Members of the public will have more opportunities to hunt and fish in privately owned farms, ranches and forests through projects funded by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the agency has announced.
Kansas and Missouri are among 15 states that will receive $20 million worth of federal grants to encourage landowners to open their property voluntarily to wildlife-related recreation.
“These projects are excellent examples of USDA’s successful efforts to connect public and private partners for long-term conservation gains that benefit sportsmen, wildlife, private landowners and the public,” said USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack in a statement.
In Kansas, where the state’s Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism owns or manages less than 1 percent of the land, the $2.7 million grant will go toward leasing private land or making incentive payments to encourage landowners to open their properties to the public and improve wildlife habitats.
The expanded public access program should increase opportunities for fishing in the state, where many streams are privately owned, USDA officials said.
The Missouri Department of Conservation will use its grant of $1.1 million to create the Missouri Outdoor Recreation Access Program.
The program aims to expand small and large game hunting and wildlife viewing in the state, with a goal to enroll 10,000 acres of private land in the program’s first three years, according to the USDA.
Other states awarded grants are Colorado, Connecticut, Illinois, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Montana, Nebraska, Oklahoma, Oregon, Washington, Wisconsin and Wyoming.