Montana landowners have until March 15, 2019, to submit applications to Montana Fish, Wildlife, & Parks for enrollment in the Unlocking Public Lands Program.
This program is designed to provide recreational public access to state or federal (Bureau of Land Management or United States Forest Service) land where no legal public access currently exists. In exchange for access across the private lands, landowners will receive a tax credit in the amount of $750 per agreement and up to a maximum of $3,000 tax credit per year. Landowners decide how the public may cross their private property and may limit access to foot traffic only.
“Offering a tax credit in exchange for allowing public access across private land to reach public land is a unique and innovative way to increase public access,” said Ken McDonald, FWP wildlife division administrator. “We hope these new opportunities and incentives may appeal to landowners throughout the state.”
The Unlocking Public Lands program is a product of the 2015 Legislature, which expanded a program called Unlocking State Land passed by the previous legislature. While Montana contains nearly 31 million acres of BLM, USFS, and state land, much of this land requires landowner permission to cross private land to reach the adjoining state or federal land.
(Photo source: Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks)