WDFW awarded grant to enhance access to private lands

WDFW – In March, the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) was awarded a $2.7 million Voluntary Public Access and Habitat Incentive Program (VPA-HIP) grant.

The award will enhance access to private lands for recreational public use and will fund several Department infrastructure enhancements, such as the Hunt by Reservation system and outreach opportunities. The funds will add hunting opportunities for big game, turkey, dove, waterfowl, and upland game as well as improved access to forestland, fishing, and wildlife viewing in Washington.

“We are honored to receive this grant funding to expand our current opportunities and private lands access statewide,” said Ciera Strickland, Private Lands Access Program Manager. “We are very excited to expand fishing and wildlife viewing opportunities across the state. This has been a challenge in the past, but with this grant we are finally able to include other recreational opportunity.”

Private landowners interested in allowing hunting on their property, may enroll their property in Feel Free to Hunt, Register to Hunt, Hunt by Reservation or Hunt by Written Permission programs. Landowners may be eligible for funding depending on their location and opportunities that would be available to the public on their property.

The grant also provides funding available for landowners who are interested in providing fishing or wildlife viewing opportunities on their lands. Interested landowners should reach out to their local private lands biologist if they have questions.

“In addition to adding opportunity and access, we will improve our existing programs by adding waterfowl blinds, viewing platforms, better signage, and informational kiosks,” said Strickland. “We’re excited to enhance access to private lands for outdoor lovers with this funding.”

WDFW will implement the improvements over the next three years. Projects and contracts are planned to begin this summer. 

The Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife is the state agency tasked with preserving, protecting, and perpetuating fish, wildlife, and ecosystems, while providing sustainable fishing, hunting, and other recreation opportunities.