A new report from onX shows more than 30 million acres of private land are publicly accessible thanks to unique access programs sponsored by different states. Among them are Idaho’s Access Yes!, Montana’s Block Management, WRICE in Arkansas, Access Yes in Wyoming and Walk-In Hunting Access in Kansas.
“Increasing public access for outdoor recreation benefits wildlife populations, mitigates agricultural damage and helps build relationships between landowners, hunters, and Game and Fish,” Kelly Todd, Wyoming Game and Fish Department Access Yes coordinator, told onX. “We extend our gratitude to the landowners for their partnerships and the sportspersons for their donations to make these access opportunities possible for all to enjoy.”
The keys to any successful access program are both cooperation and good behavior by hunters and buy-in from participating private landowners.
“I can tell them what areas have cattle, and to stay out of that area. ‘Here’s some good country to hunt, here’s a good place.’ You’re in control of their sites they hunt on,” Tom Billington, an Idaho landowner, told onX.. “Youth also have to ask permission, and in doing that, they can be responsible for any damage or excuses. They’re held accountable. I just ask that they leave the access permission booklet in the mailbox when they leave so they don’t wake me up from my Sunday nap.”
The Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation is a long-time advocate for and supporter of public access. Dating back to 1997, RMEF contributed nearly $445,000 specifically to help enroll more than one million acres of private land in public access programs in Idaho, South Dakota and Wyoming. In addition, RMEF opened or improved access to more than 1.5 million acres of elk habitat through scores of RMEF land conservation and access projects.
Click here to view the report in its entirety.
(Photo source: Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation)