Illinois Nature Preserves Commission
Special Use Permit Application

Permits are required for research, collection and groups of 25 or more at all Illinois Nature Preserves and Land and Water Reserves. Please thoroughly read the information below prior to submission of your application. When completing the application, be sure to fill in all fields on the form with enough detail to ensure that requested actions can be considered for permitting. Supporting documentation may be included for reference, but "see attached" is NOT acceptable and information in attachments will NOT be authorized if a permit is issued.

The holder of a special use permit is subject to the Rules for Management of Illinois Nature Preserves and to the Rules for Public Use of Illinois Nature Preserves.

Collecting activities that are allowed in a preserve include:

  1. Collecting that is provided for in the master plan.
  2. Collecting, under permit, of voucher specimens of species not already recorded as occurring on a nature preserve provided specimens are deposited in a permanent institutional collection in Illinois and are available to researchers.
  3. Collecting, under permit, for a research project which will significantly contribute to knowledge of the nature preserve, provided the specimens taken are limited in numbers and are of species represented by large populations with high reproductive potential.

Permits for collecting and research may be denied if the vegetation of the nature preserve is well known, no methodology is presented, no need statement for the study is presented, or the planned activity will cause unacceptable impacts to preserve resources. Likewise, a permit may be denied due to related ongoing ecological investigations.

A person who wishes to collect for scientific purposes any fauna protected by wildlife code or fish code is also required to secure from the Department of Natural Resources a scientific collecting permit. An endangered species permit, obtained from the Department of Natural Resources, is required for collecting any endangered or threatened species.

All applications must specify the name of the preserve and county where it is located. The Nature Preserve Commission will not issue statewide or county wide permits.

Permit holders must obtain the owner’s permission and signature on the permit prior to beginning research. Landowners retain the right to deny a researcher access to a preserve for research. Landowning agencies such as Forest Preserve, Conservation and Park Districts may also require a permit through their agency. Please check directly with such landowners to determine if they will require a permit. Contact the Illinois Nature Preserve Commission at the number below if landowner contact information is needed.

Permits will be valid for a maximum period of one year and will expire on 31 December. Within 30 days of expiration, permit holders shall submit an annual report in electronic format to the landowner and the Commission. Reports should provide any pertinent observational information and data, at a minimum, reports should include the following information:

1. Names of preserves visited and dates of visits.
2. Number of specimens and species collected by date and preserve.
3. Disposition of specimens
4. Types, dates and locations of disturbances made on preserves.

Permits may be renewed upon submission of a report and the original permit to DNR.InpcPermits@illinois.gov

Failure to submit an annual report will result in denial of renewal of the permit for future years and denial of additional special-use permits.

Permit holders shall provide the landowner and the Commission copies of all reports and reprints of publications derived from the research allowed under this permit.