Governor Pat Quinn announced acquisition of 547 acres of public land in four Illinois counties to boost public access for hunting, fishing, wildlife viewing and outdoor recreation. The $2.8 million in land purchases includes 71 acres in Hackmatack, the nation’s newest National Wildlife Refuge.
Hackmatack National Wildlife Refuge, McHenry County, 71.8 acres ($511,000) - The parcel was acquired to formally establish the Hackmatack National Wildlife Refuge, the first refuge established in northern Illinois.
Expansion of Lowden-Miller State Forest, Ogle County, 64 acres ($450,000) - A 64-acre tract of land best known locally as the centerpiece of Sinnissippi Forest’s former Christmas tree operation, has been added to Lowden-Miller State Forest.
The Pike County parcel - southwest of Pittsfield - was acquired for the appraised value of $1.8 million.
Expansion of Kickapoo State Recreation Area, Vermilion County, 0.94 acres ($25,000) - This parcel of land is located at the entrance to Kickapoo State Recreation Area adjacent to the Rock Cut Botanical Area, an Illinois Natural Areas Inventory site that supports some 40 species of sedge, a state-listed threatened grass-like plant.
Funds used to buy these properties are through 2009 capital dollars appropriated for the Open Lands Trust Program, administered by the Illinois Department of Natural Resources.