Beginning Sept. 1, hunters can access 23,500 acres of private land across 46 counties in western and south-central Minnesota through the Walk-In Access program.
“Hunters tell us that finding land to hunt is their biggest challenge,” said Scott Roemhildt, Walk-In Access coordinator for the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources. “This program allows them to hunt high-quality private land without knocking on doors looking for permission.”
Walk-In Access provides public hunting access on private land and pays landowners to allow that access from Sept. 1 to May 31. A $3 validation on a hunting license allows hunters to use any Walk-In Access land with no landowner contact necessary. More than 200 sites across 46 counties are available through the program. Bright yellow-green signs have been placed on Walk-In Access boundaries.
Current maps of all Walk-In Access sites are available electronically at www.mndnr.gov/walkin. Printed atlases can be found across the 46-county area at DNR license agents, DNR wildlife offices, and county Soil and Water Conservation District offices. Atlases are also available by calling the DNR Information Center at 1-888-646-6367.
Parcels enrolled in the Walk-In Access program must be at least 40 acres in size with high-quality natural cover. Most land is also enrolled in private land conservation programs.
“We are glad to talk with landowners who are considering the program,” Roemhildt said. “We hope to grow the program to 30,000 acres by 2018.”
The Walk-In Access program began in 2011 and is currently funded through 2018 with a three-year grant from the Natural Resources Conservation Service of the U.S. Department of Agriculture, under number 69-3A75-16-509. Other funding sources come through a surcharge on nonresident hunting licenses, a one-time appropriation from the Minnesota Legislature in 2012, and donations from hunters.