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White Pines Resort owner will miss traditions with nature and with families

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MOUNT MORRIS (WREX) — Businesses across the stateline are closed. While it's a temporary move for many, for White Pines Resort in Ogle county, it's a permanent one.

Whether it's hiking, biking, seeing a play or getting together with family, White Pines Resort in Mount Morris has built memories and traditions for more than 30 years.

"White Pines is a staple. It's one of the biggest best known gems in the area. It is so historical, so beautiful," said White Pines Resort Owner and General Manager Beth George.

Soon the resort itself will become just a memory.

"The restaurant and they decorated it so beautifully and the Dinner Theater and again I remember going there as a kid," said former employee and Pine Creek Escape Owner Rebecca Jones.

George announced Wednesday that the state's restrictions on large gatherings due to COVID-19 forced her hand.

"Every event that makes me money is over 50 people like weddings. My model is built on that. The Dinner Theater holds 150 people. If I have 50 people, I am losing money. I can't even host one," said George.

The resort is only open seasonally and to avoid being a year behind in income, George filed for bankruptcy.

"So then next year I would lose an entire year of income because I would do every wedding at a loss. So there is just no win," said George.

The closure leaves hundreds without a summer spot, 45 employees and an owner without a job. Another business just across the street is trying to weather the storm.

"We can only hope that the concessions will open back up some day," said Jones.

Pine Creek Escape has three cabins, a far cry from the 25 at White Pines. Pine Creek Escape says it can't replace the loss of the 30 year old business.

"Hopefully we can start being the place for those traditions," said Jones.

"Support those who are trying to hang on," said George.

Cherishing those connections made with nature and with White Pines.

The resort will hold a Going Out of Business Sale for their gift shop starting on May 18. The proceeds will help pay brides back that booked their wedding at the resort this season.

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Cassandra Bretl

Cassandra is the morning reporter for 13 News Today.
She joined the WREX team in July of 2019 after graduating from the University of Wisconsin – Milwaukee with a major, minor and a certificate.
She is excited to bring her skills back to the 815 where she is originally from.
You can contact Cassandra at cbretl@wrex.com

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