State Buys 71 Acres in Hackmatack National Wildlife Refuge

Part of a press release from Governor Pat Quinn:

Governor Quinn Announces $2.8 Million to Expand Outdoor Recreation Opportunities

Photo credit:  Fish and Wildlife Service.
Photo credit: Fish and Wildlife Service.

SPRINGFIELD – February 20, 2013. Governor Pat Quinn today 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

  • 410 acres in Pike County, a hallowed deer hunting region, and
  • 71 acres in Hackmatack, the nation’s newest National Wildlife Refuge.

This acquisition is part of Governor Quinn’s ongoing commitment to expand and preserve Illinois’ natural resources and boost the economy.

The properties were acquired through the Illinois Open Lands Trust (OLT), which is funded by Governor Quinn’s Illinois Jobs Now! capital program and allocated for public recreation and conservation purposes.

“Preservation of open space for future generations is a worthy goal, and hunting, fishing and other forms of outdoor recreation generate billions of dollars a year in Illinois,” Governor Quinn said. “Continuing to expand outdoor recreation areas and natural habitats such as Hackmatack are not only good for our economy, but also ensure that Illinois children can enjoy nature and lead a healthy lifestyle. Let’s leave no child inside!’”

Today’s announcement includes acquisition of three other properties to expand public lands:

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.

The core areas of Hackmatack National Wildlife Refuge are rich in important natural resources, including rare and diverse natural communities, endangered and threatened species, wetlands, diverse aquatic systems and migratory birds.

Eventually, the Hackmatack Refuge will improve or restore 11,000 acres of wetlands, prairie and forest, and will conserve habitat corridors between protected parcels to ensure sustainability of local ecological systems.

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The Fish and Wildlife Service web site for Hackmatack states,

“The first parcel of land acquired will officially establish the Refuge.”

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