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Hackmatack National Wildlife Refuge

Hackmatack National Wildlife Refuge


Located in McHenry County, Illinois and Walworth County, Wisconsin, an hour's drive from the 12 million residents of the metropolitan areas of Chicago, Madison, Milwaukee, and Rockford, newly-designated Hackmatack National Wildlife Refuge is the only refuge found within 100 miles of Chicago. It will eventually protect 11,200 acres of diverse habitats, remnant prairies and forests, and pristine streams.

Openlands played an essential role at every phase of establishing this area as part of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s premier system of protected lands. This effort has involved working with an array of national and local conservation organizations—including Friends of HackmatackSierra Club, Illinois Chapter andThe Trust for Public Land. Hackmatack is part of President Obama's America's Great Outdoors initiative to develop a 21st century conservation and recreation agenda.

Over time, Hackmatack will become a mosaic of protected lands providing habitat for grassland birds, recreation and education opportunities for people, and economic development for local communities. A variety of conservation tools will be used in the final creation of the refuge, including purchase of land from willing sellers; agreements with landowners, known as easements, that protect the conservation value of the land; and private stewardship agreements aimed at creating contiguous natural corridors.

The map below identifies how existing public conservation areas will connect to the 11,200 acres of Hackmatack and adjoining conservation corridors.

Location: Illinois, Wisconsin
Owner & land manager: U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service
Size of project: 11,200 acres
Project Date: Authorized August 15, 2012
Partners: Friends of Hackmatack, Sierra Club, Illinois Chapter, Trust for Public Land

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