Public recreation access in Illinois

A letter from IL DNR Director Marc Miller…

Dear DNR constituents:

Today at DNR headquarters, Governor Pat Quinn announced the use of dedicated capital funds for the acquisition of four new state-owned open spaces.

Included in this first round of Openspace Land Trust (OLT) acquisitions, is a 410 acre parcel in western Pike County, which will be opened for deer hunting and provide hunters with an opportunity to hunt in an area of the state that is both sought after for whitetails and is difficult to gain recreational access.

Additional sites were purchased in McHenry, Vermilion and Ogle Counties, and the total acreage announced today is 547 acres.  These other sites expanded a state forest, established a new national wildlife refuge and preserved a small in-holding at a state park. 

Throughout my directorship, I have sought ways to improve public recreational access and involve stakeholders in providing solutions to one of the great challenges to protecting our unique outdoor heritage.  We have utilized a Farm Bill program to create the Illinois Recreational Access Program (IRAP), which has opened up 11,000 acres of private ground to youth turkey hunting and included other kinds of access.  DNR is also working with groups like Ducks Unlimited, Pheasants Forever, National Wild Turkey Federation, Openlands Project and land trusts on ways to provide more opportunities to enjoy the outdoors.

We remain committed to protect our right to hunt and fish, and by providing public recreational access, working on getting youth, women and new constituents into the outdoors, and providing and protecting dedicated sustainable funding for conservation and DNR, we will be able to further our outdoor heritage for future generations. 

To see more details on today’s announcement, please point your browser here.  Our staff will be working diligently to pass rules that allow hunting programs at the Pike County property, and will seek to have these rules in place by June.

Thank you for your support of conservation, our heritage and DNR. 

Yours in conservation,
Marc Miller
Director, Illinois DNR

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