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 announced on Monday
Kansas and Missouri are among 15 states that will receive $20 million worth of federal grants to encourage land owners 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 land owners, and the public,” said USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack, in a statement.
$646 billion Amount spent on the outdoor recreation economy in the U.S. every year
In Kansas, where the state’s Department of Wildlife, Parks, and Tourism owns or manages less than one 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 a new Missouri Outdoor Recreation Access Program.
The program would aim 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 USDA.
Other states awarded grants include Colorado, Connecticut, Illinois, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Montana, Nebraska, Oklahoma, Oregon, Washington, Wisconsin and Wyoming.