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News Release

USDA Awards Funds to Encourage Public Access to Private Lands


WASHINGTON, March 11, 2020 – The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) today announced it is awarding almost $49 million to help state and tribal governments encourage private landowners to allow public access to their land for hunting, fishing and other wildlife-dependent recreation. This year, 27 recipients in 27 states will receive awards through the Natural Resources Conservation Service’s Voluntary Public Access and Habitat Incentive Program (VPA-HIP).

“Not only does this program enhance and protect wildlife habitat, but it also provides new opportunities for the public to enjoy the outdoors and potentially generates new revenue streams for private landowners,” said NRCS Chief Matthew Lohr.

VPA-HIP is open to state and tribal governments to establish or expand public access programs. Projects last up to three years, and the maximum amount for a single award is $3 million.

A majority of the funded projects expand public access programs, increasing the number of private land acres available to the public for recreation. Awardees may use up to 25 percent of their award funding to create, restore or enhance wildlife habitat on private lands opened for public access.

Recipients include:

  • Arizona Department of Game and Fish
  • Arkansas Game and Fish Commission
  • Colorado Department of Natural Resources
  • Georgia Department of Natural Resources
  • Idaho Department of Fish and Game
  • Illinois Department of Natural Resources
  • Indiana Department of Natural Resources
  • Iowa Department of Natural Resources
  • Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism
  • Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources
  • Michigan Department of Natural Resources
  • Minnesota Department of Natural Resources
  • Missouri Department of Conservation
  • Montana Department of Fish, Wildlife and Parks
  • Nebraska Game and Parks Commission
  • Ohio Department of Natural Resources
  • Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation
  • Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife
  • Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission
  • Pueblo of Santa Clara
  • South Carolina Department of Natural Resources
  • South Dakota Department of Game, Fish and Parks
  • Texas Parks and Wildlife Department
  • Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries
  • Washington State Department of Fish and Wildlife
  • Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources
  • Wyoming Game and Fish Commission

Read more about the VPA-HIP program and this year’s recipients.


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