TAKE ACTION: Support HB 4708 For Stream Access

Illinois stream access is widely misunderstood, a result of the state not mirroring federal law. A stream that would be considered public by federal law is not public under Illinois state law, as private ownership of an Illinois stream includes both the stream bed and the water flowing through that area. 

The map depicted shows just how much flowing water in Illinois is considered private. Blue streams are considered public under Illinois law, while red streams are legally private (although many are considered navigable and public under federal law). If you floated a stream colored red, you were likely trespassing and in violation of current Illinois laws.

Of the 87,000 miles of streams and rivers in Illinois, only 2,000 miles are legally accessible under current Illinois law. 

House Bill 4708 would align Illinois stream access laws with federal stream laws. Backcountry Hunters and Anglers overwhelmingly supports HB 4708, and encourages our members and legislators to take a stand for public access. 


In 2021, Illinois started the mission to protect 30% of the states lands and waters by the year 2030. A change in Illinois stream access law would be a giant leap towards that goal. Illinois stream access is muddy, and it’s time to clear it up.

HB 4708 is a no-nonsense law that clarifies Illinois' confusing stream access, and ensures the right to publics waters for hunters, anglers, and other outdoor enthusiasts seeking to enjoy the natural resources in the Land of Lincoln. 





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