Farm Progress

MDC to pay landowners for public use of land

New program provides incentives for public access of private lands; the deadline is July 15.

June 29, 2017

2 Min Read
SHARING THE LAND: A new program allows farmers to be paid to allow the public to use their land for hunting, fishing and wildlife viewing. It offers from $15 to $25 per acre per year.MDC staff

The Missouri Department of Conservation is offering a new program to increase public access to private lands for hunting, fishing, and wildlife viewing.

The Missouri Outdoor Recreational Access Program (MRAP) provides incentive payments to private landowners who volunteer to open their properties to the public for these types of outdoor activities. Additional incentives are also available to enhance wildlife habitat on enrolled lands. The program will focus mostly on enrolling lands in northern Missouri, where public access opportunities are generally more limited.

Landowners can apply for MRAP from now until July 15. Approved landowners will be notified in August, with enrolled lands becoming open for public use this fall.

Types of land
Offered lands must meet eligibility requirements. The parcel must be at least 40 contiguous acres or at least a 1-acre pond for fishing access. Land must also contain minimum amounts of high-quality wildlife habitat, such as native grass fields, crop-field buffers, restored wetlands or managed woodlands.

Grant funding through the USDA Voluntary Public Access and Habitat Incentive Program will allow MDC to enroll up to 10,000 acres statewide, with emphasis on northern Missouri. The department is interested in tracts near major urban centers and those with abundant wildlife habitat.

Types of access
Applying landowners may select one of six public access options:

• All-access hunting and fishing
• Small game and turkey hunting
• Youth-only hunting and fishing
• Archery hunting
• Fishing only
• Wildlife viewing

MRAP lands are open to foot traffic only, and area users self-register at designated property entry points. Parking typically occurs along roadsides. Public access is only for the types of use agreed upon by the landowner and posted at entry points. Participating landowners are offered liability protection under Missouri's Recreational Use Immunity Law.

Expected payment
Annual payment rates will be determined by the access type selected by the landowner, the amount of high-quality habitat available, the committed participation length and other factors. Most landowners will likely earn $15 to $25 per acre each year they participate. Payment rates for fishing-only access will be on an adjusted scale and will be based largely on impoundment size or stream length.

For more information and an MRAP application, visit the MDC MRAP page or contact local MDC staff. Find local MDC staff  under "Contact and engage; click on "local contact."

Source: Missouri Department of Conservation


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