CHICAGO -- A new law increases protections for Illinois landowners who open their property to the public for conservation and recreation.
SB 1042 limits the liability of those who let the public freely use private land for bird watching, biking, hiking, fishing and similar activities. The legislation extends protections beyond hunting and recreational shooting, which remain covered under the liability protections.
The legislation was supported by environmental groups including Openlands and the Nature Conservancy. The governor's office says recreational opportunities have diminished on private lands because of rising insurance costs and landowners' liability concerns.
The bill was sponsored by Sen. Don Harmon, an Oak Park Democrat, and Rep. Ann Williams, a Chicago Democrat. It takes effect Jan. 1.