More Place To Go…
One of the more challenging problems facing the Department of Natural Resources is providing public outdoor recreational access and opportunities. 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 Voluntary Public Access –Habitat Incentive Program.
More Habitat Restoration Projects to Implement…
More than 90% of the land in Illinois is privately owned and resources are limited to restore much of this land. Landowners who lease their property to IRAP will have a comprehensive habitat management plan written and be eligible for assistance to implement habitat restoration projects.
Since IRAP’s inception in 2011, more than 14,000 acres in 33 counties have been leased for outdoor recreation activities. Thousands of outdoor enthusiasts have accessed these sights, hundreds of youth turkey hunters have enjoyed calling in a gobbler and archery deer hunting is in high demand. Even more impressive is what IRAP is doing on the ground. IRAP has helped landowners with almost 6,000 acres of NonNative Species (NNS) removal and aerial spraying; nearly 1,500 acres of prescribed burning; and 250 acres of Timber stand improvement and another 250 acres of prairie planting.
Private landowners across Illinois are also aware of the need for more places for the public to go and to improve wildlife habitat. With cooperative agreements and wildlife manage plans, the IRAP has leased private property in nearly 30 counties, for more than 12,000 acres so that Illinoisans now have more places to enjoy the great outdoors.
IRAP Activities Include:
Archery Deer hunting (October)
Youth turkey hunting (17 and under) (spring)
Adult first time turkey hunting (spring)
Small Game Hunting (August/September and December)
Waterfowl Hunting (fall)
Fishing on shoreline (April-September)
Non-Motorized Boat access on public waterways (April-September)
Outdoor hiking, photography and birding activities (May-September)
It’s a “win-win” for the landowner, wildlife and the participant!
"What a great experience! Thank you IDNR, IRAP program, and most importantly the landowner.".................." IRAP youth Hunter and father