At a press conference August 23, 2013, Governor Pat Quinn signed SB1042 into law as Public Act 98-0522. This new law will give private landowners that open their land to the public for recreation, conservation, and education liability protections. The Governor was joined by representatives from Openlands, The Nature Conservancy, Illinois Environmental Council, Environmental Law and Policy Center, and many other land and conservation organizations. We are very grateful to the Governor, the staff in the Governor's office, and the Illinois Department of Natural Resources for their support and hard work to enact this important law.
Lenore- Beyer Clow, policy director at Openlands and IEC board president summarized the importance of this bill, "Openlands worked with its partners for 7 years to reinstate protections for generous private landowners who open their land to the public for recreation. We are excited that this law will offer new opportunities for people to connect to nature and enjoy Illinois beautiful open spaces."
Liability protections are a critical incentive for private landowners to allow the public on to their property. Private landowners can include non-profit organizations, land trusts, residential landowners, and even businesses. Without these protections, a landowner could potentially be threatened with a lawsuit. For many non-profits and individuals, the cost of a lawsuit could be financially devastating. We want to encourage people to pursue outdoor activities of all sorts safely.