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Landowners Have Until March 15 To Apply For Programs

Landowners have until March 15 to apply for Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks’ Unlocking Public Lands Program or the Public Access Land Agreement Program.

These programs are designed to provide recreational public access to Montana Department of Natural Resources and Conservation land or federal Bureau of Land Management or United States Forest Service land where no or limited legal public access currently exists.

For enrollment in UPL, landowners will receive an income tax credit in the amount of $750 per agreement and up to a maximum of $3,000 in tax credits in exchange for allowing access across the private lands, roads or trails to reach inaccessible public land. Landowners must hold the public land lease and decide how the public may cross their private property for all recreations.

For enrollment in PALA, landowners will be paid, including money for possible infrastructure reimbursements (e.g., gravel, culverts, cattle guards) to facilitate public access to inaccessible public lands. Landowners must hold the public land lease. Payment amounts vary based on a variety of factors, with one landowner possibly holding multiple agreements. The governor-appointed Private Land/Public Wildlife Advisory Committee will review complete applications and make a recommendation to the FWP director.

“We continue to look for ways to help landowners manage hunting access and to provide more access for the public,” said Jason Kool, FWP hunting access program manager. “Offering a tax credit or payment in exchange for public access to inaccessible public land is a unique and innovative way to respect private property rights and increase public access.”

While Montana contains millions of acres of public land, much of this land is inaccessible to the public and requires landowner permission for access.

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