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News Release

NRCS Accepts Proposals to Enhance Wildlife Recreational Opportunities

Applications for the Voluntary Public Access and Habitat Incentive Program Due June 16, 2014

Auburn, Ala., May 6, 2014

Proposals are now being accepted for the Voluntary Public Access and Habitat Incentive Program, a competitive $20 million grant program that gives state and tribal governments opportunities for owners and managers of private lands to make them available for public recreation.

USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service will make the fundsavailable to state and tribal governments. Recipients can use the grant funding to create new or expand existing public access programs.  These programs provide financial incentives or technical assistance, such as rental payments or wildlife habitat planning services, to owners and managers who allow public access.

Applications are due by June 16, 2014, and should be completed at

“Private lands provide diverse and healthy habitats, which are home to most of our nation’s wildlife,” Alabama NRCS State Conservationist Dr. William Puckett said. “Through the Voluntary Public Access and Habitat Incentive Program, states and tribal governments have an important tool to expand access to private lands for hunting, fishing, hiking and other recreation related to wildlife. It’s not just aboutenhancing wildlife habitat and management, but also about boosting local economies with wildlife-dependent recreation opportunities.”

Funding priority will be given to applications that propose to:

  • Maximize private lands acreage available to the public;
  • Ensure that land enrolled in the program has appropriate wildlife habitat;
  • Strengthen wildlife habitat improvement efforts;
  • Supplement funding and services from other federal or state agencies, tribes or private resources; and
  • Provide information to the public about the location of public access land.

For more information, view the notice on Grants.govor the program’s website.