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Illinois Recreational Access Program

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One of the more challenging issues facing the Illinois Department of Natural Resources is providing public outdoor recreational access and opportunities. Illinois ranks 46th in the nation for publicly-owned land with more than 97% of land in private ownership. In order to carry on our outdoor traditions, we need to connect youth and families to the land. IDNR has created the Illinois Recreational Access Program (IRAP) by utilizing resources obtained from the US Department of Agriculture’s NRCS Voluntary Public Access–Habitat Incentive Program (VPA-HIP).

Becoming a Hunter: IRAP and the Juarez Family Story

(en Espanol) Convertirse en cazador: IRAP y la Historia de la Juarez

More Habitat Restoration Projects to Implement…

Using VPA-HIP grant funds, IDNR is helping private landowners protect and restore their land. Landowners who choose to lease their property to IRAP will have a comprehensive habitat/forestry management plan written and be eligible for assistance to implement habitat restoration projects.

Since IRAP’s inception in 2011, more than 27,000 acres in 52 counties have been leased for outdoor recreational activities. Thousands of outdoor enthusiasts have accessed these sites. Hundreds of youth and adult turkey hunters who have enjoyed calling in a gobbler, and archery deer hunting remains in high demand.

Even more impressive is what IRAP is doing on the ground. IRAP has written habitat/forestry plans for more than 175 landowners and has conducted more than 17,000 acres of habitat projects on IRAP-leased private property. This includes invasive species control via aerial spraying and on-the-ground removal, timber stand improvement, prescribed burning, native grass and tree plantings, and more.

It’s a “win-win” for the landowner, wildlife and the participant!

The Illinois Learn to Hunt program provides FREE educational workshops aimed at teaching ADULT participants how to hunt deer, turkey, small game, upland game, and waterfowl.

For Landowners

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