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      Illinois buys Pike County land for public hunting

      The State of Illinois has acquired 410 acres of land in Pike County, Ill.

      Gov. Pat Quinn said that he hopes the acquisition will boost public access for hunting, fishing, wildlife viewing and outdoor recreation.

      "Pike County is a tremendous deer hunting destination with virtually no public access. This acquisition will give hunters an opportunity to pursue white-tails in Illinois' deer capital," Illinois Department of Natural Resources Director Marc Miller said. "There is tremendous demand in Illinois for public access to open space and this purchase helps meet that demand."

      The Pike County parcel, southwest of Pittsfield, was acquired for the appraised value of $1.8 million.

      The Pike County property includes extensive timber and upland areas with some tillable Conservation Reserve Program and pasture areas well-suited for public hunting programs. The newly acquired property will remain closed to the public while the IDNR continues development of a management plan, submits regulations for hunting and other recreation programs at the site, and installs public access areas.

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

      Funds used to acquire these properties are through 2009 capital dollars appropriated for the Open Lands Trust Program, administered by the Illinois Department of Natural Resources.

      The state also purchased the Hackmatack National Wildlife Refuge in McHenry County for $511,000; expanded Lowden-Miller State Forest in Ogle County for $450,000 and expanded Kickapoo State Recreation Area in Vermilion County for $25,000.