Illinois Recreational Access Program


More Places To Go…

One of the more challenging issues facing the Department of Natural Resources is providing public outdoor recreational access and opportunities. Illinois ranks 46th in the nation for publicly-owned land with more than 97% of the land is privately owned. 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 NRCS Voluntary Public Access–Habitat Incentive Program (VPA-HIP).

Becoming a Hunter: IRAP and the Juarez Family Story.
(en Espanol) Convertirse en cazador: IRAP y la historia de la familia Juárez.

More Habitat Restoration Projects to Implement…

Using VPA-HIP grant funds, IDNR is helping private landowners to protect and restore their land. Landowners who chose to lease their property to IRAP will have a comprehensive habitat/forestry management plan written and be eligible for assistance to implement habitat restoration projects.


Since IRAP’s inception in 2011, more than 27,000 acres in 52 counties have been leased for outdoor recreational activities. Thousands of outdoor enthusiasts have accessed these sights, hundreds of youth and adult 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 written habitat/forestry plans for more than 175 landowners and has conducted more than 17,000 acres of habitat projects on IRAP leased private property. This includes invasive species control with aerial spraying and on-the-ground removal, prescribed burning, grass and tree planting, pollinator establishment and more.

  Note: Please follow all CDC guidelines, do not contact the landowner and do not hunt if you feel sick.

It’s a “win-win” for the landowner, wildlife and the participant!

The Illinois Learn to Hunt program provides FREE educational workshops aimed at teaching ADULT participants how to hunt deer, turkey, small game, upland game, and waterfowl.