External chronicle of Jeanette Gibson: The recovery of white pines

The global battle against Covid-19 has affected everything everywhere, including the way we spend our time in the great outdoors.

As Covid took over our great state of Illinois, we lost more than 25,000 lives. While safety precautions have been put in place against this airborne infection, many activities we take for granted as part of our summer – gatherings with friends and families in parks and health centers. resort area – have been suspended.

Now, with more than half of Illinois’ population having been vaccinated against Covid-19, the positivity rate has dropped to its lowest point since the pandemic began to set in, and things are starting to pick up again. reopen completely.

The cabins, lodge and restaurant at White Pines Forest State Park will reopen to the public on June 14.

The “resort” now known as White Pines Lodge is set amid 385 acres of White Pines Forest State Park, home to one of the natural stands of pristine white pine – a big deal to be able to. to boast in this day and age.

If you’ve never been to White Pines this would be the perfect summer road trip. Almost due north and a 1.5-hour drive away, White Pines State Park offers camping, hiking, fishing, picnicking, and wildlife.

Now that the resort is open again, you can add shows, a gift shop, restaurant, and quaint log cabin accommodations to the list of attractions.

The log cabins and lodge were built in the 1930s by the Civilian Conservation Corps after the Great Depression and are unlike any other place this writer has ever stayed.

Using an old-fashioned technique, these log cabins contain massive stone chimneys and have been designed to stand the test of time as well as storms. If you are looking to find solace in nature on your getaway weekend, but don’t want to camp, I highly recommend staying in one of the cabins, which are scattered across the sea from each other. property.

The park itself is well designed with plenty of access for fishing and hiking, with a plethora of native woodland flowers and mushrooms on display along the trails.

There are spectacular backdrops of waterfalls, stone and wooden lodges, and limestone cliffs for photo ops, making White Pines a popular location for over 30 years to host ‘Rustic Elegance’ weddings. They even have a fairytale carriage.

If “getting away from it all” means more interaction with nature with the convenience of nearby amenities, White Pines State Park does the trick. Some of their cabins are pet-friendly, so you can take a four-legged friend with you.

Summer is a great time to at least visit, if not stay at this state park. Pick a quiet spot along the twists and turns of Pine Creek to sit and listen to nature for a while, cast a line and catch a few fish, or wait for dusk and watch bats flit across the late-evening sky.

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