Voluntary Public Access (VPA) and Habitat Incentive Programs

Georgia’s Wildlife Resources Division received a grant that gives us a great opportunity to partner with private landowners.  We can now offer substantial lease dollars in exchange for well-managed outdoor recreation access for the public. Whether you own 10 acres or 5,000 acres, we are interested in talking with you about leasing land for public access to hunting, fishing, or wildlife viewing. So far, we have created a wide variety of hunting opportunities for dove, waterfowl, deer, small game and turkey.

Eligible land owners include personal citizen-owned properties, agricultural producers, timber companies and timber investment management organizations.

From now through spring 2017, we welcome you to complete this VPA/HIP Landowner Interest Form and return it as instructed on the form.

Benefits for Private Landowners
•    Substantial financial incentives based on acres, recreation types, and habitats available
•    Can choose to enroll in multi-year contracts up to 10 years
•    Landowner liability protection by Georgia law for hunting and other recreation use
•    Free wildlife habitat technical assistance
•    Flexibility in setting dates for access and types of use

Benefits for Outdoor Enthusiasts
•    Hunter access for deer, dove, turkey, waterfowl, squirrels, rabbit, quail and other game
•    Meeting increased hunter demand for public dove fields and waterfowl areas
•    Fishing by river access in areas lacking boat ramps or in areas with well-managed lakes
•    Opportunities for hiking, bird and other wildlife-watching in distinctive areas

About 93% of Georgia’s land base is in private ownership. Largely because of this we are pleased to be partners in USDA’s Natural Resource Conservation Service Voluntary Public Access program. It allows us to fund land leases from interested private landowners for temporary public access. It also lets us engage special groups through this program, or Georgia’s Outdoor Heritage Recreational Access Program (OHRAP) for temporary land use donations for youth, minorities, military veterans, disabled or special need hunters and anglers. In the last two years we have partnered in 19 contracts for several thousand acres of public access. One contract was a donation for a ladies-only hunt and the other 18 contracts awarded, most of which were for dove fields, averaged over $7,600 each per year.

The Voluntary Public Access program allows us to fund land leases from interested private landowners for temporary public access.