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State to restrict boating access to Chain, Fox River
By Lee Filas | Daily Herald StaffContact writerPublished: 4/21/2009 3:28 PMSend To:



People will have fewer chances to get from the lower Fox River to the Chain O' Lakes thanks to a cost-cutting measure by the Illinois Department of Natural Resources.

The Bolger-Stratton Lock and Dam in McHenry will close down on Mondays and Tuesdays during the summer in an effort to save money, IDNR officials announced.

In addition, officials said the dam will only operate from 10 a.m. until 10 p.m. on Wednesdays and Sundays, and from 10 a.m. until midnight Thursdays through Saturdays and on holidays, historically the busiest nights on the waterway.

For the previous two years, the dam operated from 8 a.m. until midnight every night between May 1 and Oct. 1. Then the dam would operation from 8 a.m. until 10 p.m. until Oct. 31.

John Haley, owner of Blarney's Island, said he's upset with the reduced hours, but understands that cuts like this are expected in tough economic times.

"If the state can't afford to keep it open, what can we do?" he said. "It'll hurt the people on the lower river more because people like to water ski the lower river during the week when it's slower, but if the state doesn't have the money, then it doesn't have the money."

Pete Jakstas, owner of the Mineola Marina in Fox Lake, said at least the state is still running the dam full service on most busy nights.

"It's gonna hurt the people who are down river and want to come up here or the people who want to go down river, for sure," he said. "But, until the state can come up with a way to come up with more money, this is going to keep happening."
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