USDA Investing in Recreational Public Access on Private Lands


usda public access

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) has announced they will make up to $50 million available to help create or expand state government and tribal programs that encourage landowners and land managers to allow public access to their land for hunting, fishing and other wildlife-dependent recreation. USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) is accepting proposals from state governments and tribes for the Voluntary Public Access and Habitat Incentive Program (VPA-HIP) through November 27.

In a release, NRCS Chief Matt Lohr said, “These projects are excellent examples of how we engage in public-private partnerships, uniting both public and private entities to deliver long-term conservation benefits that the public, outdoor enthusiasts, wildlife, landowners and land managers may experience. With more than 70 percent of the lower 48 states being privately owned, this program enables landowners and land managers to benefit from offering public access to their land.”


Only state governments and tribes are eligible to apply. Projects can last up to three years. The maximum amount for a single award is $3 million.

A webinar for potential VPA applicants is scheduled for October 10 at 3 p.m. EST. Visit the VPA-HIP website to learn more about applying for the program or the upcoming webinar.