I’m not going to get into a debate over whether the state parks system has a bad reputation, or whether they’re doing a good job of keeping people safe.
I’m also not going in to a discussion about whether some parks are good for the environment, or a bad one.
I just want to know how the numbers stack up.
This chart, created by The American Council on Natural Resources, shows the state’s population per capitol, as calculated by the US Census Bureau.
A few things stand out.
Illinois has one of the lowest populations per capita of any state in the nation.
Illinois is also home to some of the largest parks in the United States.
Here’s how the state ranks for population per square mile of parkland per capita.
Illinois parks have about 1,100 square miles of park land, or about the size of New York City, New Jersey and Rhode Island combined.
In other words, there are about 3,600 parks per square miles in Illinois, which is a little higher than the United Kingdom and Canada.
But that doesn’t necessarily mean it’s a great place to be, according to Chris Anderson, a wildlife biologist with the Illinois Parks and Wildlife Department.
“I’ve been in parks that are filled with people, and I’ve been there where you’re just sitting there with nothing to do, not even a picnic,” Anderson told The Associated Press.
“There’s not even an area to lie down and sleep.”
Anderson said there are many reasons to visit parks.
But there’s one thing that’s especially compelling: the fact that they offer a safe place to enjoy nature and to learn about its mysteries.
That’s something that parks do well, he said.
There are some things that Illinois parks do not offer: food, water, or shelter, Anderson said.
He said a lot of parks are not open on the weekends, and that leaves people without the option to take a break from exploring the parkland.
Anderson also said that the state has had an unfortunate experience with invasive species.
The species that are present in Illinois include the red-tailed hawk, the brown recluse, the spotted owl and the black widow spider.
This photo, from the Department of Natural Resources (DNR), shows a red-tail hawk, which can be a threat to park visitors.
DNR photo source Illinois State Parks website Anderson said some parks do have a “good deal” of problems with invasive pests.
One of the problems is that some of these species have been known to attack animals in the park, but not humans.
He pointed to a brown reclusing spider, which was found in the area in 2012, and also to the black widows, which are known to have been a major pest in the past.
“It’s just one more reason why we want to make sure we’re doing the right things for the park and not just having an issue with something that might not be a problem for people,” Anderson said of the invasive species problem.