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March 12, 2001

Governor Ryan Announces Acquisition of 2,272 Acres in Brown County

SPRINGFIELD -- Gov. George H. Ryan today announced the acquisition of 2,272 acres of land in Brown County, known as Buckhorn Ranch, for public recreation and natural resource protection.

The $2.68 million acquisition is being funded through the Open Land Trust, Governor Ryan's four-year, $160 million initiative to acquire real property for conservation, natural resource protection and recreation purposes.

"I'm pleased the state was able to act quickly to acquire this gem for public enjoyment," the Governor said. "I understand demand for public recreational lands in west-central Illinois is among the highest in the state. This acquisition will help meet those growing needs."

The site is part of the McKee Creek watershed, which contains a variety of habitat types, including nearly 1,400 acres of forestland, and is known for its abundant deer population. Large tracts of forested land are critical to wildlife such as turkey, gray fox, southern flying squirrel, summer tanager and great-crested flycatcher. The abundant forest and shrubland edge habitat on this property will provide important habitat for the bobwhite, indigo bunting, rufous-sided towhee, fox squirrel, eastern cottontail, blue grosbeak and yellow-breasted chat.

There are many natural resource-related recreational opportunities on this property, including hunting, birdwatching, backpacking and nature photography. The state is expected to take title to the property within 90 days, and hunting is expected to be available this fall.

"The acquisition of this property will bring additional tourism and economic development opportunities to west-central Illinois," the Governor said.

Buckhorn Ranch is located 6.5 miles southwest of Mt. Sterling and just one-half mile from Siloam Springs State Park, a 3,323-acre park in Adams and Brown counties which provides a wealth of camping, boating and fishing opportunities.


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