The Kankakee National Wildlife Refuge and Conservation Area was officially established Wednesday in Iroquois County.
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Midwest Regional Director Tom Melius made the announcement.
"The Kankakee River Basin represents a unique Midwestern landscape," he said in a statement. "I'm very pleased to continue working with the local community and partners to conserve these priority wetlands, remnant oak savanna, and grasslands, as well as enhance outdoor recreational opportunities."
The conservation area was officially created after Friends of the Kankakee, a group focused on creating a national wildlife refuge in the Kankakee River Basin, donated 66 acres of land for the effort.
"This parcel will be open in the near future for public hunting of deer and turkey following state regulations, as well as wildlife observation and photography," reads a news release from the Midwest region of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. "Establishing the refuge and conservation area formally recognizes decades of work with conservation partners. Through the conservation area approach, we will acquire land or easements from willing sellers as funds allow, as part of the broader, community and partner-based conservation effort."