Act protects Illinois recreational
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SPRINGFIELD -- Gov. Rod Blagojevich signed the
Illinois Hunting Heritage Protection Act on July 29. The legislation,
Senate Bill 2156, provides that the Illinois Department of Natural
Resources support, promote and enhance recreational hunting on lands it
manages, and that the department will work to maintain and enhance the
amount of land acreage available for hunting opportunities in Illinois.
"This new law recognizes the important
role hunters and trappers play in conserving wildlife, habitats and
the ecosystems on which wildlife depend, while at the same enjoying
a form of outdoor recreation that has been part of our state's
heritage from its founding," Gov. Blagojevich said. "Recreational
hunting is perhaps the most important component of effective
wildlife management, and this legislation helps remind us of the
importance of our hunting heritage."
Sponsored by Sen. John O. Jones,
D-Mount Vernon, and Rep. William J. Grunloh, D-Effingham, Senate
Bill 2156 requires that lands managed by the Department of Natural
Resources be open to access and use for recreational hunting, except
when limited for reasons of public safety, fish and wildlife
management, homeland security, or where otherwise limited by law.
The legislation also requires that the department support, promote
and enhance recreational hunting and, to the greatest extent
possible, not take actions which result in any net loss of land
available to hunting. The new law also requires that the department
report annually whether any acreage it manages is closed to hunting
and whether other lands are opened to hunting to compensate.
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"We are always looking for ways to
expand public access to hunting and other forms of outdoor
recreation. One of our duties as a wildlife management and natural
resources agency is to recognize, preserve and promote our special
heritage of recreational hunting and trapping, and this new law
supports that," said Department of Natural Resources Director Joel
The law will
take effect Jan. 1, 2005.
[News release from the governor's office]