Walk-in access program will allow new hunting sites in Todd County
A three-year federal grant awarded by the U.S. Department of Agriculture has funded Minnesota DNR’s Walk-In Access (WIA) program in existing counties and will allow expansion into new counties including Todd County.
The WIA program goal is to provide new hunting opportunities on private land that is already enrolled in existing conservation programs such as CRP, RIM Easements, etc. The WIA program is entirely voluntary for landowners and was started in 2011 in 31 southwestern Minnesota counties. Enrollments have reached 22,800 acres on 200 sites as of July 31, 2015.
The WIA program targets parcels of 40 acres or more that are enrolled in a conservation program, or other land that has natural cover. Small inclusions of crop or hay land may be present and some funds are available for habitat improvement projects. There must be access to a public road.
Todd Soil and Water Conservation District (SWCD) is contracted to enroll landowners into the WIA. The program compensates landowners by the acre to provide public hunting access. WIA agreements are entirely voluntary and include an opt-out clause.
Properties enrolled in the WIA program are open to public hunting only, and can be hunted from September 1 to May 31, with no landowner contacts necessary. A WIA validation is required to hunt WIA parcels. Enrolled acres are walk-in traffic only. No vehicles are allowed on enrolled land by hunters. DNR conservation officers enforce trespass issues and hunting violations on WIA land.
Maps of currently enrolled WIA sites and more information on the program can be found at www.mndnr.gov/walkin.
Todd County landowners interested in learning more about enrolling in the WIA program can contact Matt Danzl, Todd SWCD, 320-732-2644 or Sabin Adams, Pheasants Forever, 320-732-6618 #3.