Barring a last-minute reprieve from Gov. Rod Blagojevich, 11 Illinois state parks will be closed to the public a week from now.

When the impending closures (due to budgetary reasons) were announced in late August, I thought for sure the governor was bluffing in order to get something in return for keeping the parks and 14 state historic sites open. I thought Blagojevich was threatening to close the state parks so he could argue the need for state park usage fees – not an unusual idea, as many other states have them. (Follow this link to read a blog post I wrote about this topic for The Times shortly after the closures were announced:

It seems I was wrong. Blagojevich’s continual disrespect to Illinois taxpayers has been worse than ever this year. That shows in many ways, including the closure of free state parks at a time when many people need cheap entertainment options.

I hope Blagojevich backs off his plan before the end of the month. But in case he doesn’t, I went to Illini State Park in Marseilles last week because it’s on the governor’s hit list and I don’t know when I’ll be able to visit it again.