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DNR seeking landowners to participate in new access program

September 03, 2011 at 09:48 PM

The State Journal-Register

The Illinois Department of Natural Resources is looking for landowners willing to roll out the welcome mat for young turkey hunters and others seeking opportunities for outdoors recreation.

DNR has a three-year, $1.5 million grant from the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Farm Service Agency to compensate landowners who are willing to provide access for specific activities.

The Illinois Recreational Access Program is open to landowners in the Illinois and Kaskaskia River watersheds, encompassing 68 counties.

Most central Illinois counties fall within the two watersheds.

The initial focus is on providing youth turkey hunts by next spring, so the DNR is trying to sign up landowners now.

Those property owners will receive a lease payment, plus help with habitat management.

Those not already enrolled in conservation programs might be steered towards appropriate programs that have cost-share help available.

Tammy Miller, IRAP program manager, said a coordinator is being hired to meet with landowners to help them develop habitat management plans.

In additional to youth turkey hunts, property owners may agree to allow birders, nature photographers and canoeists to use their property on a controlled basis.

Users will have to register and buy a permit, which costs $10 per year, at their local soil and water conservation district office.

“That way, if garbage happens, we will know who was on the property on a given day,” Miller said.

Landowner fees range widely depending upon the activity and size of the acreage:

Three-year rental agreements for turkey hunting can total from $1,140 for 40-80 acres to $6,453 for parcels above 531 acres.
Fishing and boat access can range from $1,035 over three years for a 1-3 acre pond to $2,415 for ponds more than 9.1 acres.
Stream access for fishing starts at $333 and goes up to $1,087 over the life of the agreement.
Boat access ranges from $1,035-$3,105.
Rental payments from other conservation programs are not affected.

Miller said the program’s goal is to put 100 youth turkey hunters in the woods this spring. She estimates 25-30 landowners will be needed to support 100 hunters.

Youth hunts also are planned during the third and fourth turkey seasons this spring.

Miller said it is essential to get landowners lined up now so young hunters can get permits for the appropriate seasons.

“I’m getting a call a day, an e-mail a day,” Miller said of interest in the program. “I mailed some applications off, and I expect some to come in this week.”

Kent Adams, regional biologist with the National Wild Turkey Federation based in Effingham, said his organization is involved with the voluntary access program on a national level.

“It has been a priority for us wherever it has been put into place, in whatever state it has been implemented, to support it,” he said.

Adams said turkey hunting is a good place to start, because the sport is growing in popularity and spring turkey hunting does not conflict in any way with deer hunting seasons.

“We’ve seen it work with our chapters at the local level, especially for youth hunts,” he said. “The Petersburg chapter, the New Salem Longbeards, has run a successful youth hunt for many years.”

The Longbeards match up children who want to hunt with local landowners willing to host them.

“Access is perpetually listed as the number one problem when we ask people why they quit hunting and why people say they are not trying,” Adams said. “It’s a tough nut to crack.”

He said the program should generate some enthusiasm among landowners eager to help introduce children to the outdoors.

And youth need mentors to show them the ropes. “I hunt because my dad hunted, and his dad hunted and his dad hunted,” Adams said. “We’re losing mentors and the kids along with them. That’s where the challenge comes into play.”

Chris Young can be reached at(217) 788-1528.

Your CommentsComments :: Terms :: .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)

Oh boy, that gives quinn the opportunity to create a couple more $100,000+/yr administrative positions (in Chicago) to be filled by know nothing, do nothing political hacks.

Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) on 09/04 at 09:37 AM

Do you even understand what this is?  This is actually a GOOD thing!!!
Wisconsin has been doing it for a long time.  They are trying to get properties already enrolled in some tax break program (CREP, etc) and offer them a little extra $ to let the public use their property.

Everyone gripes about lack of public access, and now that they are doing something about it, people still complain.

Bottom line is :  MORE PUBLIC ACCESS!!!!

Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) on 09/07 at 09:18 AM

@ Bobba, you’re right, this is a GREAT thing and a long time coming.

@John and Riverrat you need to get your facts straight. From my understanding it is all federal grant money and they are implementing the program with current staff in Springfield. This is a huge step in the right direction.  Double bonus is that the DNR is targting this access program to get youth and families involved in outdoor activities.

Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) on 09/07 at 12:36 PM

Bottom line is there will be more trespassers.

Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) on 09/07 at 12:54 PM

Outdoor fan,
I would agree with you 100% about it being a great thing.  However, lets just look at the record of the past two administrations (blago & quinn).  The number of deputy directors, office directors, chiefs of staff, assistats to the director (aka $100,000+ know nothing, do nothing political hacks)have increased to astronomical proportions while the people on the ground that actually manage our natural resources have been reduced to just a handfull.  I fully expect all the money will be eaten up by hiring a whole herd of high paid, do nothing administrators and few, if any, new hunting acres will be opened to the Illinois outdoorsman.  I certianly hope I am wrong, but looking at quinns track record, I have ZERO faith in that individual.

Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) on 09/07 at 05:08 PM

Looks and sounds like a good program to me. Don’t understand the trespasser comment??

Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) on 09/08 at 07:03 PM
Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) on 09/08 at 10:00 PM

IRAP is the Illinois Recreational Access Program. It is not an organization, but a grant from the federal government, more specifically, the Farm BIll - the same source of funds for the Conservation Reserve Program (CRP), Conservation Reserve Enhancement Program (CREP) and others. It is a nationwide program. IRAP is just the name DNR has given to the Illinois program. The federal program is known as the Voluntary Public Access and Habitat Incentive Program. Here is the link:

Posted by Chris Young on 09/09 at 07:48 AM

It’s pretty simple. There are not enough CPO’s. When they do arrest someone for trespassing, the charges almost always get dropped. Example I had Randy Molitoris Board of Director of Dewitt county soil water conservation district arrested for hunting out of my deer stand. He was a 1/4 mile from where he had permission to hunt. All charges were dropped. If my neighbor signs a lease with the state, I’d have to put up chainlink fence to keep people out.

Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) on 09/09 at 09:56 AM

It says that the DNR will post boundry signs on the properties that are signed up for this. Now I realize that signs don’t stop some people and I understand your concerns. Sounds like the courts need to uphold some of these trespassing charges so the public will get the message and take it serious. I’d be mad too if I was in your shoes and the courts let it go !

Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) on 09/09 at 04:26 PM

DNR posting signs on properties throughout the state is a VERY labor intensive proposition.  Where are these employees going to come from?  Field staff is stretched thin enough to see thru now, and I will guarantee that you aren’t going to see too many of those high priced deputy directors out there with signs and hammers in hand.

Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) on 09/13 at 10:16 AM

it’s a shame when someone is trying to do the right thing that everyone assumes the worst.  Believe it or not, I know alot of IDNR employees that work very hard and believe in what they do.  It’s unfortunate that because of this administration’s lack of organization and greed that when something good happens, so many people have to negate it. Come on folks, it is time to move forward and try and make the best with what we have.

Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) on 09/13 at 11:15 AM

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