CARRIER MILLS, Ill. — A federal grant will allow officials to develop a 26-mile (42-kilometer) off-road vehicle trail system in southern Illinois.

Gov. Bruce Rauner announced the development Wednesday at the Sahara Woods State Fish and Wildlife Area .

The Illinois Department of Natural Resources received a $1.2 million grant from the federal Recreational Trails Program under the Federal Highway Administration.

Rauner says demand is growing for off-highway vehicle recreation and the development will become a destination for riders from across the Midwest.

Natural Resources Director Wayne Rosenthal says there was a coal mine at Sahara Woods. He says the reclaimed strip-mined land will allow the agency to “develop some challenging trails that should attract a lot of interest.”

Sahara Woods is about 340 miles (547 kilometers) south of Chicago.