If you let it, the seemingly unending stream of Illinois' woes that you see every single day in the news can really get you down. All the talk about budget fights and impasses, high crime and violence rates, high taxes, and the fact that we lead the nation in people who want to leave their state can make you forget about some of the things we can be proud of.

So, if you've found your enthusiasm for the Land of Lincoln diminished in the whirlwind of negativity, take a couple of minutes to check out some video produced by the Illinois Department of Natural Resources. They're shining the spotlight on some Illinois treasures; the state parks in northeast and northwest Illinois. All of these beautiful spots are within a 3 hour drive from Rockford. So, if it's been awhile since you've visited these places (if ever), take a look at what you've been missing:

One of the gems of our area is White Pines State Park outside of Oregon, Illinois: