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Department of Conservation - RG 244 | Illinois State Archives

Name: Department of Conservation - RG 244

Historical Note:

The Department of Conservation was created in 1925 as the successor to the Division of Fish and Game of the Department of Agriculture. Within the department was a Board of Fish and Game Conservation Advisors composed of five persons appointed by the Governor (L. 1925, p. 585). The department administered the state's fish and game codes (L. 1923, p. 368). Further it was charged with preventing stream and water pollution and promoting forestry (L. 1925, p. 600). In 1951 it assumed the powers of the Illinois Park Commission and also was charged with erecting, supervising, and maintaining all state monuments and memorials (L. 1951, p. 600).

A temporary Illinois Park Commission had been established in 1909 to investigate establishing Starved Rock as a state park and to study the state park system in general (L. 1909, p. 58). It was succeeded in 1911 by a permanent Illinois Park Commission with three members appointed by the Governor. The commission was charged with administering the park system and planning for expansion (L. 1911, p. 57). It was abolished in 1917 and its duties passed to the Department of Public Works and Buildings (L. 1917, p. 25). Control of state parks remained with Public Works and Buildings until the Department of Conservation assumed the responsibility in 1951.

In 1961 the Department of Conservation was authorized to regulate the reclamation of lands disturbed by open cut mining (L. 1961, p. 3113). The Illinois Historic Sites Advisory Council was created and placed under the Department of Conservation in 1976. It was composed of fifteen members appointed by the Governor and duties included recommending nominations to the National Register of Historic Places, nominating places to the Illinois Register of Historic Places, recommending removal of places from the National Register and the Illinois Register, establishing guidelines for determining eligibility, and advising the department on historic preservation (P.A. 79-1383, pp. 1226-1232).

On July 1, 1995, the name of the Department of Conservation was changed to the Department of Natural Resources and the operations of Lincoln’s Tomb were transferred to the Illinois Historic Preservation Agency (P.A. 89-050, pp. 1388-1389).

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