Saint Paul, March 11, 2020 – The U.S. Department of Agriculture 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. Minnesota Department of Natural Resources will receive more than $2,507,000 this year through the Natural Resources Conservation Service’s Voluntary Public Access and Habitat Incentive Program (VPA-HIP).
A majority of the funded projects across the nation 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.
The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources will maintain and expand its Walk-In Access program to provide Minnesotans with new and continued opportunities for hunting, nature photography, and birdwatching. To encourage landowners to retain conservation lands, primarily grasslands, DNR will offer incentives to allow public access for wildlife dependent recreation. Landowners interested in applying for public access or wildlife habitat incentives should contact the Minnesota DNR.
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.
For awarded project summaries and more information, visit the VPA-HIP website.
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