Illinois Parks & Recreation
May/June 1995 • Volume 26, Number 3
Pilot Program Provides Recreation on Private Lands
A two-year pilot program in Adams, Brown, Calhoun, Pike and Schuyler counties seeks to open private lands for outdoor recreation by offering incentives to landowners who allow outdoor enthusiasts to hunt, fish, trail ride or pursue other outdoor interests on their properties.
Access Illinois Outdoors, a program involving state and local agencies, may become the blueprint for providing access to private lands for outdoor recreation in the future.
"Since 95 percent of land in Illinois is in private ownership," said Conservation Director Brent Manning, "the program will provide a valuable opportunity to outdoor recreationists who don't have a place to pursue their sports."
The program is a cooperative effort involving Two Rivers Resource Conservation and Development Corporation and the departments of Agriculture and Conservation. Also participating is the Illinois Landowner-Sportsmen Relations Committee, whose representation includes farm groups, state legislators, governmental agencies and private land-owners.
A two-year pilot program in Adams, Brown, Calhoun, Pike and Schuyler counties seeks to open private lands for outdoor recreation by offering incentives to landowners who allow outdoor enthusiasts to hunt, fish, trail ride or pursue other outdoor interests on their properties. The five- county area in western Illinois contains more than 1, 000 farm ponds, hundreds of miles of streams, more than 400, 000 acres of woodlands and some of the state's largest wildlife populations.
Jim Raftis, program coordinator for the Department of Conservation, said participating landowners receive additional law enforcement protection by Conservation police, priority technical assistance in conservation management practices, plus other benefits.
"There also are opportunities for receiving supplemental income or in-kind services, which the landowners can work out directly with the individuals they choose to allow on their property," Raftis said.
"User profiles" of individuals interested in using private properties for outdoor recreation will be provided to participating landowners. On the profiles, applicants will state their areas of interest, number of years of outdoor experience, services they could provide the landowner and references. Applicants also will be asked to sign a waiver of liability to protect the landowner.
"While user profiles will be supplied to enrolled landowners, the names and addresses of landowners will not be provided to potential users," Raftis said. "The property owners are in complete control about who they will permit on their land, what activities they will allow, and what restrictions they will impose."
Courtesy cards will be issued to users, who must have them in their possession while participating in the Access Illinois Outdoors program. Each applicant is required to pay Two Rivers Resource Conservation and Development Corporation a one-time administrative fee of $25, which will be refunded if an individual is unable to obtain access.
Access Illinois Outdoors provides access for most outdoor recreation including backpacking, camping, fishing, hunting, trail riding, birding and outdoor photography. For a listing of outdoor activities available and for more information about the program, contact Access Illinois Outdoors in care of Two Rivers Resource Conservation and Development Corporation, 110 E. Fayette, Pittsfield, IL 62363. Office hours are 9 a.m.-l p.m. Monday through Friday. The office number is (217) 285-2464 and the relay number for the hearing impaired is (800) 526-0844. •
58* Illinois Parks & Recreation ¦ May/June 1995
Sam S. Manivong, Illinois Periodicals Online Coordinator