Sign-ups are March 15-May 14, at local soil and water conservation district offices
Enrollment opened Monday, March 15, for Minnesota’s Walk-In Access program, which pays private landowners to allow public hunting on their land. This year, landowners can receive $18 per acre enrolled. And the program is expanding to include more counties.
“We’re excited to see the program grow,” said Troy Dale, interim program supervisor. “Enrollment in the Walk-In Access program will be available for landowners in more than 50 -Minnesota counties.”
Since 2011, Walk-In Access has enrolled land parcels 40 acres or larger with high-quality natural cover. The program prefers that land also be enrolled in conservation efforts, such as the Conservation Reserve Program or Reinvest in Minnesota, but that is not required.
Hunters must purchase a $3 permit with a hunting license to access enrolled land. Walk-In Access parcels are marked with highly visible signs posted by DNR staff.
“The Walk-In Access program is a win-win for hunters and landowners,” Dale said. “For just a few dollars, hunters have access to nearly 30,000 acres of privately-owned land that is enrolled in the program.”
Participating hunters can access Walk-In Access land Sept. 1 through May 31. Hunting laws are enforced by DNR conservation officers. Landowners are not required to purchase additional liability insurance. Lands enrolled in the Walk-In Access program are covered by Minnesota’s recreational use laws, which limits legal liabilities for landowners who permit outdoor recreational activities, as listed in Minnesota State Statute 604A.20.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture has provided funding for the Walk-in Access funding through September 2023. Other funding comes from a surcharge on all nonresident hunting licenses and donations from hunters.
Landowners can sign up for the program at their local soil and water conservation district office by contacting Josh Pommier at (320) 535-3074. More information is available at http://mndnr.gov/walkin.