Lake SRA, which is listed in the northwest section, will reopen Friday, but Lakeside, as a concessionaire, is not allowed to open, so have everything before arriving.

Click here to see the complete reopening list and the recommendations.

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Wisconsin’s opening day will go on Saturday, May 2, in a form never seen before.

Here are the key opening paragraphs from the Wisconsin DNR:

MADISON, Wis. – Gov. Evers’ Safer at Home order recognizes outdoor activity as essential. As such, the 2020-2021 Game Fish season will proceed as planned opening on May 2. All regulations and license requirements apply.

The DNR reminds anglers to fish close to home and practice social distancing whether fishing from a boat, dock, or shoreline. It is recommended that only anglers living in the same household should fish within six feet of one another.

All state parks are reopening Friday, but there are updated hours for operation of parks. Here are the details:

Regular fishing rules and regulations apply for all DNR properties. DNR boat launches within open state parks are open. However, all state parks have updated hours of operation from 6:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. and will be closed on Wednesdays. Anglers who want to fish within a state park on Wednesdays may still do so that day.

All restrooms, water fountains, buildings, and facilities are also closed at all state parks. Northern forests, flowages, and the Lower Wisconsin Riverway system are exempt from these changes and remain open from 6:00 a.m. to 11:00 p.m., 7 days a week.

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The Forest Preserve District of Will County is easing some restrictions on Friday, May 1.

Here are the key parts:

Forest Preserve District access area parking lots, boat launches to reopen May 1

The Forest Preserve District of Will County will reopen its preserve access area parking lots and boat launches on Friday, May 1, as a result of Gov. J.B. Pritzker modifying his stay-at-home order, which was instituted March 21 to fight the new coronavirus pandemic in Illinois.

However, all visitor centers, dog parks, latrines and water fountains will remain closed through the duration of the stay-at-home mandate’s extension, which now ends May 30. All public programs, rentals and non-district events have been canceled through May 30. Because the Monee Reservoir visitor center/concessions building is closed, there will be no boat rentals until further notice. These closures and cancellations will remain in effect to help stop the spread of the new coronavirus, which could overwhelm healthcare institutions and cause more deaths.

Once parking lots reopen May 1, people should not be congregating in the preserves and at trailheads, which could spread COVID-19. It may be necessary to temporarily close sites where social distancing is not being maintained.

* * *

No updates yet on trout fishing in Forest Preserves of Cook County or of the Forest Preserve District of DuPage County.

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I had been anticipating (waiting on) an update to the suspension of the sale of out-of-state licenses in Ohio, but I am beginning to wonder.