Legislation has been introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives reauthorizing and expanding a program that incentivizes private land owners to open up their property to public hunting and fishing access.
Part of the bipartisan Voluntary Public Access and Habitat Incentive Program, the legislation gives farmers and ranchers more business options related to their property and creates tourism opportunities related to access points.
Similar legislation was introduced in the Senate in December.
According to the Theodore Roosevelt Conservation Partnership, many Midwestern states use Farm Bill funds to allow walk-in access by compensating land owners for opening their property, post signs on property, publish access-point locations in print and online, improve habitat, repair roads and fences, patrol access points for poachers and sometimes cover the costs of liability insurance for landowners.
The ability to provide these funds is critical in eastern states, where almost all land is privately owned.
Rep. Roger Marshall (R-Kansas), bill co-sponsor and avid outdoorsmen, said the Voluntary Public Access program has helped expand hunting and fishing in his home state.
Mar 14, 2018 -
“Our state’s Walk-In Access Program already helps landowners voluntarily open up thousands of acres for the public to enjoy, and enhancing the federal support for access and conservation of private lands will undoubtedly help carry those benefits to more Americans,” he said.