TRCP Releases Report on Recreation Opportunity on Private Lands
Report highlights access projects in 15 states and success of the Voluntary Public Access and Habitat Incentive Program
November 10, 2020
(Washington D.C.)—The Theodore Roosevelt Conservation Partnership today released a report on the wide-ranging recreational opportunities that are available on private land thanks to the Voluntary Public Access and Habitat Incentive Program.
The report features projects in 15 states across the United States, highlighting success stories of how VPA-HIP has improved hunting, fishing, bird watching, camping, and other outdoor recreation activities. REI Co-op provided funding for the report.
“This report showcases the best of the best when it comes to expanding opportunity for all Americans to access our outdoors,” said Whit Fosburgh, president and CEO of the Theodore Roosevelt Conservation Partnership. “This report looks at the innovative ways in which the Program is being used to boost access across the country, particularly in states where a shortage of public access to wildlife-dependent recreation is reaching crisis proportions.”
“This report helps to highlight the creative ways landowners and agencies are working together to increase access to the outdoors across America,” said Taldi Harrison, Government Affairs Manager at the REI Co-op. “Increased access to outdoor recreation on private lands also helps boost the outdoor recreation economy that supports rural jobs across America.”
Championed by the Theodore Roosevelt Conservation Partnership’s founder, Jim Range, VPA- HIP helps states to create innovative ways of incentivizing private landowners to open their lands to the public for wildlife-dependent recreation.
Established and funded through the 2008, 2014, and 2018 Farm Bills, VPA-HIP makes grants to states and tribes to increase public access to private lands for hunting, fishing, and other forms of outdoor recreation. VPA-HIP funding is also utilized to provide technical resources and assistance to landowners for wildlife habitat improvement and enhancement projects. The program allows states to assume liability, alleviating a roadblock for many landowners to open their lands to the public.
“As Congress eyes the next Farm Bill, it’s imperative that they increase investment in Farm Bill conservation programs,” said Andrew Earl, Director of Private Lands Conservation at the Theodore Roosevelt Conservation Partnership. “VPA-HIP is the only federal tool specifically increasing recreational access on private lands, and this report shows its proven track record across the U.S.”
Founded in 2002, the TRCP is the largest coalition of conservation organizations in the country, uniting and amplifying the voices of sportsmen and women by convening hunting and fishing groups, conservation organizations, and outdoor businesses to a common purpose.