Promoting the development and use of public green areas and trails with the help of local volunteers is the goal of a new law sponsored by Senator Chuck Weaver.
Senate Bill 2713 creates the Greenways and Trails Advisory Council to develop and advocate for natural trail plans and help the Illinois Department of Natural Resources (DNR) in planning and prioritization of the trails.
“Public green areas and trails are valuable resources that make our communities better places to live and do business,” said Senator Weaver. “With municipal and state resources stretched so thin, we are hoping to engage the enthusiasm of local volunteers who can do what is needed more effectively and efficiently, and are invested in the success of the recreational, health and wellness, educational, and sporting opportunities these natural areas have to offer their families and their friends.”
The Council will serve in an advisory role to the federal Recreational Trails Program. Council members will help develop Illinois’ recreational trail priorities and help DNR ensure program eligibility and criteria are met as prescribed by the federal program guidelines.
The Council will also act as a forum to discuss public awareness, encourage cooperation, coordinate agency and organizations actions to create and maintain a statewide network of trails, develop public private partnerships, support volunteerism and advise DNR on trail planning, policies, and programs.
The Council is to meet at least two times per year. Council member terms will be four years, beginning on January 1 and ending on December 31.
Senate Bill 2713 was signed into law by the Governor on August 10.